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May. 8, 2017
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World Theatre Festival Shizuoka under Mt. Fuji 2017 (Apr. 28 – May 7, 2017)
 
The World Theatre Festival Shizuoka under Mt. Fuji organized by the Shizuoka Performing Arts Center (SPAC) is being held for the 7th time in 2017 with a lineup of new works by directors from Japan and abroad that includes seven Japan premieres.
For the festival opening German director Nicolas Stemann returns to SPAC for the second time, bringing with him this time the Japan premiere of Werther! Based on the novel “The Sorrows of Young Werther” by Johann Wolfgang von Goethe, adds media of music and video and with the popular Austrian actor Philipp Hochmair in the one-man play’s only role.
Also on the program are three other productions from abroad in their Japan premieres. The Syrian director Omar Abusaada presents the much talked about Damascus While I Was Waiting, a play that reflects the difficult political situation in Syria today. “The Ventriloquists Convention” is directed by French artist and choreographer Gisèle Vienne and performed by the German puppet-theatre company Puppentheater Halle; and Italian director Pippo Delbono presents “Tales of June,” which he has written and directs himself.
The work presented this time by SPAC’s artistic director Satoshi Miyagi is an open-air production in Sumpujo Park of the Greek tragedy Antigone with an added subtitle of A Ceremonial Bonfire Sent Over the Ages. Also, appearing in this festival for the first time is Tanino Kuro with the new work MOON that he created in residence at Performing Arts Park and performs in the Open Air Theatre “UDO.” The production design for the audience-participation type work is by Germany’s Caspar Picbner.
As a related program prepared in collaboration with the Concert Hall Shizuoka, the music theater work 1940 -Richard Strauss Villa- will be performed based on historical events.
Also, as part of the City of Shizuoka’s “The Town is a Theater” project, the Shizuoka city center will be the site of a Shizuoka Street Theatre Festival “Strange Seed” (free of charge) will be held. Sixteen groups will perform, including Kaiji Moriyama + Kozue Hibino + Kohske Kawase, KAKI KUU KYAKU, Syounen Oujakan and others. There will also be symposiums and a bar where visitors can meet the actors and staff and a tea picking event.

Festival Outline
This is an international theater festival organized by the Shizuoka Performing Arts Center (SPAC), which was founded in 1997 by Shizuoka local government as Japan’s first publicly-funded performing arts organization with its own resident actors, technical and production staff, based at its own facilities, including a theater and rehearsal studios. In 2011, its name was changed from the Spring Arts Festival Shizuoka to the Fuji no Kuni – World Theater Festival (English name: World Theater Festival Shizuoka under Mt. Fuji) and is now held each June at four venues in Shizuoka city including the Shizuoka Performing Arts Theater and the Shizuoka Performing Arts Park. Based on the concept that Fuji no Kuni (the land of Mt. Fuji = Shizuoka) can be connected to the world through theater, the festival presents performing arts productions by Japanese and foreign directors. The festival’s director is the SPAC artistic director, Satoshi Miyagi.
+World Theatre Festival Shizuoka
http://festival-shizuoka.jp/en/

The New National Theatre, Tokyo Announces 2017/2018 Season Schedule
 
In 2018, the New National Theatre, Tokyo celebrates the 20th anniversary of its opening and it will mark the last season for artistic directors Tajiro Iimori of the opera department and Keiko Miyata of the drama department and it is the third year for Noriko Ohara of the ballet department.
Announced for the drama program were eight works assembled under the theme of “Depictions of the World.” The opening work of the 2017-2018 season with be Jean Giraudoux’s The Trojan War Will Not Take Place based in a new translation by Shoichiro Iwakiri and directed by Tamiya Kuriyama. Appearing on the schedule as Japan premieres will be Marjorie Prime by American writer Jordan Harrison depicting America around the year 2060 (directed by Keiko Miyata); a adaptation for the stage of George Orwell’s science fiction novel 1984 written by British playwrights Robert Ike and Duncan MacMillan (directed by Eriko Ogawa); and Macbeth on the Equator directed by Chong Wishing. Also on the schedule are a production of Shakespeare’s Henry V (directed by Hitoshi Uyama) and a restaging of Keishi Nagatsuka’s Kagami no Kanata wa Tanaka no Nakani, and Keiko Miyata will also direct a new work by Ryuta Horai.
On the dance program will be six ballets and four dance works. The season opener will be new production of Tchaikovsky’s The Nutcracker with Wayne Eagling as choreographer. December will bring a production of Cinderella, and in January, celebrating the Theatre’s 20th anniversary will be a production of New Year Ballet, to be followed by Tales of Hoffmann. Dance works will include a “Butoh Today” program featuring works by Sankai Juku and Dairakudakan, and other dance works will be Shiro Takatani’s newest work ST/ll and a restaging of Kaiji Moriyama’s Circus.
As for the opera program, ten works will be presented in the 2017/2018 season. It opens with Götterdämmerung, which concludes Richard Wagner's opera tetralogy, “Der Ring des Nibelungen” that the New National Theatre has performed the first three of over the past three seasons. This is followed by Japan premiere performances of Matsukaze with music by Toshio Hosokawa and directed by choreographer Sasha Waltz; new production of Beethoven’s only opera Fidelio. For this 20th anniversary performance of Fidelio, the orchestra will be conducted by Tajiro Iimori and directed by Katarina WAGNER, great-granddaughter of Richard WAGNER, who has attracted much attention as current Director of the Bayreuth Festival.
+New National Theatre, Tokyo
http://www.nntt.jac.go.jp/english/

The 61st (2017) Kishida Drama Award winner is Makoto Ueda’s Kiteketsukarubeki Shin Sekai
 
The final judging of the 61st Kishida Drama Awards organized by Hakusuisha Publishing Co. took place on February 27th and the winning drama chosen was Ueda’s Kiteketsukarubeki Shin-Sekai. This play is a science fiction comedy set in Osaka’s Shinsekai district that toured ten cities around Japan in a production by Ueda’s popular Kyoto-based theater company Europe-Kikaku. In the juror comment about the play, Akio Miyazawa said: “In addition to being perplexed by the magnificence of its literary style, I have to admit that it also made me laugh out loud several times. I was greatly impressed by the highly skilled writing and the sharpness of the sensitivity it reveals.”
Makoto Ueda was born in 1979 and is a native of Kyoto. While still a student at Doshisha University, he started the theater unit Europe-Kikaku in 1998 and has since served as its playwright and director. As a playwright, Ueda has remained dedicated to the pursuit of comedy, and among his representative works are Summertime Machine Blues, which was also made into a movie, and Magare! Spoon (Bend, Spoon!; based on Ueda’s original Fuyu no Yurigera). This was the first time a work by Ueda was nominated for the Kishida Drama Award and his first win.
+Winner Profile
Makoto Ueda
Born in Kyoto in 1979. Ueda is the representative of the theater company Europe-Kikaku and the playwright and director for all of its regular productions. He is also active as a writer for plays outside his own company, as well as for movies and dramas. He also plans and creates programs for television and radio. Since 2003, Ueda has had his plays Fuyu no Yurigera, Kakomu Formation, Heibon na Way and Windows 5000 selected as a finalists for the OMS Drama Award. In 2010, the television anime Yojo-han Shinwa Taikei (The Tatami Galaxy) that he contributed composition and script for won the Grand Prize in the anime category of the Agency for Cultural Affairs Media Arts Festival. Ueda was also the winner of the Ohkiri (comical show) event “Dynamite Kansai 2010 3rd”. He also appears in numerous events like Kikaku Night. In 2012, Ueda contributed the script and some of the directing for the drama Dragon Seinen-dan. (From the Europe-Kikaku website) http://www.europe-kikaku.com/
+Finalists (In Japanese alphabetical order)
Satoko Ichihara’s Keimiko Fumowa (stage script)
Makoto Ueda’s Kiteketsukarubeki Shin-Sekai (stage script)
Ikue Nagata’s SOETSU Kan-kuni no Shiroi Taiyo (stage script)
Mariko Ono’s THE GAME OF POLYAMORY LIFE (stage script)
Misaki Setoyama’s Rachi mo Naku, Yogore Naku (stage script)
Shinichiro Hayashi’s PORTAL (stage script)
Naotaka Hiratsuka’s Koko wa Canada ja nai (stage script)
Taichi Yamagata’s Dog-man No Life (stage script)
+Jury
Oriza Hirata, Ryo Iwamatsu, Akio Miyazawa, Hideki Noda, Toshiki Okada, and Keralino Sandorovich
+Kishida Kunio Drama Award (Website in Japanese)
http://www.hakusuisha.co.jp/kishida/
Presenter Topics
46th Le Festival d’Automne à Paris (Paris Autumn Festival) held (Sept. 13 – Dec. 31, 2017)
 
This comprehensive arts festival is held in Paris, a city renowned as a center of the arts. Held for the 46th time this year, the festival will feature such regulars in the international festival circuit as Romeo Castellucci, Simon McBurney, Boris Charmatz, Tim Etchells, Meg Stuart and Gisèle Vienne, as well as artists invited to make their festival debut this year, including Jonathan Capdeville, Milo Rau and Mohamed El Khatib.
One of the artists to be featured in this year's festival is choreographer Gérôme Bel. Since first participating in the festival in 2004, Bel has continued to be a leader in the performing arts world with revolutionary works. In addition to performances of Gala, Disabled Theater, Cédric Andrieux, Pichet Klunchun and myself, Gérôme Bel and The show must go on, a video showing of Véronique Doisneau. Other featured works of dance will include a work by Gisèle Vienne, added to the Lyon Opera Ballet's repertoire in 2005.
From Japan, Matsuo Suzuki of Otona Keikaku will be participating for the first time with his work, Go-on, as well as Ryoji Ikeda, who will be presenting an installation created with William Forsythe, with whom he has collaborated since the production of Antipodes I/II in 2006, entitled, Nowhere and Everywhere at the Same Time N˚2. The piece features hundreds of pendulums hung from a ceiling, intended to prompt a rediscovery of spatial perceptions in the audience as they enter the area.

Festival Outline
This comprehensive arts festival is held each autumn in Paris. About a decade after the launch of former long-standing festivals including Festival Sigma of Bordeaux (1965) and the Nancy International Festival, this festival was established in 1972 by Michel Guy, who later became France’s Minister of Culture with the passionate support of President Pompidou. When Guy passed away in 1990, Alain Crombecque assumed leadership of the festival. From 2011, Paris Metropolitan Theatre director Emmanuel Demarcy-Mota became the festival’s director. The managing organization is a non-profit organization that receives funding from the French Ministry of Culture and Communications, the City of Paris, the Ile-de-France administrative region and donations from corporations, individuals and its Friends Organization. The five main focuses of the festival are commissioning artists for new works, tie-ups with foreign organizations, presentation of experimental works, seeking out talented new artists in France, and introducing important works from outside the European cultural sphere. Among the Japanese artists who have participated in the festival are Ryoji Ikeda, Oriza Hirata, Toshiki Okada, and Daisuke Miura.
+Festival d’Automne
http://www.festival-automne.com

70th Edinburgh International Festival held (Aug. 7 – 28, 2017)
 
The first chairman of the Edinburgh International Festival, Sir John Falconer, the Lord Provost of Edinburgh said the festival should, “provide a platform for the flowering of the human spirit.” This year the Edinburgh Festival celebrated its 70th anniversary. As part of the celebrations of this milestone year, the festival launched a new website (70years.eif.co.uk) introducing a selection of the memorable performance from its 70-year history. Among the episodes introduced are the stories of how conductor Bruno Walter, who had fled Nazi repression in his native Germany and came to conduct the Vienna Philharmonic Orchestra for the first time in the postwar era and the moment when the music of the Czech Philharmonic at a time when the Czechoslovakia was still behind the Iron Curtain. Invited to the festival to perform this year were some 2,020 artists from 40 countries. In his third year as the festival’s artistic director, Fergus Linehan prepared a program not only of the performing arts of opera, dance and theater but also featured his own specialty, contemporary music.
Featured on the music program were the British bass and baritone singer Bryn Terfel, the former frontman of the band Pulp, English musician Jarvis Branson Cocker, Italian born conductor Riccardo Chailly, sitar virtuoso and composer Anoushka Shankar, two-time Mercury Prize winner PJ Harvey, the Italian Orchestra and Chorus Teatro Regio Torino, the orchestra of Milan’s world-renowned opera house La Scala and the music of the Incredible String Band that inspired listeners in the late 1960s with their psychedelic folk sound.
On the theatre program, one of the highlights was the Alan Ayckbourn plat The Divide presented in a joint production with the Old Vic theatre. Performed as a world premiere, this two-part comedy makes fun of post-Brexit British society by painting a satirical picture of a world where the populace is segregated by the sexes and freedom of speech is repressed.

Festival Outline
Founded in 1947, the Edinburgh International Festival is a performing arts festival held over a period of three weeks in August each year in the Scottish capital of Edinburgh. It is an international festival with programs covering the fields of opera, music, theatre, dance and visual art. From 2006 to 2014, the Festival Director and Chief Executive is Australian Jonathan Mills, who also has experience at the Melbourne Festival.
For its 65th holding in 2011, the festival adopted an Asian focus with roughly 140 events traditional and contemporary Asian performing arts performed at 11 venues around the city of Edinburgh. That year, the music festival featured performances by Indonesia’s Royal Yogyakrata Gamelan troupe, the sitar musician Ravi Shankar, sarod musician Amjad Ali Khan and other traditional Asian music, as well as a lineup of classical music performances by Asian musicians, including Chinese guitarist Xeufei Yang, Singapore’s Tang Quartet, the Seoul Philharmonic Orchestra directed by Chung Myung-Whun and the rising young Chinese pianist Lee Yundi among others. Also, Canada’s Montreal Symphony Orchestra and Britain’s Arditti Quartet performed contemporary music by the Japanese composers Toru Takemitsu and Toshio Hosokawa. On the theater program, there was a world premiere of an international joint production with Japanese and American actors performing a play based on novelist Haruki Murakami’s The Wind-up Bird Chronicles directed by video artist Stephen Earnhart and using video technology from Japan and the U.S. From Japan, photographer Hiroshi Sugimoto was invited to give an exhibition of his work.
From 2015, the festival’s new director is Fergus Linehan, who has served as director of the Dublin Dance Festival and the Sydney Festival as director.
+Edinburgh International Festival
http://www.eif.co.uk

29th Berlin international dance festival Tanz im August held (Aug. 11 – Sep. 2, 2017)
 
This international dance festival, run by the Hebbel am Ufer (HAU), a leading theater in the “free scene,” was held again this summer, which is off-season for the national and state theaters of Germany. As the feature artist chosen each year, this year the festival focused on La Ribot from Madrid. With feminism and conceptual approaches to dance which placed her at the forefront of the 90s dance scene, La Ribot’s work has been known to use the body to bring diverse forms of expression together including dance, live art, video installations and performance art. Programs featured included the six-hour durational performance Laughing Hole (2006); Gustavia (2008), a duet with Mathilde Monnier; as well as two pieces out of her ongoing series Distinguished Pieces. A viewing of her video installation works created between 2002 and 2014 was also held.
An additional feature of this year's festival was the large number of outdoor and street performances. Among these was a re-creation of Anna Halprin’s anti-war piece made in 1967 in response to the Vietnam War, Blank Placard Dance, re-created by French choreographer Anne Collod. In it, 30 amateur performers, selected by open application, marched through the streets of Berlin clothed all in white and holding blank, pure white placards. Also, Cameroonian choreographer Zora Snake presented Beyond the Human, a performance that combines African tribal rites, urban dance, and performance art, staged behind the HAU 1 building. The piece is concerned with physical freedom within a post-colonial context.
From Japan, Takao Kawaguchi presented About Kazuo Ohno as part of the festival's focus on Butoh. Also in attendance were Tatsumi Hijikata-inspired Brazilian choreographer Evelyn Marcelo, as well as US-based choreographer Trajal Harrell, likewise professing great admiration for the Butoh founder Tatsumi Hijikata.

Festival Outline
Tanz im August is a contemporary dance festival jointly planned and run by TanzWerkstatt Berlin, an organization founded in 1988 with the aim of providing a new international approach to support of contemporary dance, and Hebbel am Ufer (HAU), the representative theater of Berlin’s free theater (small theater) scene.
+Tanz im August
http://www.tanzimaugust.de

The 71st Avignon Festival held in France (Jul. 6 – 26, 2017)
 
Artistic Director Oliver Py called this year’s Avignon Festival with its program of 40 invited works from all over the world the “most international program ever.” Some of the prominent names on the program include German director Frank Castorf, British director Katie Mitchell, Belgian director Guy Cassiers, Portuguese director Tiago Rodrigues, Australian director Simon Stone, Burkina Faso-born choreographer Serge Aimé Coulibaly and Japanese director Satoshi Miyagi. Also, in a return to the spirit of the festival’s founder, Jean Vilar, a program of “popular theater” that can be enjoyed by men and women of all ages was also prepared. This program was characterized by many works of classical narrative theater by the likes of Ibsen, Molière, Shakespeare and Sophocles that could be enjoyed by all. Satoshi Miyagi became the first Japanese director ever to direct a production for the festival opening at the Palais des Papes with his production of Antigone. For it, he had the entire stage covered with a thin layer of water to create a sense of the constant and subtle fluctuations of the dualisms of reality and illusion, life and death good an evil that typify traditional Christian values, which brought him positive reviews. Also, in a production of Hamlet directed by Oliver Py himself, he creates a picture of the family not as a nest of love and tranquility but, in contrast, as a “Den of Violence.”

Festival Outline
The Avignon Festival was founded by actor and director Jean Vilar in 1947 and has grown to become one of Europe’s foremost performing arts festivals in terms of the scale, number and quality of new works presented. From 2004, the festival has adopted an “associate artist” system under which a different artist is chosen every year to participate in the selection of the next festival’s program. In recent years, the program includes about 40 works performed at some 20 venues around the city, with the central court of the Palais des Papes and the Carrière de Boulbon quarry as two of the main venues. Visitors during the festival total about 100,000 each year, a number roughly equal to the city’s population. The European press regularly publishes feature articles about the Avignon Festival with daily critiques of the performances. At times it has sparked large-scale debates in the theater world, as was the case with the works of Jan Fabre in 2005. Held simultaneously with the festival is the Avignon Theater Festival OFF (http://www.avignonleoff.com/) presenting a large number of works. The OFF festival adopts an open participation policy. Also, in addition to performing arts many exhibitions, concerts, poetry readings and other events are held, bringing a festive mood to the entire city throughout the festival’s run. Director Olivier Py was appointed festival director in 2013. The 2014 festival featured from Japan Maharabharata, l’episode du roi Nata directed by Satoshi Miyagi and French master Claude Régy directed Japanese actors in a production of Maurice Maeterlinck’s Intérieur.
+Festival d’Avignon
http://www.festival-avignon.com/en/
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