The Japan Foundation
Performing Arts Network Japan
Oct. 10, 2017
Japan Topics
10th Festival/Tokyo 17 Opens (Sept. 30 – Nov. 12, 2017)
Tokyo’s performing arts festival Festival/Tokyo 17 (F/T17) is being held for the 10th time in 2017, and its theme is “Newcomers, Towards a Big Place.” It will be held over 44 days beginning September 30th with the Tokyo Metropolitan Theatre as the main venue and numerous other venues in tie-ups with the Ikebukuro district of Tokyo.
The main contents of the organizers’ program consist of 14 invited works, beginning with the opening program Toky Toki Saru conceived and directed by Thai choreographer Pichet Klunchun as a work in what for him represents a new field of endeavor: performance art. Participating in it will be dancers selected from around Asia and people from the general public. No reservations were required and admission was free to encourage as many people as possible to attend and participate.
The Asia Series this time too China as its feature country and focused on young artists under the title “China New Power: Chinese Millenials.” Among the works presented are a new work of performance conceived, directed by Tianzhou Chen (b. 1985) titled “Trayastrimsa” that fuses ancient culture with the contemporary club culture, and a work written and directed by Xiaoxing Sun (b. 1986) titled “Loves Labor’s Lost” that portrays young people in a fantasy world where the real and the virtual intersect. There will also be first Japan performances by three groups of musicians and talks on a variety of culture subjects.
From Japan, Yukio Shiba makes his first appearance at Festival/Tokyo with a new work In our distance there is no sorrow, a story on the subject of distance told simultaneously in two different versions at two theaters next to each other at the Tokyo Metropolitan Theatre. This work is a joint production with Taipei Performing Arts Center (planned opening in 2019) and plans call for collaboration with musicians and costume designers from Taiwan.
The project “Performing Fukushima” of Masataka Matsuda’s Marebito Theatre Company that delves into the depths of common memory of the Fukushima community by staging plays written by a number of different writers. Also, Matsuda serves as curator for the new project to seek out and nurture young theater makers titled “Theatre for Experimentation and Dialogue: Theatre of Newcomers and Incidents.”
In addition, in the “F/T in the City Performance Series” that takes theater out of the theater, performances include Shigeki Nakano + Frankens presents a new work based on the period novel Halfway to Hanshichi, which will be performed in Matsudo in Chiba, just across the river from Tokyo. Also in this series are works by Takeshi Fukuda, Mai Endo, Eiki Mori and FAIFAI.
+Festival/Tokyo (F/T)

KYOTO EXPERIMENT 2017 opens (Oct. 14 – Nov. 5, 2017)
KYOTO EXPERIMENT is a contemporary performing arts festival organized in Kyoto. 2017 marks its eighth holding and it will run from Oct. 14 for 23 days, with the ROHM Theatre Kyoto as its main venue. Since Kyoto has been the host city of the Culture City of East Asia program organized by the national governments of Japan, China and South Korea, this festival also programs performances by artists from these three countries along with cultural exchange programs.
The programming of KYOTO EXPERIMENT 2017 is themed around encounters with the “inner other” and consists of a lineup of 12 works. Making his debut at Kyoto Experiment is a German contemporary music composer Heiner Goebbels, presenting the Japan premiere of his signature music theater work Black on White. Also, returning again this year after last year’s appearance is the Trisha Brown Dance Company of the late choreographer Trisha Brown who passed away this March. They will be performing a commemorative program of three works for the theater. And making his third appearance at KYOTO EXPERIMENT is Brazilian choreographer Marcelo Evelin presenting a new work that draws inspiration from Butoh pioneer Tatsumi Hijikata’s book Yameru Maihime (Ailing Dancing Girl).
Also, as part of the program of the Culture City of East Asia 2017 Kyoto, KYOTO EXPERIMENT invites artists from China and South Korea for the first time. Attention focuses here on the countries’ emerging contemporary theater makers. A leading figure in China’s theater scene popular with millennial-generation audiences, the playwright, director and critic Xiaoxing Sun presents his newest work depicting the intrusion of the virtual world into contemporary reality. From South Korea, Minhee Park is a vocalist trained in traditional Korean gagok who performs her own modern adaptations.
From the Japanese artists on the program, attention focuses on a number of world premieres by some of today’s top emerging artists. Currently residing in Argentina since the autumn of last year, playwright and director Yudai Kamisato (Okazaki Art Theatre) presents a new work based on material gathered there. The director and video artist Takuya Murakawa presents a new work based on research in China and South Korea. Also, sculptor Teppei Kaneuji teams with actor Izumi Aoyagi and others to present a work for the stage. Other works include among others four-time participant in this festival sound artist Ryoji Ikeda and a research project conducts primarily by designers and architects titled researchlight.
Also, as a new experimental feature this time, the festival holds The Children’s Choice Awards, a participatory project planned and directed by the Canadian company Mammalian Diving Reflex, in which children will give original award to participating artists. And there will be a fringe program run simultaneously with some 31 works programed.
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

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 ( 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

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

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 ( 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