The Japan Foundation
Performing Arts Network Japan
Nov. 20, 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
The performance art biennale Performa 17 opens (Nov. 1 – 19, 2017)
This Biennale was started in 2005 with the aim of focusing thought on the development of live performance art in the 20th century. It is held every other year in venues around New York with a focus on the legacy of visual artists working in live performance. This year’s themes are inter-city artistic practice in African art and culture, the intersection of architecture and performance, and the hundred-year legacy of Dada.
Leading South African artist William Kentridge will present the work Ursonate created in collaboration with the Handspring Puppet Company from his hometown of Cape Town, and other young African artists from Estonia, Nigeria, Kenya, France and other countries. There are also performances by the Butoh dancer Eiko Otake, who has been active from her base in New York for more than 40 years under the unit name Eiko & Koma, and Barbara Kruger, a major artist in the U.S. known for her awesome conceptual art, who will set up exhibits at several locations around the city.
On the Biennial’s opening night Yoko Ono made an appearance. On the final day, the Malcolm McLaren Award, named after the “father of pun” Malcolm McLaren, known for championing the young and bold. The award will go to an artist who exhibits the avant-garde and punk spirits.

Festival Outline
Performa is a performance art biennale founded in 2004 by art historian RoseLee Goldberg and sponsored by the organization of the same name. Held every other year since 2005, the biennale has a range of innovative programs that break down the boundaries between visual art, music, dance, poetry, fashion, architecture, etc. Central among these is the commissions program to support visual artists in creating performance works, which includes among it past participants the musician Arto Lindsay, choreographer and video artist Yvonne Rainer, the painter Wangechi Mutu and artist Mike Kelley. Some of the works from this program have gone on to be shown around the world after premiering at Performa.
+Performa 17

Bangkok Theatre Festival opens (Nov. 2 – 19, 2017)
Started in 2002, this is Thailand’s biggest performing arts festival. The first year it was held through the joint organizing efforts of the community of Bangkok’s Banglampoo district where the main venue, the Santi Chaiprakarn park is located and the Bangkok Theatre Network (a network made up of artists, theatre scholars, drama instructors). The festival’s program presents primarily works by local Thai artists, and it was started with the aim of being a festival to promote the spread of contemporary theatre. In light of the boom in small-theatre productions in recent years, from 2015 the main venue has been switched to the Bangkok Arts and Culture Center (BACC). The festival’s artistic director is stage director and actor Nikorn Saetang, while the program director is the playwright and director Supawat Hongsa.
This year’s program features the play Sawan ARCADE by B-Floor Theatre, a leading presence in Thailand’s small-theatre scene, and No Name by the 8 x 8 Theater company, as well as the world premiere of Bangkok Notes by Japan’s Oriza Hirata in collaboration with 20 Thai actors.
Also, during the festival’s run, the Bangkok International Performing Arts Meeting (BIPAM) is being held concurrently from Nov. 14 to 18. In addition to showcases and workshops, there will be a lecture by the conference chairman of the Sibiu International Theater Festival since 2004, Mr. Octavian Saiu (Bucharest National University of Theatre and Film), and numerous talks on subjects such as “Arts and Culture as Economic Forces,” “Why Festivals?” and “About Festival Production” are planned.

Festival Outline
Started in 2002 as Thailand’s first performing arts festival, it is organized by the Bangkok Theatre Network of theatre makers and educators with the aim of being an ongoing festival supporting and mentoring young artists and educating audience. Since 2004 it has been held every year, presenting numerous works in a variety of spaces ranging from regular theatres to parks and restaurants.
+Bangkok Theatre Festival

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