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New international performing arts festival is born in Tokyo: Festival/Tokyo (Feb. 26 – Mar. 29, 2009)
Festival Tokyo
    In 2008 the Tokyo Metropolitan Government launched the “Tokyo Culture Creation Project” in a cooperative effort with the various related agencies and arts organizations with the aim of promoting the creation and spread of arts and culture for the purposes of youth development and creating and making Tokyo a cultural center worthy candidacy to host the 2016 Olympics. As one of the Project’s programs a new international performing arts festival has been initiated under the name Festival/Tokyo (F/T), and the first festival “F/T09 Spring (2008FY program)” will be held from February 26 to March 29, 2009, with the Tokyo Metropolitan Art Space, Owlspot Theater and Nishi-Sugamo Arts Factory in Tokyo’s Toshima Ward as the main venues.

    The festival’s organizing bodies are the Tokyo Metropolitan Government, the Tokyo Metropolitan Foundation for History and Culture and the Festival/Tokyo Organizing Committee. The Organizing Committee is made up of representatives of Toshima Ward, where the festival is being held, the Toshima Future Culture Foundation and the NPO Art Network Japan (ANJ) that organized the Tokyo International Festival (TIF), which concluded in 2008. And the Program Director is the ANJ’s Chiaki Soma.

    The program for the first F/T festival will consist of 14 sponsored works, including international collaborative works, productions of new works and invited domestic works. In addition, there will be a tangent participating program of noted works being performed in Tokyo during the festival run.

    The two foreign invited works on the program are the German documentary theater group Rimini Protokoll performing Karl Marx: Capital, Volume One and the production Hey Girl! by the Italian company Societas Raffaello Sanzio led by Romeo Castellucci, the 2008 Associate Artist for the Avignon Festival. Also, the butoh group Sankai Juku, now based in France, will perform their early representative work Kinkan Shonen (Kumquat Seed) .

    The three works on the program being produced by the festival are A Noh version production of Othello directed by one of Korea’s leading directors, Lee Youn-Taek, with a Korean cast, the new work Kokashita created by contemporary dance artist Shigehiro Ide with Thai dancers, and the young director Shu Matsui’s Fireface, an adaption of a contemporary German play. The three international collaborative works on the program are Japan’s Oriza Hirata and an Iranian and French director’s collaborative production of Utopia? , the new work blue Lion choreographed by contemporary dance artist Tsuyoshi Shirai and Masataka Matsuda’s Voiceprints City – Letter to FATHER based in interviews with his father, a resident of Nagasaki, one of the two cities that suffered atomic bombings in WWII.

    In Japan today there is much attention focusing on experimental theater and dance that treats actual society, actual people and real body presence and works of this type are one of the focuses of this festival, including the production Between 95 and 97 kg by internationally renowned director Yukio Ninagawa and the Saitama Gold Theatre company he started with members above the age of 55, in collaboration with a group of young people. Other works that should also draw attention are Transfer Student directed by the cultist director Norimizu Ameya with high school girls, and the Port B company productions Clouds. Home. and Sunshine 63 directed by Akira Takayama, who has developed a new theatrical realm with his street-walking performance.

    Another recent trend in Japan is art education in universities conducted by front-line artists. Reflecting these activities, there will be a section of the festival’s program called Theater/University for student artists to perform their own works and participate in discussions.

    The budget for this first festival is approximately 300 million yen, and the second festival is scheduled for autumn 2009.
+Festival/Tokyo 09 spring
Dates: Feb. 26 (Thu.) to Mar. 29 (Sun.), 2009
Venues: Tokyo Metropolitan Art Space, Owlspot (Toshima Ward Performing Arts Exchange Center) and Nishi-Sugamo Arts Factory, etc.
For schedule details refer to the website