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Mar. 4, 2017
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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/

TPAM in Yokohama 2017 (International Performing Arts Meeting in Yokohama 2017) opens (Feb. 11 – 19, 2017)
 
TPAM in Yokohama, an international platform for professionals involved in the performing arts, opens this year on February 11. Now in its 21st holding, the 2017 edition of TPAM consists of three programs: the TPAM Direction program presenting performances of performing arts from around the world, the TPAM Exchange program which serves as a networking platform for professionals involved with the performing arts, and the open-application showcase program TPAM Fringe (former TPAM Showcase).
This time, the TPAM Direction program presents a lineup of 13 works and projects. Among these, special attention focuses on the Japan premiere of Thai film director an artist Apichatpong Weerasethakul’s first work for the stage, Fever Room, The Japan Premiere of BALABALA choreographed by Eko Supriyanto of Indonesia, and the world premiere of Taipei Notes, co-created by Oriza Hirata and Taiwan’s Voleur du Feu Theatre. Also scheduled is a richly diverse selection of works programmed by the four directors of TPAM Direction, Tang Fu Kuen, Aki Onda, Fumi Yokobori and Yumina Kato. Bangkok-based curator Tang Fu Kuen has invited a performance of Samut Thai: Unfinished Histories, a performance installation featuring Pichet Klunchun and others (Japan premiere). Sound artists Aki Onda presents performances by NgỌc Đại (Hanoi, Vietnam), Senyawa (Yogyakarta, Indonesia) and Jen Shyu (New York). Fumi Yokobori, the program director of DANCE BOX, presents Zan Yamashita’s latest work created in residence in Bali. As for Yumina Kato, the studio director of Steep Slope Studio, has brought together emerging young artists from Japan to collaborate on new works, with Mom & Gypsy’s Takahiro Fujita and Izumi Aoyagi among the participants.
The TPAM Exchange program consists of symposiums and talks concerning a wide range of issues involved in performing arts today. Among them are “Group Meetings” at which participants suggest topics for discussion and reservation-type “Speed Networking” meetings for presenter from Japan and around the world to meet on a one-to-one basis. Furthermore, many artists and companies will be presenting performances in the Tokyo and Yokohama area concurrently with the rest of TPAM as part of the TPAM Fringe program. Among these will be such names as Niwa Gekidan Penino, Hiroshi Koike Bridge Project, Co. Un Yamada, FAIFAI, KENTARO!! and more. For details, see the TPAM website.
+TPAM in Yokohama 2017 (International Performing Arts Meeting in Yokohama 2017)
https://www.tpam.or.jp/2017/en/

Yokohama Dance Collection 2017 held (Jan. 26 – Feb. 19, 2017)
 
Organized by the Yokohama Arts Foundation, the Yokohama Dance Collection has been held since 1996 as a contemporary dance festival for the purpose of discovering and nurturing young choreographers and popularizing contemporary dance in Japan. For the Competitions (I and II) that are the main feature of the program, finalists are chosen based on video recordings of performances and written applications. For this year’s Competition I that is open to choreographers whose works have been publicly performed there were 134 applications from 11 countries, from which ten artists/groups (from Japan, S. Korea, Taiwan, China, Malaysia) were selected as finalists. For Competition II New Choreographer Division open to choreographers under the age of 25, 12 artists/groups were selected as finalists from among 38 applications. The finalist performance for the Competition I Jury Prize grand prix and the Competition II Outstanding New Choreographer Prize were scheduled for Feb. 9 – 12 at the Yokohama Red Brick Warehouse No. 1, with the winners to be decided on the final day.
The final competition is also accompanied by performances by artists active on the international dance scene. The opening performance featured VESSEL yokohama (Jan. 26 – 29), a Yokohama version of the work by Belgium-based choreographer/dancer Damien Jalet and Japanese sculptor Kohei Nawa that has won acclaim with Japanese actor Mirai Moriyama performing. Also scheduled are the Japan premiere of Host (Feb. 17 – 19), a work created during residencies in Japan from 2014 by the internationally acclaimed Philippine-based choreographer/dancer Eisa Jocson, and a new work titled Choreograph (Feb. 16 – 19) by director Junnosuke Tada, who also serves as a jury member for the main Competition I.
Also on the schedule is the Dance Cross + Asian Selection (Feb. 2 – 5) program which features performances by past Yokohama Dance Collection competition winners. For this program, the 2015 winner of the Jury Prize and the French Embassy Prize for Young Choreographers, Mikiko Kawamura presented the Japan premiere of the work Jigoku ni Saku Hana (LA FLEUR ÉCLÔT EN ENFER), which she created and presented while on the residency program in France. Also on the program is a work jointly created by the 2013 winner of the same French Embassy Prize for Young Choreographers, Miwa Okuno, and Zhou Zihao, a dancer of Singapore’s acclaimed dance company, T.H.E Dance Company, and the Japan Premiere of a jointly created piece by 2016 Yokohama Dance Collection finalist Moto Takahashi and Jun Boram, the 2015 Seoul Dance Collection choreography award winner.
Furthermore, there is a showcase program of free performances to be held during the Yokohama Dance Collection run at the Yokohama Red Brick Warehouse No. 1.
+Competition Finalists
Competition I
Yuhei Ara, Yu Kitamura, Ikuma Kurosu, Ryu Suzuki, Asami Seki, Tomo Mizukoshi, ASK Dance Company (Malaysia), Xiaoni Chang (China), Hosik Yang (S. Korea), Ming-Hwa Yeh (Taiwan)
* Jury: Okami Sae, Kondo Ryohei, Thierry Bayle, Tada Junnosuke, Hamano Fumio, Yanaihara Mikuni
Competition II (New Choreographer Division)
Mako Egami, Takashi Kanai, Yuuki Kamimura, Mai Kubota, Chiharu Shimura, Reisa Shimojima, Takashi Suzuki, Nozomi Tsuchiya, Ayane Nakagawa, Momoko Nagata, Natsumi Hasushi, Yaeko Yokoyama
* Jury: Ito Chie, Sato Vivienne, Yukio Shiba, Hamano Fumio
+Yokohama Dance Collection
http://yokohama-dance-collection.jp/en/

23rd OMS Drama Prize is awarded to Keisuke Fukuyama for Warui Kuse
 
The 23rd OMS Drama Prize, an award sponsored by the Osaka Gas Co., Ltd. to recognize playwrights active in the Kansai region of Japan, held its final jury session at the Suita City Culture Center May Theater on Dec. 6, 2016. Out of the 48 nominated plays, the Grand Prix was awarded to Keisuke Fukutani of the Tokumei Gekidan company for his play Warui Kuse (Bad Habit). The Honorable Mention winner was Kenji Hashimoto of the KOINU company for his play Mata Yoru ha Kuru (Night Will Come Again).
Keisuke Fukutani was born in 1990, and after entering the Theater Arts course of the Literary Arts Department of Kinki University, he started the Tokumei Gekidan in 2011. Since then he has written and directed all of the plays mounted by Tokumei Gekidan. His award-winning play this time intersecting scenes of dream, fiction and daily life to tell a story of contemporary young people anchorless and adrift in the realities of their lives.
A book containing information about the winning works, the jury comments and the selection process will be published in March 2017. Information about the nine finalist works can be seen on the official website.
+Nominated Finalist Works (in Japanese alphabetical order)
Nen IshiharaYume wo Miru – Yomi-katari ban (Having Dreams – Read and tell version)
Masaya KitamotoFutari no Mitsugetsu (Honeymoon for Two)
Tsuyoshi TanabeHyochaku (island) (Drifted Ashore (island))
Kenji HashimotoMata Yoru ga Kuru (Night Will Come Again)
Tomohiro HidaWatashi Ima Memai Shitawa (I Just Had a Dizzy Spell)
Keisuke FukutaniWarui Kuse (Bad Habit)
Akinori YaginumaShin – Uchiyama (New – Uchiyama)
Akira YamazakiMata Ai ka (What, Love Again?)
Takuya Yokoyama   walk in closet
+Jury:
Man Ikuta, Makoto Sato, Toshiro Suzue, Yumi Suzuki, Eri Watanabe
+OMS Drama Prize Office / Osaka Gas Business Create Co., Ltd.
http://www.ogbc.co.jp/oms/ (Japanese)

Agency for Cultural Affairs announces “2016 Japan Cultural Envoys”
 
The Agency for Cultural Affairs conducts a program that appoints people committed to cultural activities such as artists, cultural specialists and so on, as “Japan Cultural Envoys.” This program aims to deepen the international community’s understanding of Japanese culture and to build and strengthen networks between Japanese and foreign artists and experts. In 2016, six people were appointed “Long-term Cultural Envoys,” including Kashiwa Sato, Fumihiko Sano, Naoko Tosa, Rankou Fujima, Sankyo Yanagiya and Un Yamada. Among these, Choreographer and dancer Un Yamada will be active in the envoy role overseas in Israel, Germany and Canada for a planned six months.
Also, for the Agency for Cultural Affair’s “East Asia Cultural Ambassadors” program, in which the three East Asian countries of Japan, China and the Republic of Korea each appoint young or mid-career artists, etc., to serve as “cultural ambassadors” for a given period, the Agency has named six people, including musician Shuta Hasunuma, director Takuya Murakawa and playwright Ikue Osada as new ambassadors. From November 2016, they have been in residence in China or the Republic of Korea taking part in exchange events such as performances, workshops, field work and the like.
+2016 Japan Cultural Envoys
Long-term Cultural Envoy assignees
Kashiwa Sato (Creative director) / France, U.S., etc.
Fumihiko Sano (Architect, artist) / France, Mexico, Myanmar, etc.
Naoko Tosa (Artist) / US, Australia, New Zealand, Singapore, U.K., Philippines)
Rankou Fujima (Japanese classical dancer)/ France, U.K., Germany
Sankyo Yanagiya (Comic storyteller) / U.S.
Un Yamada (Choreographer, dancer) / Israel, Germany, Canada, etc.
East Asia Cultural Ambassadors
Ikue Osada (Playwright) / Korea Republic
Aki Sasamoto (Artist) / China
Shuta Hasunuma (Musician) / China
Tsuyoshi Hisakado (Artist, creator) / China
Kazufusa Hosho (Hosho School Noh artist) / China
Takuya Murakawa (Director) / China
+Agency for Cultural Affairs 2016 “Japan Cultural Envoys”
http://culturalenvoy.jp/en/culturalenvoy

22nd Japan Playwrights Association New Playwright Prize goes to Kengo Minamide
 
The final jury meeting for the 22nd Japan Playwrights Association New Playwright Prize organized by the Japan Playwrights Association was held on Dec. 11, 2016 at Za Koenji in Tokyo and the winner chosen from among the five finalists was Kengo Minamide, for his play Fureta dake (It was just a touch).
Kengo Minamide was born in 1974 in Ishikawa Prefecture. As a leader of the theater company ryanmennyuron established by a production group made up of graduates of the Osaka Scenario School, Minamide wrote the play Miso aji no Yozora that was nominated as a finalist for the OMS Drama Award. He has studied in the So Kitamura playwright seminar organized by the Itami AI HALL and has continued to win recognition as an accomplished playwright with such accolades as being nominated as a finalist for the AAF Drama Award and finalist for the OMS Drama Award for his play Chantoshita Yugure, and also as a finalist for the AAF Drama Award for his play Owattenashi. Since 2015, Minamide has also been active as resident playwright with the Tokyo theater company Lamanoda. This time’s award-winning play is an omnibus style collection of images of everyday urban life, which jury member Yoji Sakate praised as a work that captures the atmosphere of the era we live in today.
For the 2016 award there were some 243 applications. Of the 27 works that passed the first selection stage, five were chosen as finalists in the second stage of the selection. Reports of the selection process can be seen on the official website.
+Finalists
Momonomi. by Shinnosuke Morita (Fukuoka Pref.)
Puranura by Sawako Takaishi (Tokyo)
Fureta dake by Kengo Minamide (Tokyo to Osaka)
Kami to Konyaku by Genta Hasegawa, (Kyoto)
The Last Supper by Io Ota, (Tokyo)
+Jury for Final Selection:
Takeshi Kawamura, Shoji Kokami, Yoji Sakate, Toshiro Suzue, Norihiko Tsukuda, Hideo Tsuchiya, Nozomi Makino
+Japan Playwrights Association
http://www.jpwa.org (Japanese)
Presenter Topics
Australia’s Adelaide Festival opens (Mar. 3 – 19, 2017)
 
Founded in 1960, the Adelaide Festival is the largest comprehensive arts festival in southern Australia. Held annually since 2012, its two and a half week program features a wide variety of arts, from theater, music dance, literature and visual arts to works for children and more. Until last year, the artistic director was the founder of London’s alternative music festival Meltdown, David Sefton. From this year, Sefton is joined by the former co-directors of Sydney’s Belvoir St. Theatre, Neil Armfield and Rachel Healy
Among the main invited works for the theater program A production of Richard III by German director Thomas Ostermeier, a production of The Encounter directed by Britain’s Simon McBurney Also, among the works from Australia, attention focuses on the Sydney Theatre Company’ production of The Secret River, a work dealing with the birth of the Australian nation.
On the dance program are works including the first performance in Australian Jérôme Bel’s Gala, which has toured to numerous countries around the world. Also, the L-E-V company led by former Batsheva Dance Company principal dancer Sharon Eyel presents Killer Pig, and the Vancouver, Canada-based Electric Theatre Company presents Kidd Pivot.
The music program takes a slight change in direction from the primarily experimental type works that dominated the program until last year to feature a production of George Frideric Handel’s opera Saul directed by Barrie Kosky that had its world premiere at the Glyndebourne Festival in 2015, and a performance of Peter and the Wolf by the Adelaide Symphony Orchestra, among others.
Furthermore, the Kids Weekend program and the Adelaide Writers’ Week program were also held during the festival run.

Festival Outline
Believing in the potential for an arts festival in Adelaide through his involvement in the South Australia national theatre movement, journalist Sir Lloyd Dumas and Adelaide University music professor John Bishop enlisted the support of influential citizens to launch the festival in 1960 with a program of 105 performances (74 for adults and 31 for children) over the course of half a month. Held biennially on even numbered years, the Adelaide Festival and its concurrent Adelaide Fringe Festival grew to become one of Australia’s leading international arts festival events along with those in Sydney and Melbourne. Invited participants from Japan include Daisan Erotica with A Man Named Macbeth in 1994 and Yukichi Matsumoto with Mizumachi in 2000. The festival has been held annually since 2012.
+Adelaide Festival
http://www.adelaidefestival.com.au/

45th Hong Kong Arts Festival opens (Feb. 16 – Mar. 18, 2017)
 
Hong Kong Arts Festival is an international performing arts festival that has continued to present works of some of the biggest arts companies of the East and West and many big-name artists since its first holding in 1973, will be held again this year on a large scale in venues around the city. For the past nine years, the festival’s executive director is Tisa Ho, who is also active in management of Singapore’s Esplanade, marketing and curatorial responsibilities for the Singapore Arts Festival.
This year, the festival’s theme is “In the moment” and the program is made up of works with a focus on living in the present while reflecting on the past and embracing hopes for the future. The festival’s opening performances will be the Bavarian State Ballet company’s production of La Bayadère. The festival’s final weekend will feature a program of contemporary world music under the title of “World Music Weekend” and featuring performances by talented groups from Turkey, Mali, Spain and other countries.
The theater program features a production titled 17 Border Crossings by American director Thaddeus Phillips, who has performed with Robert Lepage; the Martin McDonagh play The Beauty Queen of Leenane directed by Tony Award winner for Best Direction, Garry Hynes; the Czech Republic’s National Theatre Brno production of Janáček’s opera The Makropulos Case, among others. Also, local Hong Kong productions include works like the award-winning Hong Kong playwright Loong Man-hong’s trilogy of plays about a contemporary Hong Kong family titled A Floating Family.
As an Asian festival that also places importance on presenting the traditional Asian arts, the program also includes traditional Chinese Kun opera by the Shanghai Zhang Jun Kunqu Art Center and Cantonese opera, which is recognized as an Oral and Intangible Heritage of Humanity by UNESCO, among other traditional arts.

Festival Outline
One of the largest-scale performing arts festivals in Asia, the Hong Kong Arts Festival is annually held for about one month from February, after Chinese New Year. In 1972, the Hong Kong Arts Festival Society Ltd. was established by a gathering of prominent figures in Hong Kong society, and since the festival’s first edition held in 1973, it has been introducing excellent performing arts works from China and around the world for more than 30 years. It has been managed with support mainly from the Leisure and Cultural Services Department of the Government of the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region of the People’s Republic of China and the Hong Kong Jockey Club Charities Trust.
The programs include performances of a wide range of arts productions from Asia and around the world, including opera, music, jazz, world music, theater, musicals, dance, exhibitions and more are held. The festival also offers full programs of workshops for young people and educational programs.
In the field of contemporary dance, the festival has begun a “Asia-Pacific Dance Platform” to present the works of young choreographers and dance artists active in Asia. With the aim of growing the audience for contemporary dance in Hong Kong, an concurrent program of workshops and discussions is also held. Furthermore, a new platform for crossover experimental works named the “New Stage Series” has also been newly established.
+ Hong Kong Arts Festival
http://www.hk.artsfestival.org

Kick-off of the new theatrical arts festival Asia TOPA (Asia-Pacific Triennial of Performing Arts) in Melbourne (Jan. - Apr., 2017)
 
This is a comprehensive arts triennale with a focus on contemporary Asian performing arts works. In conjunction with arts organizations located throughout Victoria, Australia, and centered at the state's capital of Melbourne, the event will encompass not only the performing but also the visual arts, music, installations, video, architecture, design and literature. The triennale will be for the first time in 2017, and a multifaceted program will be put together in cooperation with partners and various organizations both domestic and foreign. Primary partners include 4A Centre for Contemporary Asian Art, Asialink, Australia Tapestry Workshop, Bluebottle, Castlemaine State Festival, Chamber Made Opera, Melbourne Festival, Monash University Art Museum, Multicultural Arts Victoria, Next Wave Festival, Perth Festival, Sydney Festival, University of Melbourne and the Virgin Australia Melbourne Fashion Festival.
In the theatrical arts and dance category, Singaporean Daniel Kok will be performing Bunny; Melbourne-based Chinese Australian Eugenia Lim will perform The People's Currency; the Tao Dance Theater and leader Tao Ye will give their performance of 6, which was featured in last year’s Paris Men's Collection and Cry Jailolo by Indonesian choreographer Eko Supriyanto. Three works to be performed at the festival from Japan include Kagero by Hamanaka Kikaku, a documentary work taking the Hisanohama area of Iwaki City, Fukushima as its subject; Takao Kawaguchi's About Kazuo Ohno and Time’s Journey Through a Room by Toshiki Okada.
In addition, the networking event “Asia Producers Platform Camp,” focusing on performing arts in Asia, will be hosted from Feb. 21 - 25.

Festival Outline
The focus of this large-scale performing arts triennial lies in Asia’s contemporary arts, as opposed to classical and traditional arts. It was founded by Stephen Armstrong, creative director of Arts Centre Melbourne in 2017, as a platform for contemporary art in the Asia-Pacific region to converge and interrelate. The various theatrical arts organizations in the state of Victoria, Australia, centered around Melbourne, cooperate with each other to produce this program over the course of four months. Principal partner organizations include Arts Centre Melbourne, Australia Centre for Contemporary Art (ACCA), Australian Centre for the Moving Image, Chunky Move, Federation Square, Malthouse Theater, Melbourne Recital Centre (MRC), Melbourne Symphony Orchestra (MSO), Melbourne Theatre Company (MTC), Museum Victoria, National Gallery of Victoria, State Library of Victoria, The Australian Ballet and Victorian College of the Arts.
+Asia TOPA: Asia-Pacific Triennial of Performing Arts
https://www.asiatopa.com.au
TOP