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Three new plays by Japanese playwrights in English and in London

StoneCrabs Theatre and Yellow Earth Theatre Company in partnership with Japan Foundation present: Winds of Change (Ashita No Kaze) – A series of staged play-readings of award-winning Japanese plays: October 12th, November 12th, December 12th 2016 at The Studio Theatre, RADA, 16 Chenies Street, London WC1E 7EX

Winds of Change (Ashita No Kaze) is a brand new monthly series of staged readings of Japanese plays to be presented at the Royal Academy of Dramatic Art Studio Theatre in London this winter. The season, which kicks off on Wednesday October 12th, will introduce the work of some of Japan’s top contemporary playwrights in English for the first time in the UK. Presented by the south London theatre companies, StoneCrabs and Yellow Earth in partnership with Japan Foundation, Winds of Change will also offer audiences the unique opportunity of meeting the playwrights themselves to discuss their work after the readings.

Winds of Change presents Got to Make Them Sing by Ai Nagai.
Winds of Change presents Got to Make Them Sing by Ai Nagai. Photo by Keisen Ri

October 12th at 7pm
The political satire Got To Make Them Sing by Ai Nagai
At a public high school in Tokyo, a few hours before the annual graduation ceremony, Miss Michiru – former chanson singer, now music teacher and school pianist – has lost her contact lenses so she can’t see the music to play the national anthem. As the high school’s principal and his colleagues try to find a solution, they also have to deal with Haijima, the social studies teacher, who threatens to bring the whole school into disrepute.

Hilariously dark and using the Tokyo Board of Education’s decision to punish teachers who fail to comply with the ruling to raise the flag and sing the national anthem at graduation ceremonies, Ai Nagai’s contemporary social comedy calls into question the nature of freedom of speech and just how far we are prepared to fight for it.

Winds of Change present Pighead by Toshinobu Kojo
Winds of Change present Pighead by Toshinobu Kojo

November 12th at 7pm
Inspired by Lord of the Flies: Pighead by Toshinobu Kojo; directed by Kwong Loke.
When a group of Tokyo office workers are faced with the re-structuring of their company, they quickly descend into a struggle for survival where firings, organisational reshuffles and cancelled strategies become part of a dark, unethical and sinister world. Inspired by William Golding’s Lord of The Flies, Pighead is written by Toshinobu Kojo, founder and director of Akasaka Theatre in Tokyo. Despite the dearth of documentary plays in Japan, Kojo is passionate about the genre. After visiting Britain at a time when verbatim theatre was enjoying a revival, in 2006 he produced a version of Robin Soans’ award-winning “The Arab-Israeli Cookbook” in Japanese.

‘Pighead’ writer Toshinobu Kojo (above left) will be in conversation with playwright Colin Teevan at the Embassy of Japan, 101-104 Piccadilly, London W1J 7JT on November 8th 2016.

December 12th at 7pm:
Futuristic drama The Sun by Tomohiro Maekawa
Set in the early 21st century after the population of Japan has been decimated by an act of bio terrorism, two kinds of humans now exist: the Nokusu and the Kyurio. Each in their own way must deal with the consequences of the unbridled growth-driven capitalism of the past. Can the Nokusu and Kyurio overcome their differences and find the humanity that will ensure their survival?

StoneCrabs Theatre Artistic Director Franko Figueiredo: “Japan has recently nurtured a new generation of artists, creating an upsurge of playwrights who want to present modern Japanese stories that explore important social-political issues. It is wonderful for us to be able to present some of the best of these plays to UK audiences for the first time.

Yellow Earth’s Artistic Director, Kumiko Mendl: “We believe these plays will offer UK audiences fresh insights into Japanese contemporary society.

The Japan Foundation’s Senior Arts Programme Officer, Junko Takekawa: “We want to increase the awareness of Japanese contemporary plays in the UK and we hope that this project will raise interest in writer talent from Japan.

StoneCrabs Theatre delivers world theatre and educational and arts projects by working with international and diverse practitioners. The company’s aim is to bring challenging and informative work to the stage by drawing on the creativity of artists and writers of diverse cultures. StoneCrabs provides up and coming practitioners the support and space to develop their style and voice. www.stonecrabs.co.uk

Yellow Earth creates, develops and champions the best of British East Asian Theatre by creating opportunities for actors, writers and directors to make bold, imaginative and thought provoking theatre. Productions range from a fresh approach to timeless classics to providing platforms for unheard voices and stories for audiences all over the UK. The company also has an extensive outreach and education programme working with schools, colleges and museums and an annual summer school for young BEA actors. www.yellowearth.org

Japan Foundation was established in 1972 by the Japanese Ministry of Foreign Affairs, and became an Independent administrative institution in 2003. The organisation promotes international cultural exchange between Japan and the rest of the world by organising projects such as contemporary play readings, as well as providing financial support through grant programmes in the fields of Arts and Culture, Japanese language and Japanese studies. The Japan Foundation has its Head Office in Tokyo, with offices and centres in over 20 countries outside Japan. www.jpf.org.uk

Winds of Change is organised by StoneCrabs Theatre Company, Yellow Earth Theatre and the Japan Foundation supported by the Arts Council of England. The project was instigated by StoneCrabs Theatre Company and Yellow Earth Theatre.

October 12th, November 12th, December 12th 2016
The Studio Theatre, RADA, 16 Chenies Street, London WC1E 7EX
Tickets: £6 (£5 concs) from:
www.rada.ac.uk/whats-on

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