University hosts exchange between Japanese and British theatre researchers and artists

Exchanging texts around democracy and public spaces. Photo courtesy of Kamome Machine
Exchanging texts around democracy and public spaces. Photo courtesy of Kamome Machine

An exchange that aims to create a long-term network between Japanese and British theatre researchers and practitioners is to be hosted by Lancaster University.

The University’s Lancaster Institute for the Contemporary Arts (LICA) and its Cultures Research Centre will be hosting a series of workshops and events as part of a pilot project ‘Japan-Britain Contemporary Theatre Exchange’ from November 2 to November 3.

The award-winning Japanese director Yuta Hagiwara, the leader of Tokyo-based theatre company Kamome Machine, will be facilitating an exciting site-specific workshop entitled ‘Democracy as a Verb’ using the University campus squares.

Participants will be able to engage in an exchange around the idea of democracy in public spaces through a series of physical exercises and experimenting with texts. There will also be the possibility to create short performances.

Currently living in New York researching the concepts of ‘public and democracy’, Yuta Hagiwara said: “I’m thrilled to be doing this workshop in Lancaster. I’m hoping to explore with participants this uncertain concept of democracy that undoubtedly affects our bodies. We will all be lost like children on the Lancaster campus.”

On Friday, November 3, at the Nuffield Theatre, one of the leading Japanese theatre scholars, Professor Tadashi Uchino (Gakushuin Women’s College, Tokyo) will give a lecture introducing contemporary Japanese theatre practices including more recent pandemic and post-pandemic developments. This will be followed by a roundtable talk entitled ‘Travelling, Gathering, Exchanging’ with Japanese and British researchers and artists.

Professor Uchino said: “I am very grateful for the invitation from Lancaster University. My lecture is a kind of a mapping, not-too-much theoretically articulated, of contemporary performance cultures in Japan, including post-covid contextual changes at large. I very much look forward to exchanging with researchers, artists and students at Lancaster.”

The project is jointly organised by Dr Karen Jürs-Munby, Senior Lecturer in Theatre at Lancaster University, Beri Juraic, PhD Candidate in Theatre Studies, also at Lancaster University and Dr Richard Talbot, Senior Lecturer in Performance at University of Salford where there will be an additional workshop and talk on Monday, November 6.

Dr Karen Jürs-Munby, one of the co-organisers, said: “Contemporary Japanese theatre has strong resonances with the postdramatic theatre practices in Europe, but we don’t often have first-hand experience of it. I am all the more excited that Professor Uchino and Yuta Hagiwara will share their knowledge, ideas and practice of contemporary Japanese theatre with us in Lancaster.”

Project initiator Beri Juraic, a third-year PhD Candidate in Theatre working on a PhD project about crossing borders in contemporary Japanese theatre, said: “In the last year, I had the privilege to exchange with many Japanese theatre makers and scholars. It has been truly an enriching experience.

“Beyond its well-known food, manga, anime and popular culture, Japan has a very vibrant contemporary theatre scene which is seldom seen in the UK and Europe. All these events will be free and open to anyone interested in theatre. I invite Lancaster academics, students, theatre-makers and lovers of theatre to join us.”

The project is supported by the Arts and Humanities Research Council UK through the North West Consortium Doctoral Training Partnership and the Japan Foundation London Grant Programme.

For detailed information and to register please visit:

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