O-matase-itashimashita – The wait is over!

The Japanese Festival is not only coming back to Leipzig, but this time to Dresden and other cities as well. We would like to welcome back all those who joined our project in Leipzig last year and look forward to those who will discover the magic and excitement of this theatre this time around.

This year we will continue to present excellent theatre artists from Japan who will perform everything from traditional to modern forms. The main focus of this year’s programme will be the productions that take place during the festival: The workshop programme has been broadened this year with the Nô puppet theatre as well as a continuation of the Butô workshop. There will also be four different improvisation projects/artistic encounters and many new things which will take place directly in Leipzig during the festival.

The festival intends to ignore the strong Japanese distinction between pre-modern and contemporary theatrical culture by treating them as equal contemporary expressions of theatrical art of today and, therefore, has invited various professional and most importantly, artists who are highly aesthetic with wilful ideologies to Leipzig. Their craft is based on experience which crosses the strict genre boundaries which are present in both in Japanese and European societies.

All the artists invited will not only use elements of drama and dance, they will also use music and visual arts in form of masking, costumes, setting and design of the stage which will be done in a way that their individual pieces create a vivid and holistic work of (theatrical) art. Today the Japanese art of all genres is still based on the elementary craft, which, is handed down from the masters to their students as oral tradition like in ancient times. This way of learning does not work by studying books or attending classes at theatre schools.

Since Japan opened to West and its culture and technologies about 150 years ago, western structures of educating artists were quickly established alongside the world of traditional (theatre) arts of the former samurai (bushi) elites and the popular culture of the main cities in Edo time (1603-1868). Despite this western influence, the Japanese have also kept their older structures of oral tradition although with some modifications until today, as well as their religious theatre of shrines and temples.

The festival intends to make visitors as well as artists experience the contradictory positions through their interactions via collaborations and artistic encounters.

We are excited to have gained the Societaetstheater in Dresden and the Leipzig International Art Programme (LIA) in the Spinnerei as new partners for the festival this year.

At the moment, we are already planning next year’s programme, which will bring our project to Japan itself for the first time.

We wish you a unique and enjoyable experience at the festival. So, let’s have fun – Tanomi-mashô!