enpaku 早稲田大学演劇博物館


Diversity among Children

  As we entered the 21st century, there were demands to promote social inclusion, which would guarantee the right to social participation of people in socially disadvantageous circumstances. This idea requires the design of education programmes and community planning that allows the participation of all children, including those who may be in a disadvantaged position, such as infants, children who are in hospital, children with disabilities, LGBT children, and children with foreign family heritages. Drama, then, would be under the same requirement.
  Dramatic works on the theme of children include those that portray children in socially disadvantageous circumstances. Our exhibition has displays of a variety of works in which the main character is a child of this type. Examples include ‘The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time’ (first staged in Japan in 2014), which was produced by the Globe Tokyo and is about a young man on the autism spectrum who is searching for the killer of a dog; Watashi to Watashi, Boku to Boku (‘Me [female] and Me, Me [male] and Me’), which was first staged in 2018 by the theatre group Urinko and deals with an LGBT nursery school teacher who goes back in time to his past and meets himself as a youth; ‘Kibori no Okami (The Woodcutter and the Wolf)’ (first staged in 1986) by the shadow puppet theatre group Kakashi-za and which portrays a mother and child meeting with a young Ainu who had gone out hunting and their battle with a Bear God; and ‘YOU AND ME AND THE SPACE BETWEEN’, which was first staged in Japan in 2018 at the Aichi Prefectural Art Theatre and which tells the story of a meeting between adults and children from two different cultural backgrounds.
  Other plays were aimed at children in socially disadvantageous circumstances themselves. These include participatory works that have been created to fit the type of communication skills these children have. At our exhibition, there are displays on the play ‘Peeka-Boo’ (first staged in 1995) by the theatre company Kaze-no-Ko Kyushu, which is aimed at children ages 0 to 3 years old, as well as the play ‘The Dance Party in the White Book’ (first staged in 2018) by the NPO Theatre Planning Network’s Hospital Theatre Project and which allows children with disabilities to participate the play. In general, plays that are for an audience of children are designed to resonate with the sensibilities of children who are alive at the time the play is produced, and so attempts were made at a variety of theatrical forms, including puppet theatre, musical, and physical theatre. In recent years, particularly from the perspective of social inclusion, forms of theatre productions that allow children to easily participate – such as participatory theatre, multisensory theatre, and immersive theatre – have become the focus of attention.
  Many of the people involved in plays on the theme of children operate under the motto ‘Theatre for all children’ that was derived from Article 31 of the Convention on the Rights of the Child. However, as social inclusion becomes increasingly important, it has become necessary to re-evaluate exactly who is indicated by the phrase ‘all children’.