enpaku 早稲田大学演劇博物館


Children and the Local Community

  Theatrical productions on the theme of children in their local communities take on a wide variety of forms. In addition to those that are created and staged by professional actors and actresses for audiences of children, there are also plays that are performed for audiences of children by members of groups (non-professional actors and actresses) for the purpose of informing and educating children, the youth theatre (plays in which children perform on stage under the direction of professional performers and theatre experts), and theatre classes and workshops for children. These activities and performances take place in a wide variety of locations. While schools and theatres form the majority, other locations include after-school clubs, community centres, shopping districts, and many other locations in local communities.
  After the advent of the 21st century, the Basic Act for the Promotion of Culture and the Arts (originally, the Basic Act for Culture and the Arts) and the Act on the Vitalization of Theaters and Halls went into effect, and as a result, a wider variety of groups added plays on the theme of children as part of their main programmes. These groups prepared and presented highly developed theatrical programmes for children. Some examples include school-outreach programmes implemented by the Public Hall Theatrical Network Project (started in 2008), which was managed by the general incorporated foundation known as Chiiki Sozo (Japan Foundation for Regional Art Activities); educational dispersion programmes for children at public theatres such as the Za-Koenji Theatre’s Ashita-no-Gekijo (started in 2009); and the ‘Enpaku★Children’s Theatre Class’, which is run by the Tsubouchi Memorial Theatre Museum of Waseda University.
  Among the groups, theatre companies, and theatres that produce plays on the theme of children are those that have been continuously engaged in activities and programmes related to children for some time. Examples include the appreciation activity at Kodomo Gekijo (Theatre for Children, started in 1966); the Theatre Course for Young People of Amagasaki Youth Creative Theater of Hyogo Prefecture ‘Piccolo Theatre’ (started in 1979; currently managed by the Heisei Committee for Education in the Dramatic Arts); the Setagaya Public Theatre’s Dramatic Arts Workshop for Young People (started in 1999); ASIAS (started in 2000) of the APA Association for the Promotion of the Performing Arts (currently known as NPO Children meets Artists); and the dramatic series ‘Clipped Wings’ (started in 1994), which has been created by lawyers of the Association and guest children.
  Theatrical activities in local communities are not limited to professional productions, but also include plays created and viewed by all sorts of people. One of the charms of such productions is that, through participation in them, relationships are built among children and between children and adults, which in turn leads to a strengthening of community ties. Our exhibition displays theatre productions on the theme of children that reflect the diversity of local communities. These include the Kodomo Gekijo, the Public Theatre, the NPO ‘Art’, the Bar Association, and other groups that have programmes in dramatic arts activities and programmes for children.