enpaku 早稲田大学演劇博物館


After the year 2000

After the turn of the century, small theatre developed in various ways. The 2000s was notable for many producer-led productions and unit-based productions in which, rather than a large theatre group acting, ad hoc groups of performers were gathered for each play/work.

A notable production in the 2000s was “Sangatsu no Itsukakan” (三月の5日間), produced by Okada Toshiki, the founder of Chelfitsch(チェルフィッチュ). The play shocked audiences with its loose, casual dialogue and movements, and some dubbed it “cho kogo engeki” (hyper-colloquial theatre). The play soon gained acclaim overseas, and Okada now produces many plays on commission from overseas drama festivals.

There were many other notable playwrights from this period. Miura Daisuke founded a theatre company called potudo-ru(ポツドール), which started out in documentary-style plays; Iwai Hideto, who founded hi-bye(ハイバイ); Shiba Yukio, the head of mamagoto(ままごと), collaborated with break-beat unit Kuchiroro(□□□) to produce a rap musical called “Waga Hoshi” (わが星); Fujita Takahiro founded MUM & GYPSY (マームとジプシー), whose productions feature repeated iterations of characteristic settings and phrases; Yanaihara Mikuni developed a form of drama to which he introduced the physicality of contemporary dance; Miura Motoi founded CHITEN(地点), whose performances feature dissimilative speech and physicality. The fact that there are now many international drama festivals based in Japan has likely contributed to the various developments in contemporary Japanese theatre, as it increased the chance for the public to see dramatic arts from around the world.

More recently, dramatic arts have become increasingly based in local communities, which has generated renewed interest in theatre. Examples of locally oriented dramatic enterprises include Setagaya Public Theatre (世田谷パブリックシアター), Shizuoka Performing Arts Centre(静岡県舞台芸術センター), Za-Koenji Public Theatre (座・高円寺) in Suginami-ku, Tokyo, BIRD Theatre Company TOTTORI (鳥の劇場) in Tottori City, and Kirari Fujimi (キラリふじみ) in Fujimi City. Local connections are increased even further by artist-in-residence programmes and educational programmes.

Note: On the panels, as for the order of the name of the Japanese person, their family name is written first, and then their given name.