The Yokohama Theatre Group makes contemporary theatre. We are a rotating group of international artists, from within Japan and without, led by Artistic Director Andrew Woolner.
Originally founded in 1900 as a theatre club, in 2007 we started down the contemporary theatre road. First, we re-imagined older works like Shakespeare’s Richard III and John Gay’s The Beggar’s Opera before our breakthrough piece, a bilingual version of Molière’s Tartuffe set in a Japanese train station in 1940. In that show, the performers created characters and relationships in an external story which then informed the classic Tartuffe characters in the scripted portion of the show. This approach proved so successful and artistically interesting that since then, we’ve focused on original works.
These works include the space-based poem/play 39, our show about the sex industry in Yokohama By the Hour, and our collaboration with tarinainanika Touch Me Not. We’ve also created works that draw on myths, histories, and legends from Japan and around the world. For instance, the Heikei Monogatari-inspired Kikai-ga-shima, our site-specific The House Show II: Haunted, and our post-apocalyptic kids’ show The Outliers: Campfire Stories of the Future. What all our works have in common is that they are influenced by the creators’ experiences of being strangers in a strange land.
Other recurring themes include theatricality vs the real: what makes something a performance as opposed to "real"? What effect does moving a show out of a theatre have on the expectations of the performers and the audience, for instance? How many layers of storytelling can we have within a single piece? We also like to explore the boundaries of willing vs unwilling suspension of disbelief.
We also occasionally produce work by other international artists.
Our focus on the moment is to continue to develop not only new works, but new processes by which to create new works. We are also actively seeking international collaborations.
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