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Messages of Hope and Friendship #4

What am I doing? Ichikawa Yojiro
Artistic Director

Due to the measures introduced by the Japanese government in order to prevent the spread of Covid-19, many performances of the show I was directing at the New National Theatre Tokyo in February were cancelled. Subsequently, when I came back to London, many of the cities in Europe started to be locked down. This forced me to cancel several of my theatre projects, including the workshop I was planning to lead in April with the aim of developing ‘Pearl and Dagger’ (the show co-produced with Japan Foundation last year), as well as the production I was supposed to direct in Poland this May. I have been leading a quarantined life at home since then.

However, I have decided to take advantage of this opportunity and, utilising this spare time, I am keeping myself occupied with research for my future productions, taking online courses to develop my skills, and participating in a number of theatre workshops taking place online. Once the order from the government is lifted, I am planning to resume my theatre activities and make use of these new skills I am learning right now.

Yojiro, a graduate of MA Directing at Arts Educational Schools London, has been working internationally in various kinds of theatre including musical, drama and physical theatre. His directing credits include ‘Tell Me On A Sunday’ at the New National Theatre Tokyo, which won a drama award in Japan; ‘Ordinary Days’ both in London and New York; ‘Cutouts: Letter from the Sea’, a devised show for children produced by The Polish Theatre Bydgoszcz; ‘Pearl and Dagger’, a new musical created through the collaboration between the British and Japanese creatives and specially invited by the Other Palace Theatre to hold a staged workshop production, and ‘The Red Candle – Mermaids in the East’ which premiered at the Brunel Museum and was appreciated by Prince Edward, Earl of Wessex. He has also collaborated with many international artists including Thom Southerland in the Japanese productions of ‘TITANIC’ and ‘Grand Hotel’ which were directly transferred from Southwark Playhouse, David Leveaux in ‘Eternal Chikamatsu,’ and Harold Prince and Susan Stroman in the world premiere production of ‘Prince of Broadway’. In 2010 he won a fellowship with the prestigious Overseas Study Programme for Artists that offered him the opportunity to learn about theatres both in London and NY a year each. In the UK, Yojiro participated in projects and workshops at The National Theatre, Young Vic, Complicité, Drama Centre London and Arts Educational Schools London. His work in the US included fellowships at the New York Theatre Workshop and The Play Co. and participation in the Lincoln Center Directors Lab in 2012 and 2013.

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