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Chelfitsch expands its activities in Asia

Arts Council Tokyo Grant Program: Activity Report of Long Term Grant-Session 7

Since 2013, Arts Council Tokyo has been running a Long Term Grant program providing up to three years of support for long-term artistic projects. For the seventh activity report talk session by Long Term Grant recipients whose grant period has come to an end, we welcome as speakers chelfitsch founder and leader Toshiki Okada and producer Tamiko Ouki.
Chelfisch used its three-year Long Term Grant from 2016 to build peer relationships with artists in Asia, and explore a mode of collaboration that wouldn’t end with a one-off production (One of the results of this, a collaborative work in Thailand called“Pratthana – A Portrait of Possession,”is being staged at Tokyo Metropolitan theatre from 6/27 – 7/7).

Prior to this, chelfitsch had conducted numerous overseas tours and collaborative projects in Europe and other regions. For this talk session we hear why the troupe became interested in working in Asia, and how the grant was used. Our guests look back on three years of activity and discuss the outcomes, the challenges for the future, and the prospects that emerged.
We look forward to the attendance of artists/writers aiming to expand internationally as well as anyone interested in the activities of theater companies, organizations interested in the Long Term Grant program, etc.

Outline of activities under grant

Activities: chelfitsch Theater Company “International collaboration project in Asia”
(2016 selected project: 3 years)

Chelfitsch already had an established history of work overseas in Europe and the US; this project was designed to open up creative possibilities in Asia including international collaboration. The group began by exploring all kinds of resources, such as which countries were feasible to work in, and searching for artists and counterparts to collaborate with. One of the results of this was a collaborative work in Thailand,“Pratthana – A Portrait of Possession.”

Year 1
Establishing counterparts by meeting with producers and artists from various countries. The main activity was the staging of a novel by Thai author, Uthis Haemamool. Okada’s work was introduced in Thailand through a stage performance of “Super Premium Soft Double Vanilla Rich.”
Year 2
Auditions for actors in Thailand. Writing and technical planning by Okada
Performance of a reworking of“Five Days in March” in China
Continued research into counterparts in Asia
Year 3
Thai premiere of “Pratthana – A Portrait of Possession”
Documenting of reviews and critiques

chelfitsch Theater Company
chelfitsch Theater Company was founded in 1997 by Toshiki Okada, who writes and directs all of the company’s productions. Acclaimed for its unique techniques using the relationship between language and body, chelfitsch garners attention at home and abroad as a leading contemporary theater company. Its leisurely yet boisterous physicality with both exaggerated and understated everyday gestures has sometimes been considered dance-like. Since making its first overseas foray with “Five Days in March” in 2007 at Brussels’ Kunstenfestivaldesarts, dubbed the most important festival in the European performing arts world, the company has performed in a total of 70 cities in Asia, Europe and North America. In recent years, international collaborations with the world’s leading festivals and theaters have resulted in performances of “Current Location” (2012), “Ground and Floor” (2013), “Super Premium Soft Double Vanilla Rich”(2014), “Time’s Journey Through a Room” (2016) and a reworking of “Five Days in March”(2017). While always updating its methodology revolving around the relationship between speech and body, chelfitsch explores forms of expression that are not bound by existing theatrical techniques. In 2018 the company produced and presented “Beach, Eyelids, and Curtains: Chelfitsch’s Eizo-Theater”at the Contemporary Art Museum, Kumamoto, an attempt to use projected video images (the “video theater” technique) to transform exhibition space into theatrical space.


19:00 Introduction to Long Term Grant program and activities under grant
Part 1
Introduction and evaluation/analysis of activities under project (presentation by chelfitsch)
Circumstances, reasons and motives leading to activities
Activity outline (Activity flow over 3 years, activities worked on in each year)
Changes etc. that occurred during the course of the project
Part 2
In-depth review (interview format)
What was achieved through the Long Term Grant, outcomes and issues experienced
The rewards, schemes and difficulties unique to long-term projects
Vision for activities going forward, what kind of support is expected, etc.
Q&A session
21:00 End

Speakers (presenters)
Toshiki Okada (director, novelist, leader/founder of chelfitsch)
Tamiko Ouki (chelfitsch producer)
Satoko Ishitoya (Senior Program Officer, Arts Council Tokyo)

Speaker profile

Toshiki Okada
Playwright, novelist, leader/founder of chelfitsch. Born in 1973 in Yokohama, lives in Kumamoto. In 2005, “Five Days in March” was the winner of the 49th Kishida Drama Award. The year 2007 saw the publication of his book “The End of the Special Time We Were Allowed”(Shinchosha), which garnered the Ōe Kenzaburō Prize in 2008. Since 2012, he has been a judge for the Kishida Prize for Drama. Kawade Shobo Shinsha published Okada’s dramatic theory work, “Sokō” (“Going Upstream”) in 2013 and the play “Current Location”in 2014. Since 2016 he has directed works in a repertory program over four consecutive seasons at the Munich Kammerspiele.

Tamiko Ouki
Producer, born in Tokyo in 1982.She joined precog co, ltd. in 2008. Since 2011, she has participated in numerous chelfitsch tours overseas in places like Europe, Asia and the Americas, and has since worked on creative and international development projects for Toshiki Okada.





How to reserve

Please contact to forum-grant@artscouncil-tokyo.jp
Including mentions of: Your name, organization, occupation, number of people attending, contact phone number, and E-mail.

Deadline of reservation
Monday, June 3 2019 17:00
*Presentations on the day will be accompanied by sign language interpreting. Those who require a braille version of presentation materials should apply by 17:00 on Thursday, May 29.
*Your personal information will be handled as strictly confidential, and used only to operate this event and to send you information from the organizer about this event.


Planning & Grants Division, Planning Department, Arts Council Tokyo
TEL: 03-6256-8431 (10:00-18:00 excluding weekends and holidays)
E-mail: forum-grant@artscouncil-tokyo.jp


Arts Council Tokyo (Kudan First Place 8F, 4-1-28, Kudankita, Chiyoda-ku, Tokyo)



Organized by
Arts Council Tokyo (Tokyo Metropolitan Foundation for History and Culture)