Home Culture Youth Theater Northwest Invites Kamishibai Artists for its Japanese Infused Production

Youth Theater Northwest Invites Kamishibai Artists for its Japanese Infused Production

Kamishibai narrater Tatsuo (left) and visual artist Taka (right) are visiting Seattle In January

Youth Theatre Northwest (YTN) is creating a Japanese infused production of Through the Looking Glass and What Alice Found There based on the book by Lewis Carroll.  Directed by YTN’s Artistic Producer Mimi Katano, this production invites two Kamishibai Artists from Japan – Tatsuo Kawakami and Takamitsu Terukina in February 2018. Tatsuo is a story teller and Taka is visual artist from the Margureite Family Troupe in Japan that performs Kamishibai in Japan. The word “Kami” is paper, and “Shibai” is theatre in Japanese.

Kamishibai is a form of traditional street theatre and storytelling that is told by a Kamishibaiya (Kamishibai narrator) who travels to street corners with sets of illustrated boards (the paper) that he or she placed in a miniature stage-like device and narrates the story by changing each image. “It is kind of dying art now in Japan, but there are still some Kamishibai artists to go around entertaining families,” explains Producer Katano. Tatsuo claims himself being the only full-time professional Kamishibaiya in Japan today.

Tatsuo and Taka will be in residence at YTN for the conservatory portion of the production and with them, students will create their own Kamishibai stories that are based on Through The Looking Glass. Once rehearsals begin in March, students will utilize the skills and knowledge taught by Tatsu and Taka and add them to the production.

The production is currently looking for performing students from age 12 to 18 year old with Japanese and/or Asian background. Students must audition to be in the program. Auditions will held be on Sunday, November 12th from 1:00-2:00 at the Emmanuel Church Campus on Mercer Island. Rehearsals will be held from March to May, and performance will be in May 2018.  Special workshop with Tatsuo & Taka on Sundays in February 2018 (1-5 pm) will be open to public for free.  Tatsuo and Taka will be also available for off-site tour visiting schools and libraries in the Seattle area. For more information, contact mimi@youththeatre.org or (206) 232-4145 ext. 102.