Presenter Interview プレゼンターインタビュー
Tadashi Suzuki and the Theatre Olympics
Exploring the state of the world through theatre
In 1976, Takashi Suzuki and the Waseda Shogekijo (currently the Suzuki Company of Toga (SCOT)) theater company moved from Tokyo to Toga Village (currently Toga Village, Nanto City) in Toyama prefecture, and now more than 40 years have passed since the move. Originally, it was in the traditional gassho-zukuri (literally “praying hands”) style A-frame thatched-roof farm houses remaining there in the isolated mountain village that triggered theatrical inspiration in Suzuki and his group and led them to convert one into a theater they named Toga Sanbo, and now the area has evolved into an international performing arts base called the Toga Art Park comprising four theaters and training facilities, two outdoor theaters rehearsal studios and a number of residential houses (with lodging capacity for 200). Although the village’s original population of 1,500 has gradually shrunk to less than 500, the area’s annual visiting and exchange population now exceeds 200,000, with people residing from overseas to study theater and attend performance, like last summer’s SCOT Summer Season (two weeks of continuous performances of SCOT productions) that attracted an audience of 7,000 from Japan and abroad to the village.
The 9th Theatre Olympics (to be held in Japan from Aug. 23 to Sept. 23, 2019) is a program organized jointly in Japan and Russia with the Toga Art Park and the National Theatre of Saint Petersburg as the main venues. It goes without saying that Tadashi Suzuki is a world famous theater director known for the Suzuki Method of Actor Training (*) but he is also a creative activist whose achievements in the conception and execution of artist-led programs that include the organizing of Japan’s first international theatre festival (Toga Festival) (1982), followed by the launch of the Theatre Olympics (established 1993) and the Japan-China-Korea BeSeTo Theater Festival (established 1994). In this interview, Suzuki speaks about the significance of Toga Village, the significance of artists working together on theater festivals and his thoughts about the state of the Theater world and the people in it.
Interviewer: Tadashi Uchino