Commons Forum #2
"Reexamining the Plurality of the World in the Age of Pandemic: From Theater Commons Tokyo ’22 to Theater der Welt ’23"

  • Forum | Lecture
  • Online participation

Chiaki Soma and Kyoko Iwaki were selected as the directors of the Theater der Welt 2023 with a project proposal developing on the theme of the previous Theater Commons Tokyo ’21, “Bodies in Incubation.” The two are now exploring new ethics and methods of curation under the restrictions of the pandemic.
This forum will launch from Tokyo a space for thinking and dialogue that will connect this current edition Theater Commons Tokyo ’22 with the upcoming Theater der Welt 2023. The first part of the forum will feature an online lecture by the Taiwanese media artist Hsu Che-Yu and dramaturg Betty Yi-Chun Chen. They will share expansions on their research inquiries that emerged from their explorations of the relationship between humans and animals. Anna Wagner, co-artistic director of Künstlerhaus Mousonturm, host of the Theater der Welt 2023, will join for the second part, and participants will share their perspectives on the contours and plurality of theater festivals in the age of pandemic.

Panelists | Anna Wagner (Dramaturg, Artistic co-director at the theatre Künstlerhaus Mousonturm), Hsu Che-Yu (Artist), Betty Yi-Chun Chen (Dramaturg, Translator), Chiaki Soma (Director of Theater Commons Tokyo)
Moderator | Kyoko Iwaki (Theatre and Performance Lecturer at University of Antwerp)


Anna Wagner
Anna Wagner is dramaturg and artistic co-director at the theatre Künstlerhaus Mousonturm in Frankfurt/Main (Germany). After studying theater studies Anna worked as assistant curator for dance at the theater Hebbel am Ufer/HAU in Berlin and was head of the dance department at Theater Freiburg. At Künstlerhaus Mousonturm, she works regularly as production dramaturge with artists such as Eisa Jocson, Paula Rosolen and Jetse Batelaan. She is also co-founder of “Tanzfestival Rhein-Main” and has curated or co-curated various international programs like “Indonesia LAB” (2015) and “This Is Not Lebanon” (2021). Interested in expanding the notion of performing arts, she has initiated various special projects like “Oper Offenbach” (2018) and “The Greatest Show on Earth — A Performance-Circus for the 21st Century” (2016).

©️ Jörg Baumann

Hsu Che-Yu
Born in 1985 in Taipei, Hsu is artist who creates animation and film works which focus on the relationship between media and memories. Through these works, he has tried to visualize and structuralize the memories inside individual and communities.
He is now studying in Le Fresnoy – Studio national des arts contemporains, Tourcoing, France (2020–2022). He is a laureate of HISK (Higher Institute for Fine Arts, Belgium) in 2020. Previously, he obtained a master’s degree from the Graduate Institute of Plastic Arts, Tainan National University of the Arts (M.F.A., Taiwan). Also, he was selected as finalist for Hugo Boss Asia Art Award (Rockbund Art Museum, 2019).
His work participated in the 34th Bienal de São Paulo (2021), the 11th Seoul Mediacity Biennale (2021), Sonsbeek20→24 Quadrennial public program (2021), VIDEONALE.18 (2021), Shanghai Biennale (2018), London Design Biennale (2018), Asian Art Biennial (Taiwan, 2018), Bangkok Biennale (2018) and film festivals NYFF (New York Film Festival) (2020), IFFR International Film Festival Rotterdam (2020, 2018).

Betty Yi-Chun Chen
Born in 1983 in Taipei, Betty is a dramaturg and a translator. She studied English literature and theatre in Taipei and Bochum. She has worked intensively with the Taipei Arts Festival since 2012, and was invited as dramaturg for the festival’s new commissions in 2019.
As freelance dramaturg, she has worked with artists and curators from Taiwan, Hong Kong, Singapore and Germany. Her long-term collaborators include Vee Leong, Chan Ping Chiu, Fangas Nayaw, Snow Huang and Yeh Ming-Hwa. She has also facilitated workshops and lectures on documentary theatre practices and dramaturgy. She currently lives and works in Munich, Germany.

Chiaki Soma
Before establishing Arts Commons Tokyo in 2014, Soma was the inaugural Program Director of Festival/Tokyo, where she served from spring 2009 to 2013. She has produced or curated global projects that transect categories of theater, contemporary art, and community-engaged art. She was the recipient of the Chevalier de L’Ordre des Arts et des Lettres from France’s Minister of Culture in 2015. Since 2017, she has served as the Chairperson of the Theater Commons Tokyo Executive Committee, as well as its Director. She was the Curator for the Aichi Triennale 2019. She is the recipient of Japan’s Agency for Cultural Affairs’ 71st Minister of Education, Culture, Sports, Science & Technology’s Art Encouragement Prize in 2021. Since 2021, she has been the General Producer of Toyooka Theater Festival 2021, and the Curator of Aichi Triennale 2022. She was appointed as the Program Director of Theater der Welt 2023 in Germany.

©Yurika Kawano

Kyoko Iwaki
Kyoko Iwaki is a Tenure-tracked Lecturer of Theatre and Performance Studies at University of Antwerp. Her research focuses on Japanese and European theatre of environmental, feminist, and more-than-human philosophies with strong investment in Buddhism. Kyoko obtained a PhD from Goldsmiths, University of London in 2017. After her completion of PhD, she became a Visiting Scholar at The Segal Center, City University of New York. Prior to entering academia, she has worked over a decade as a theatre critic contributing to Asahi Shimbun Newspaper. From 2021, she is an Associate Editor of “Performance Research.” Her contribution to publications includes “A History of Japanese Theatre” (Cambridge University Press), “The Routledge Companion to Butoh Performance” (Routledge), “Okada Toshiki and Japanese Theatre” (Performance Research) among others.


February 27th [Sun] / 16:00–18:30

Performance times

150 min.


Goethe-Institut Tokyo
7-5-56 Akasaka, Minato-ku, Tokyo 107-0052

How to Participate

In-person participation |
Booking essential. Show general admission pass on entry.
Online participation |
Please access the program via the link on the dedicated page sent upon purchase of your pass.

Buy Pass


English (with Japanese interpretation)


Venue support | Goethe-Institut Tokyo