Theater Commons Tokyo ’19 Opening Symposium
“Festivals and Theaters to Come”


For the opening of Theater Commons Tokyo ’19, we will invite participating artists and critics for a symposium that will serve to share with our audience members some of Theater Commons Tokyo’s persisting concerns, as well as develop the ways in which we think about them.
Tokyo in 2019 lies on the verge of a massive national event. While culture-related activities associated with political agendas, urban promotion, and land development are occurring one after another, it becomes increasingly difficult to continue initiatives that have, up to now, been run independently. Would it be possible to bring about a circulation of autonomous creative acts through critical interpretations of the Olympics, which has served as a major model for “festivals” and, originating in ancient Greece, came out of the modern Western world? In this symposium, we will discuss the forms of festivals possible in Tokyo and Asia today, taking into consideration the origins of ceremony and entertainment, as well as the state of spaces for the theatrical arts. We hope to accordingly emerge with a clearer image of the shapes that will be taken by festivals and theaters to come.

* Performance attendance is required for symposium admission

Panelists |
Sankar Venkateswaran (Theater Director)
Reiji Ando (Art Critic)
Akira Takayama (Port B, Theater Director)

Moderator|Chiaki Soma (Director of Theater Commons Tokyo)


Sankar Venkateswaran
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Reiji Ando
Born in Tokyo in 1967, Reiji Ando is an art and literature critic, as well as a professor at Tama Art University and visiting professor at Tokyo University. He graduated from Waseda University’s Literature Faculty 1. In 2002, he was awarded the Art Encouragement Prize for Excellence in Literary Criticism for his book Kamigami no toso-Orikuchi Shinobu-ron (The Gods’ Struggle: An Interpretation of Shinobu Orikuchi). Major works include Minister of Education Award for Fine Arts New Face Prize-selected Kamigami no toso-Orikuchi Shinobu-ron (The Gods’ Struggle: An Interpretation of Shinobu Orikuchi) (Kodansha, 2004); Kenzaburo Oe Prize and Sei Ito Prize-selected Hikari no mandara nippon bungaku-ron(Mandala of Light: Japanese Literary Theory) (ibid, 2008); and Kadokawa Foundation Liberal Arts Prize and Suntory Prize for Social Sciences and Humanities-selected Orikuchi Shinobu (Shinobu Orikuchi) (ibid, 2014). His most recently published work is Daisetsu (ibid, 2018).

Akira Takayama
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Chiaki Soma
Representative Director of NPO Arts Commons Tokyo, Art producer. Chiaki was the first Program Director of Festival/Tokyo, Japan’s leading performing arts festival, from 2009-2013, as well as the first Director of Steep Slope Studio in Yokohama from 2006-2010. She served on the Agency for Cultural Affairs’ Culture Council Cultural Policy Subcommittee from 2012-2015. In 2015, she received the Chevalier de L’Ordre des Arts et des Lettres. Since 2016, she has been a Specially Appointed Associate Professor, College of Contemporary Psychology, Body Expression and Cinematic Arts, Graduate School of Contemporary Psychology of Rikkyo University, Tokyo; since 2017, she has served as the chairperson of the Theater Commons Tokyo Executive Committee, as well as its director. She is also involved in theatrical curation for the 2019 edition of the Aichi Triennale


January 20th [Sun] / 14:00 – 16:00
*Held along with the performance of “Criminal Tribes Act”

Performance times

approx. 120 min.


Libra Hall
1F Minato Park Shibaura, 1-16-1 Shibaura, Minato-ku, Tokyo 105-0023

How to Participate

Booking essential. Show general admission pass on entry.
Buy Pass


Japanese (with English interpretation)


Interpreter|Kanoko Tamura (Art Translators Collective), Kyle Yamada (Allergen Theatre)
Venue support|Minato City

Related program

“Criminal Tribes Act”