Life can be strange.
This time last week I'd nipped home to have lunch with my baby daughter, before heading over to Newport to see Tin Shed's new space in an old MFI. This Monday I'm on a train to London as the first leg of my Journey to Tokyo.
My only previous experience of Tokyo was a brief stopover in Narita airport on the way to Auckland. On that occasion we had been supposed to be going via Brunei, but a cancellation and dash round Heathrow trying to get seats on a pre Christmas flight had left us with an 8 hour wait in frustratingly close to Tokyo. I bought what I thought were calamari, but turned out to be onion rings - not an auspicious first trip. This time it's going to be very different....
Japan has always been on my 'go to' list - with it's beautiful No & Kabuki Theatre's, Bunraku puppets, and in more contemporary practice the work of Tadashi Suzuki was a big influence on me. In fact I spent a couple of years doing weekly Suzuki training under various teachers - including Ichiro Nakayama - who played the title role in Suzuki's Lear. But all that is in the past - why am I going to Japan?
This is a question I've been asked quite a few times recently. So here's a brief explanation. At NTW I look after WalesLab, our artist development initiative, which support new voices and exciting ideas. Part of our funding for this project involves giving opportunities for Welsh artists to work in new contexts and for international artists to come and work in Wales. So this is what I'm mainly working on in Japan.
I'll be giving a talk at Dance Box in Kobe next week, and one in Tokyo, visiting venues in Osaka, Yokahama & Kyoto, and hopefully meeting some really exciting artists and seeing some of their work. The main thrust of this is to offer a couple of artists the opportunity to come and make something in a Welsh context, to be inspired by what's happening here and to inspire us with their ways of working.
The opportunity for makers not attached to large institutions to travel internationally with their work is rare, so I'm aware how lucky I am to be going, and how much of an opportunity it would be for the artists to come here. I'm also aware that many of you would like similar opportunities - and to that I say we're working on it...
If you know someone I should meet or see the work of in Japan, please do get in touch; all leads gratefully received.
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