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Kyoto International Performing Arts Festival 2018
Oct. 6 -28

Gisèle Vienne / DACM "CROWD"; Photo by Estelle Hanania

Since its 2010 debut as an annual event, the organizers, program volunteers and artists of Kyoto Experiment, an International Performing Arts Festival, have worked to develop it as a world-class, cross-cultural platform for dance, theater and contemporary art under the directorship of Yusuke Hashimoto.

Now in it's 8th year, the festival is going stronger than ever featuring a wide-ranging lineup of radical artists from Japan and around the world, presenting everything from visual art to architecture. One such event to look out for this year is...

Oct. 6 & 7 / South Hall, ROHM Theatre Kyoto
In addition to its dramaturgical and formal perfection, the work of Gisèle Vienne disturbs and disquiets audiences. Vienne carefully dissects and ascertains the darkness that resides within us all. The stage is a party spontaneously organized by a group of young adults in 21st-century Europe. The music comprises mainly of Detroit techno tracks from the early 1990s. On the other hand, the ''subtexts'' created by Vienne with the writer Dennis Cooper and the 15 dancers are not voiced at all. Their words are rather translated into diverse movements that immerse the audience in a vast number of simultaneous narratives.

Gisèle Vienne
Born in 1976, Gisèle Vienne is a Franco-Austrian artist, choreographer and director. After graduating in Philosophy, she studied puppeteering at the L’Ecole Supérieure Nationale des Arts de la Marionnette. In collaboration with Dennis Cooper, Vienne has choreographed and directed fourteen works which have been presented at institutions such as Volksbühne Berlin and international festivals such as Festival d’Avignon. Following ''This is How You Will Disappear'' in 2010, this marks Vienne's second appearance at Kyoto Experiment; www.g-v.fr/en/

Official Programs

Visual Art
Roberta Lima ''Embodiment of Water''

Exhibit: October 6-21 / Auditorium, Kyoto Art Center /
Performance: October 8, 14, 21 / Adult: Adv. 2,000 yen / Day 2,500 yen

The Wooster Group ''THE TOWN HALL AFFAIR''

October 12, 13, 14 / Kyoto Art Theater Shunjuza / Adult: Adv. 4,000 yen / Day 4,500 yen

Cecilia Bengolea & François Chaignaud ''DUB LOVE''

October 18, 19, 20 / North Hall, ROHM Theatre Kyoto / Adult: Adv. 3,000 yen / Day 3,500 yen

She She Pop ''50 Grades of Shame''

October 24 & 25 / Kyoto Prefectural Citizens’ Hall ALTI / Adult: Adv. 3,500 yen / Day 4,000 yen

And more...
Visit the KYOTO EXPERIMENT website for ticket booking and more information. kyoto-ex.jp/2018/

Meet the “Foreign Locals” in Kyoto
Juliet Knapp

-Public Relations for Kyoto Experiment
-Originally from Hampshire, U.K.
-Arrived in Japan and settled in Kyoto since September 2015

Why did you move to Kyoto?
I moved originally to start working at the studio of Electronic Composer and Visual Artist, Ryoji Ikeda. There I was in charge of PR and communications, as well as managing concerts. I'd previously visited Kyoto a few times before moving and had loved it. There are endless cafes, restaurants and bars to be explored and it's really nice to be able to get everywhere by bike. Plus, if the city gets too much, you can always escape to the surrounding mountains.

What are you looking forward to at this year’s festival?
I'm especially excited about this year's festival line up because it consists entirely of female artists or artists and companies that identify as female. In particular, I'm looking forward to Berlin-based female performance collective She She Pop's 50 Grades of Shame which is inspired by Wedekind’s Spring Awakening and the erotic bestseller novel ''Fifty Shades of Grey''. The performance is a kind of ''picture album'' in which the performers take turns in the roles of teachers and students in a sex education classroom.

In terms of Japanese artists, I really recommend playwright, director and novelist Satoko Ichihara's Favonia's Fruitless Fable. It follows the story of an office lady in her desperate quest for real leather instead of fake leather shoes. Dealing with themes such as consumerism and modernity, it's thought provoking but also comical. It will have English subtitles too!

This year we'll also be having a party on October 5th at FORUM KYOTO for audiences, artists, and anyone who wants to discover or know more about the festival! It's free entry and there will be talks, performances and DJ sets.

What is ''Kyoto Experiment'' and your role?
Kyoto Experiment was founded in 2010 by our current program director. It's the first international performing arts festival in Kyoto and happens every autumn over three weeks, presenting a line up of about twelve artists at different venues around the city. We present contemporary and experimental theatre and dance but also music and visual art.

The festival is big, but our team is small! I've done everything from public relations and production coordination to event management, researching artists for the festival program, applying for grants and taking tickets on the door.

In Kyoto I think the performing arts are very well received. I grew up in the U.K. which has a long history and a kind of pride when it comes to theatre. Of course, there are traditional performing arts in Japan too, but I feel the weight of history doesn't affect the way contemporary theatre work is received as much as it does in the U.K.

Marlene Monteiro Freitas ''BACCHAE - PRELUDE TO A PURGE''; Photo by Filipe Ferreira