On Wednesday May 21st 2014 at 18:00 I will present my current research in an event part of the Kyoto Lectures series, organised by the ISEAS/EFEO. The lecture will be held at the Institute for Research in Humanities (IRH), Kyoto University (seminar room 1, 1st floor). Free entry, booking not required.
Beyond the Black and White: Amateurs and Professionals in the World of Noh Theatre
Amateur practitioners have constituted the economic and social foundation of the Noh theatre establishment since the Meiji restoration, when teaching to private students became the principal source of income of most Noh professionals. However, while the number of Noh amateurs witnessed an increase during the post-war leisure boom period, partially due to the attempt to popularise Noh among the middle-class, in recent times the amateur population has suffered severe decline. Simultaneously, the average age of the audience has increased considerably, impacting on the economic conditions and on the artistic welfare of professionals. Today, Noh amateurs are artistically marginalised by a hierarchical social environment that foregrounds performers belonging to families where the art is transmitted from father to son: amateurs are expected to fullfill the duty to support their teachers financially and socially, in a one-way relationship that excludes outsiders from contributing to the aesthetic development of the art. Drawing from historical research and extensive fieldwork, this talk examines the complex, mutually dependent relationship between amateurs and professionals, sketching trajectories of solution that reconsider the role of amateurs in the world of Noh.