Thoughts on IFTR 2013

20130730-114826.jpgBack from the IFTR 2013 conference at the Institut del Teatre in Barcelona. Spanish organisers Boris Daussà-Pastor and Mercè Saumell did a terrific job coordinating what has been the biggest IFTR ever, with more than 800 participants (!), distinguished keynote speakers and thought-inspiring presentations. Japanese theatre was present in various working groups, not only in the Asian Theatre working group, coordinated by Mōri Mitsuya and Nagata Yasushi, but also in Dance, Theatre and Religion, Theatre Historiography, and others. I particularly appreciated Tsutsumi Harue (Seijo University) on ‘The Production of Hyōryū kitan Seiyō kabuki (The Wanderer’s Strange Story: a Western Kabuki) (1879) and the Journey of Iwakura Embassy (1871-1873) and Hiranoi Chieko (Hosei University) on the ‘History of Local Amateur Kabuki, Ji-shibai, the latter being particularly pertinent to my current work on Noh amateurs. Noh theatre, as expected, only had one representative – myself. My presentation was on the ethical dilemma of a Noh scholar-practitioner who is divided between the loyalty to a teacher and the ethos it represents, and the need for freedom to formulate and express criticism.

The lack of Noh at IFTR cannot but point to the need of a more international (intercultural?) and interdisciplinary approach to Noh in the wider context of theatre and performance studies. We ‘new generation of Noh scholars’ should join forces and open up the knowledge of Noh qua performance, not only as study material for translators and historians.

IFTR New Scholars’ Prize

iftrI am happy to announce that I was selected as a winner of the IFTR International Federation for Theatre Research New Scholars’ Prize 2012-2013 for my essay “Ezra Pound and the Politics of Noh Films”, which I hope to publish soon. I will receive the prize on the occasion of the IFTR annual conference in Barcelona 21-26 July 2013, which I look forward to attend.

This is one of those situations where an academic who also blogs about academic topics would like to reveal more about his work but cannot because he has to wait for the actual paper to be out there lest his stuff is illegitimately taken by some ill-intentioned guy (it happens all the time). See Travis Seifman’s thoughts on academic posting online. Anyway I am very excited about receiving the prize, and I can’t wait to publish the article!

See you guys in Barcelona!


IFTR Conference 2011 Osaka

This year I will be speaking at the International Federation for Theatre Research (IFTR) conference in Osaka 7-12 August 2011. IFTR is one of the biggest international theatre conferences and I am looking forward to participate for the first time, and to do it in Japan. I am particularly excited about the discussions that will develop from the encounter of Western scholars belonging to Anglo-Saxon academia and Japanese scholars, which I think are worlds apart when it comes to background and methodology. This year’s theme is ‘Tradition, Innovation, Community’ and I will be talking within a panel with Prof. David Wiles, theatre historian, my supervisor at Royal Holloway University of London, and Janne Risum from Aarhus University, Copenhagen. Our panel will focus on the inter-relation of aesthetics and ethics in intercultural context and my paper will specifically look at ethics and politics in Ezra Pound’s reception of Noh theatre. I have done quite a lot of work on Pound and for my PhD and I am really looking forward to present it to the IFTR audience. Hope to see you guys soon in Osaka!