Performing Noh: Talk & Demonstration
Designated as an Intangible Cultural Heritage by UNESCO in 2008, Noh is a major form of Japanese theatre that has been performed in Japan since the 14th century CE. A highly stylised and refined performing art, Noh combines a variety of elements including singing, dancing, musical accompaniment and the use of carved masks and elegant costumes, demanding highly trained actors and musicians.
During this event co-organized with the Shinyo Kaikan Noh Theatre, guests can gain an understanding of the basics of Noh theatre and performance with a talk and demonstration by Wakebayashi Michiharu, a Noh actor from the Kanze School, and his daughter Wakebayashi Kanako, Manager at Shinyo Kaikan Noh Theatre.
The speakers explain the origin and history of Noh and how Noh has been passed down from generation to generation. Revealing insights into the lives of Noh actors, they provide tips on how to watch and enjoy performances, and explain how masks, fans and costumes are used in Noh. The event includes a short demonstration of Noh dance by Wakebayashi Michiharu and an opportunity for audience members to ask questions.
The talk is followed by a separate interactive workshop held for a small group of guests who will receive instruction on singing and movement techniques used in Noh. Find out more about this workshop and book tickets.
About the instructors
Born in Kyoto in 1967, Wakebayashi Michiharu is a Noh actor of the Kanze School. He graduated from the faculty of Music, Tokyo University of the Arts, and trained under his grandfather Yasuzo, his father Koichi and the late Kuroemon Katayama IX (‘Living National Treasure’). He is director of the Kyoto Kanze-kai (Association of the Kanze School) and a part-time lecturer at Toei Gakuen, Kyoto and lecturer at Noh Club of Japan Business Association Tokyo. He organizes his own students' association, Shinyokai, in Kyoto, Tokyo, Osaka and Kobe Sanda and runs regular workshops introducing Noh and related cultures at his family's Noh theatre, the Shinyo Kaikan.
Born in Kyoto in 1997, Wakebayashi Kanako performed Noh as a child actor until she was 12 years old. Since 2019, as a performer, she has belonged to a research group dedicated to shirabyōshi, a type of performance by women from the 12 and 13th centuries. After studying western art history at Kyoto University, she has been engaged in the management of her family’s Noh theatre Shinyo Kaikan, promoting the arts and cultures of Japan. She is currently studying for an MA in arts management at Goldsmiths, University of London.