Between the Stones... from page to stage...


The Between the Stones Project comprises the development of a new English language noh drama - Between the Stones by Jannette Cheong (author) and Richard Emmert (composer), plus a programme of education and outreach activities - 'Getting to Noh' to provide an up-close understanding of noh ‘from page to stage’ 

The Between the Stones Project is in three phases: 

Phase 1 (2018-19): Illustrated talks introducing the art of noh, plus initial readings of the new noh, Between the Stones. Phase 1 Getting to Noh education and outreach events includes both public events and education and outreach activities, including work with the Coventry Young Ambassadors.

Phase 2 (2019): The initial development workshop in London with the creative team focused on development of the piece for staging and was followed by a second reading and additional Getting to Noh education and outreach work at Phase 2 events in London, Coventry, Dublin and Paris.

Phase 3 (27 January - 6 February 2020): The Performance Tour. The live performances will include a han noh (half noh), of the classical noh, Takasago, and the complete new noh - Between the Stones. Plus, more ‘Getting to Noh’ activities, especially our Getting to Noh’ masks programme with Master Mask Maker Hideta Kitazawa.

Project activities will be of interest to those engaged in, or fascinated by, Japanese arts and culture. It will also build new relationships, and share ideas and learning through cultural and educational engagement both inside and outside the world of noh.

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Between the Stones, which includes references to three Japanese cultural icons (noh, karesansui gardens and furin wind chimes), illustrates the transformative power of gardens to both nurture and heal the soul… in its celebration of life and death, friendship, beauty and love...

The three noh-related works by Jannette Cheong have a particular focus on universal themes through her personal stories and reflections. For Pagoda the theme was ‘migration and identity’. For Opposites-InVerse it was repeating patterns of change - looking at three aspects of the concept of ‘opposites’ (opposites in opposition, opposites in attraction and opposites in balance). And for Between the Stones the concepts and themes explored are drawn from her reflections on ‘limits’, and how one finds peace, beauty and love from tragic loss… and the following thoughts:

On grief...

It can be hard to share intense grief. It is something deeply personal, inward facing and debilitating. But such sorrow is universally felt whenever loved ones are lost. Reconciling the only fact that can be predicted about human beings – that they will die – with the process and consequences of death itself, is possibly one of the greatest challenges for/of the living.

On friendship and mentors...

One might say this is about mutual trust and support.. But someone who becomes a lifelong friend and mentor takes that trust and support to the highest level. They are not unearthly, nor are they faultless, but they have an ability to find you when you think you are lost, they can join you on those sections of your life’s journey when you need a companion and when they are no longer on the earth you know that their memory continues with you emotionally, intellectually, metaphysically – and at almost every level you wish to engage. And most probably you would only call them ‘friend and mentor’ when they can no longer hear you… because they would not particularly see themselves in this way… It is not a badge of honour or privilege that we bestow on others - it is an ultimate badge of respect.

On gardens...

The first time the rake was pulled across the gravel I knew this was to be an intense physical activity and quite contrary to the engagement with the overall aesthetic of the finished fully raked garden. But I was to discover that this was just one of the crucial points of engaging in such gardening – or any gardening for that matter. Everyone may appreciate a garden by taking a stroll through it, or admiring its beauty, but gardeners do something else. Gardening is a total physical, creative experience for mind and body, emotions and feelings, creative abilities and talents and also immensely pragmatic and of this earth. And this applies to all gardens whether plant life is plentiful, or (as in karesansui gardens) almost non-existent.