2019 Phase 2: Development Workshop & Getting to Noh Activities

1-11 February 2019

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Teruhisa & Kinue Oshima and Richard Emmert

Performance presentation at the Embassy of Japan London. 6 February 2019. Photograph by Clive Barda

We have now completed the development workshop in London, as well as a range of education and outreach activities in London, Coventry, Dublin and Paris. Most of these took place within the period from 1-11 February, with the addition of a ‘Getting to Noh’ talk at the Birmingham Botanical Gardens for the Japanese Garden Society and members of the public. You can read comments in other related news updates below.

The Development workshop was a wonderful opportunity for Teruhisa and Kinue Oshima, Richard Emmert and Jannette Cheong to work together for four days on the new ‘Between the Stones’ noh. The creative team discussed character focus, choreography, music, mask, costumes and essential props and accessories and how these could be developed to enhance the central essence of the piece.

This was an exciting phase of the project for Jannette and Rick especially, as this aspect of the development is the direct result of having the opportunity to discuss the work with Teruhisa and Kinue Oshima and to include their thoughts and ideas on how they see the work developing for stage. So a very big thank you to everyone concerned in undertaking this work so earnestly.

We are pleased to be able to say that we completed all the activities as planned for the visit and the whole team was delighted to receive such positive feedback from each of the additional events undertaken. We would like to thank everyone for their interest and support! The audiences were wonderful and their positive interest has been very much appreciated and extremely encouraging.

Since the team returned to Tokyo Jannette has continued working on the piece with Rick, as he continues to work on the music composition. Each time Jannette undertakes a new talk to share the ‘page to stage’ experience of creating a new noh she has shared how the piece has been shaped by the development process and this will continue at future talks.

These Phase 2 activities have been possible because of the wonderful support of a number of individuals and organisations. In the UK these included:

  • The Embassy of Japan London, Great Britain Sasakawa Foundation, the Japan Society, Mitsubishi Electric Europe, London Digital Print (Ian Greaterex and Chris Rowe), the British Library, (especially Hamish Todd, Head of East Asian Collections and Jean-Philippe Calvin, Corporate Affairs). The British Library has supported both Phase 1 & 2 and have now also expressed a strong interest in education and outreach activities for Phase 3.

  • The support of other individuals such as Simon Callow, Graham Marchant, Henrietta Heald, Clive Barda and Paul and Clementine Laikin has also been very important to the delivery of the project before and during Phase 2.

Our sincere thanks to these collaborating partners, as well as all of the education partners, especially David Hughes, Ramiro Silveira, Margaret Coldiron and Kenneth Rea and their wonderful students; and to the amazing staff and pupils in Coventry with whom Kinue, Richard and Jannette spent time with on 7 February 2019 to help them begin their second (of three) ‘peace’ projects! We were delighted that the results of the first project, the children’s peace poem tanzakus, could also be exhibited at the Japanese Embassy during our Between the Stones event to highlight the collaboration between the 180 Coventry Young Ambassadors from five Coventry Primary Schools, the Japan Society and the Between the Stones Project Team!

Dear Jannette

Thank you so much for all your hard work involving us in the Noh project and for giving us such fantastic opportunities.
Firstly on behalf of myself and all the schools, thank you very much for inviting us to the Embassy event. It was a great honour to attend and we were thrilled at how interested everyone was in our peace poems.

Secondly, many, many thanks to you, Kinue and Richard for coming up to Coventry especially when you had such a busy schedule. The workshop with the pupils was absolutely fantastic. I had been curious to see the children’s reaction to Noh and they were completely mesmerised. It was something so different to anything they have experienced before. I think that they will always remember the experience. In our busy lives as educators we sometimes need to stand back and let the children experience something totally different.

We are very excited about the next phase of our project and are meeting in a couple of weeks to plan how we are going to develop the travel songs. I’ll keep you informed of our plans. I’ll also start working with Afton on the gardens project so that it is ready for the summer.

Please pass on our sincere and heartfelt thanks to the Oshima family and Richard.
— Rebecca Bollands, Deputy Head Teacher, Howes Primary School

Coventry Young Ambassadors’ 180 wind chimes and their peace poem tanzaku which were first exhibited at Coventry Cathedral on Armistice Day 2018, and then displayed at the Japanese Embassy on 6 February 2019 for the Between the Stones Phase 2 Presentation Event.


Kinue Oshima and Richard Emmert giving a performance workshop to 180 Coventry Young Ambassadors on 7 February 2019 in preparation for their second ‘peace’ project.