Past 'Getting to Noh' Events



In 2009 we undertook a range of Getting to Noh activities which range in parallel to the Pagoda tour involving schools (in association with the Japan Society) and museums and the Japan-UK 150 Festival. At this time we were told by those in the Japanese community in London that there had not been a full performance of noh theatre for 19 years. For this reason we felt it was important to try to add value to the performance tour by including education and outreach activities.

Here is an account of the activities we undertook and comments we received. 

Read about the 'Getting to Noh' education and outreach activities associated with the 2009 Pagoda project in the tour report.

‘It was very good for us here at the V&A to be involved with the whole Noh project and the teacher and schoolchildren workshops held here were extremely popular and all those who attended went away inspired. Having Kitazawa-san here for three days demonstrating his mask-carving skills in the environment of the Japan gallery adjacent to classical robes and masks brought the various arts associated with Noh performance to life for our visitors.’
— Gregory Irvine, Senior Curator, Japan, Asian Department, Victoria & Albert Museum
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“Thank you to you and all your colleagues who made the “Getting to Noh” project such a success. We ...learned so much. I also wanted to say how wonderful we thought both plays were yesterday, we were mesmerised and the performances have left me with memories for a long time to come. The Spirit of Meilin coming from within the Pagoda in such beauty and magical mystery was an absolute highlight of my theatre-going career.”
— Jessica Banks: Head of Drama, Blackheath High School
“I really enjoyed the performances by the pupils. Given the time that some of them had to rehearse, the results were of a very high standard. Similarly, thank you so much for the opportunity to experience professional Noh theatre. It was a rare and fascinating privilege.
— Adrian Deakes: Victoria & Albert Museum 4 December 2009
‘Another extremely successful series of activities with mask-maker Hideta Kitazawa took place at the Pitt Rivers Museum, University of Oxford. Children watched the carving of noh masks before making their own contemporary noh-style masks from paper and other materials along with staff and volunteers from the Museum education department on day one; over 900 hundred visitors were able to watch Hideta Kitazawa working in the galleries, and 78 children and 80 adults participated in the ‘Family Friendly’ workshop. On day two a further mask-making demonstration and informal introductions to noh masks were made to over 700 gallery visitors in the Museum over a four-hour period...
— Julia Nicholson, Joint Head of Collections, Pitt Rivers Museum


In 2011 we undertook the Asia Pagoda tour. This was a particularly significant, but rewarding challenge to take an English language noh to Japan (opening at the National Noh Theatre in Tokyo) and then touring to Kyoto (Kongoh Noh Theatre), Beijing (National Centre for the Performing Arts) and finally to Hong Kong (Hong Kong Academy for the Performing Arts). The tour took in two other festivals - the 2011 Beijing World Theatre Festival and the 2011 Hong Kong International Arts Carnival for children. 

Once again there was a good response to the education and outreach activities that we were able to achieve as part of the tour. 

Read about the 'Getting to Noh' education and outreach activities associated with the 2011 Pagoda tour in the tour report.

Hideta Kitazawa giving a lecture demonstration to a young public audience in Beijing at the Beijing World Theatre Festival in 2011.

Hideta Kitazawa giving a lecture demonstration to a young public audience in Beijing at the Beijing World Theatre Festival in 2011.


In 2017, working with the Japan Foundation, London, we were able to bring Hideta Kitazawa, our mask maker, back to the UK and this time to include Ireland. Kitazawa-san has had wonderful feedback for all of the activities in which he has engaged as part of our Getting to Noh activities since the first 2009 tour when he appeared in the V&A Museum, Pitt Rivers Museum, and at the Japan Foundation. In 2017 he was able to revisit the Pitt Rivers Museum and also undertake major demonstration lectures at Foyles Bookshop, the Oriental Museum, Durham University and work with students on projects in Dublin and London (East 15 Acting School, BA World Performance). His masks are now also held in the permanent collections of both the Pitt Rivers Museum, Oxford, and the Oriental Museum, Durham. 

Read about Kitazawa-san's achievements as part of the 'Noh time like the present... Tribute to Akira Matsui' programme in the 2017 project report.

It is our hope that he will, once again, be able to join us in 2020. This would be certain to please his now substantial followers!

Hideta Kitazawa Mask Maker 'Extraordinaire'

Hideta Kitazawa, transforms a solid block of 'Hinoki' - Japanese Cypress - into a beautiful noh mask.... You can follow each stage of the carving process from the Pitt Rivers Education Team's Blogs 'Carving a Noh Mask', or on this website on Hideta Kitazawa's page, and see Kitazawa san at work in a short film 'Japanese Master Carver, Hideta Kitazawa, at the Pitt Rivers', February 2017.

Hideta Kitazawa's 2017 Tour Schedule was organised in association with the Japan Foundation. 

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