Noh, one of the oldest continuing stage arts, combines highly stylized dance, chant, music, mask and costume with intense inner concentration and physical discipline, creating a uniquely powerful theatrical experience.
Theatre Nohgaku’s mission is to share noh’s beauty and power with English speaking audiences and performers. We have found that this traditional form retains its dramatic effectiveness in languages other than Japanese. We believe noh techniques hold a powerful means of expression in the context of contemporary English language theatre.
To carry out this mission, we:
Create and perform English language noh, both new works and traditional noh in translation, and occasionally perform traditional noh in Japanese or a combination of Japanese and English.
Promote understanding of the art of noh and provide training in its techniques through lectures, demonstrations, workshops, and residencies.
Provide opportunities for Japanese noh masters to perform and teach with Theatre Nohgaku.
Exploring possibilities for performance across cultural and language boundaries, we seek to create a theatre for the twenty-first century, opening vital new channels for contemporary expression.
Photography on this blog © David Surtasky (unless otherwise noted.)
Content of individual entries © by their respective authors as of the date of posting.
Who are we?
Brief biographies of our company members:
Mariko Anno holds doctoral degrees in flute performance (University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign) and musicology (Tokyo Geijutsu Daigaku) and has studied various aspects of noh in Japan since 2005. She specializes in nohkan.
David Crandall is a composer, playwright, and performer who studied noh chant and dance with noh master Hajime Sano and has worked professionally at the Hosho Noh Theatre in Tokyo. He is a founding member of Theatre Nohgaku.
Elizabeth Dowd is an actor, director, and teacher affiliated with Bloomsburg Theatre Ensemble in Pennsylvania. A co-founder of the Noh Training Project and of Theatre Nohgaku, she has studied Kita-style noh since 1992.
Gulshirin Dubash is a freelance artist who has taught theatre at the University of Michigan, Notre Dame University, and the University of Georgia (Athens), among others. Born in Bombay, India, she has studied noh since 2003.
Richard Emmert has studied, taught, and performed noh in Japan since 1973 and is a certified Kita-school noh instructor. A composer and director, he is a professor at Musashino University in Tokyo and teaches noh throughout the world.
James Ferner lives in Tokyo, where he studies noh chant and dance with Kita school master performer Sadamu Omura. A longtime student of the late Mitsuo Kama, he has recently taught noh drumming at the Noh Training Project in Pennsylvania.
Morit Gaifman holds a degree in musicology from Columbia University and is currently a graduate student of ethnomusicology at UCLA. She studies Arabic nay, Chinese opera (kunqu), and has studied noh since 2003.
Maya Gingery is a dance artist, arts educator, and classically-trained flutist from Los Angeles. She has studied butoh extensively in Japan and studies Kita-style chant, dance, and Isso-style flute with Richard Emmert.
Greg Giovanni is a playwright, producer, director, and performer based in Philadelphia. A recipient of a Pennsylvania Council on the Arts fellowship, he studies Kita-style noh with Richard Emmert and master performer Akira Matsui.
Colleen Lanki is a theatre artist based in Vancouver who spent six years in Tokyo studying Kita-school noh with Richard Emmert and Sadamu Omura. She teaches Japanese classical dance and produces performances with her troupe TomoeArts.
Yoko Layer is an instructor in the Kanze school of noh and studied noh under Umewaka Rokuro, the head of a branch of the Kanze school. She co-founded the Seattle Novyi Theatre Company with her husband Paul.
Joyce S. Lim studies noh chant and dance with Richard Emmert and Kinue Oshima and was a drum student of the late Mitsuo Kama. Her choreography has been presented at venues such as New York’s Dance Theater Workshop.
Naoko Maeshiba is a director, choreographer, and performer who has studied noh with Richard Emmert and Akira Matsui since 2000. She teaches theatre arts at Towson University and is Associate Artistic Director of Tsunami Theatre Company.
Gary Mathews has taught at Berkeley, San Francisco State, North Carolina School of the Arts, and North Carolina State. He began his study of Kita-style noh with Richard Emmert in 2000 and is a founding member of Theatre Nohgaku.
Jubilith Moore is Artistic Director of Theatre of Yugen and has studied noh with Richard Emmert and Akira Matsui of the Kita school, with Shiro Nomura of the Kanze school, and kyogen with Yukio Ishida of the Izumi school.
Tom O’Connor is a director and performer who has created original roles for dance-theatre artists such as Maureen Fleming, John Giffin, and Rick Wamer. He has studied Kita-style noh chant and dance with Richard Emmert and Ryoichi Kano.
John Oglevee is an actor and musician who has studied noh since 1996. A founding member of Theatre Nohgaku with an MFA in Asian Performance from the University of Hawai’i, he has performed extensively in Europe, North America, and Asia.
Kevin Salfen is a musicologist and composer who teaches music history at the University of the Incarnate Word. He has studied noh since 2008 and in 2011 wrote music for Elise Forier-Edie’s Icarus, a noh-influenced theatre piece.
Laura Sampson Laura Sampson is a performer, theatre design agent, and sound engineer from London, UK. Laura graduated from University College London with a first-class degree in Medieval Literature.
Currently the Producing Director of Noh Training Project UK.
Siiri Scott is Head of Acting and Directing in the Department of Film, Television and Theatre at the University of Notre Dame. She is a member of SAG and AFTRA, and one of her films recently played at the National Gallery of Finland.
David Surtasky is a photographer, theatre artist and Director of Production for Indiana University of Pennsylvania’s College of Fine Arts. He has studied noh since 1996. His work has appeared at Philadelphia’s Fringe Festival and Live Arts Festival.
Lluis Valls is Joint Artistic Director and Performer for Theatre of Yugen. Born in Barcelona, Spain, he has performed extensively and has directed and produced several works. He has studied noh and kyogen as well as classical Catalan theatre.