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International programs accent Kijimuna Festa

Date Posted: 2009-07-30

The Kijimuna Festa, the International Festival Okinawa for Young Audiences kicks off its nine-day run Saturday in Okinawa City. It’s large and magnificent, offering more than 115 distinctly different programs for visitors over the nine days.

International Festival Okinawa for Young Audiences 2009 is a cultural gold mine for youngsters. Sponsored by everyone from Okinawa City to Okinawa Prefecture, with Ashibina Independents Project Executive Committee, the Art Community Organization Okinawa, NPO Okinawa Art Culture Advancement Association, Okinawa Convention and Visitor Bureau, Okinawa Times and Ryukyu Broadcasting Company, it’s extremely well organized.

The festival gets under way tomorrow, mixing, blending and combining a variety of symposiums, workshops and programs. A dozen domestic performance programs are scheduled, with everything from opera to puppets and ventriloquists, comedians and drama. Three children’s stage performances are set, all musicals with dance, and there are also storytelling and comedy shows.

Events take place in various Okinawa City venues, including the Okinawa City Civic Center, Okinawa City Central Community Hall (Chuo Kominkan), Okinawa Prefecture Japan Center for Local Community, Ashibina, Okinawa City Budokan, Korinza and the Okinawa City Youth Center.

International symposiums include Appreciation of Drama Education August 2nd at 10 a.m. at Chuo Kominkan B1 Lecture Room, a discussion of a theatre production for infants, babies and little children August 3rd at 5 p.m., the Possibility of Art toward Child Abuse and domestic Violence on August 4th at 5 pm., Problems of staging Asian Theatre Festivals on August 5th at 5 p.m., and the Potential of Juvenile Theatre for Building World Peace on August 6th at 5 p.m.

Drama and other theatrical performances start with a Japan entry on August 1st at p.m. in Ashibina, a motion picture written by Minoru Betsuyaku, a leading figure of theater of the absurd. A Japan-Okinawa entry is showing August 2nd at 3 p.m. and 5 p.m., with Theater Company Unicoco of Japan performing August 3rd at 3 p.m. and 7 p.m. Puppet Theater Hitomi-za stages a performance on August 6th at 1 p.m. and 5 p.m., while Theater Incline and The Kio Company perform August 8th at 3 p.m., and on August 9th at 1 p.m. and 5 p.m.

Hannah and Hanna, a pair of 16-year-olds from England and Kosovo will be challenged by well-known twin actresses Maria and Maria on August 6th during a drama reading introducing a new European play for young people. The Working women’s workshop event will be at 3 p.m. and 7 p.m., and again on the 7th at 3 p.m. at the ITI Japanese Centre. Another August 6th drama reading will be at 5 p.m., as Nightblind debuts. The play written by a young Swiss playwright living in Berlin tells the tale of a woman, Leyla, and her life on the verge of collapse. One other drama, A Ridiculous Woman, plays on August 7th at 7 p.m.

Credo Theater from Bulgaria will present a masterpiece from the 2006 Kijimuna Festa, the story of two people who were robbed of their coats by a ghost. The dram plays at 3 p.m. and 7 p.m. on August 6th. Among Special Programs at the Kijimuna Festa are the Silent Comedy Show at the Okinawa City Civic Center on August 7th at 7 p.m. and August 8th at 5 p.m., and Shinosuke Rakugo with his own views as he breathes a bit of fresh air into both traditional and modern Rakugo. His performances at Ashibina are August 8th at 7 p.m. and August 9th at 3 p.m.

Workshops at Kijimuna include Nobinobi Art workshop with Puppet Theater Hitomiza on August 4th at 10 a.m. at Koza, A Musical Theater Workshop at the Okianwa City Youth Center August 6th ~ 8th at 10 a.m. explores body expression and musical theater works. A Creative Workshop of Invisible Ship, which permits individuals from the audience to join the performance, takes place at Korinza August 1st ~ 5th at 1 a.m. and 1 p.m. A popular French ballet workshop will run August 1st ~ 5th at the Okinawa City Budokan, with four daily experiences at 9:30 a.m., 11:15 a.m., 2 p.m. and 3:45 p.m.

Another Dance Workshop August 6th ~ 9th features American Alan Danielson, a professional School Director teaching and directing classes at the Limon Institute since 1991. His company, Dance by Alan Danielson, has performed throughout the North and South America and Europe, and his choreography has been commissioned by many professional and student companies.
He is an internationally acclaimed Master Teacher of Dance and Music, and has been on faculty at New York University and the Alvin Ailey American Dance Center.

A Matter of Course workshop for middle school and high school students takes place at Okinawa City Youth Center on August 6th. Special ¥1,000 tickets are required for this workshop. A Workshop of Improkinawa focuses on imagination and creativity during two sessions on August 1st and 2nd, 1 p.m. ~ 4 p.m. at the Koza Box, second floor Kiboukan.

Tickets for performances range from ¥2,000~ 3,500 for adult advance tickets, to ¥2,300~4,000 on the day of the performance. Kids under 18 tickets are ¥1,500 advance and ¥1,800 on the day of the performance. The festival’s Kijimuna Club is accepting new members. Call 098-921-2100 for details. Kijima Club members get discounts on performance tickets.

Okinawa City’s Mayor, Mitsuko Toumon, is proud of the Kijimuna festival, now in its third year. “We strive to promote good business and community environment,” she says, “but we think the most significant thing is to nurture individuals who understand the pain, weakness and life challenge of others.” She praises the four dozen programs from more than a dozen countries who are joining in, noting “outstanding performing arts can have a great impression on our youth.

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