Tessenkai Theatre


Kiyotsune, photo Studio Maejima

photo Studio Maejima

Tessenkai Theatre is one of Japan's most acclaimed ensembles of the traditional Noh theatre. Founded in Tokio in 1918, it gave its first official performance in 1925. Since 1955 the ensemble has had its own stage in Aoyama district of the. In the past decades, its repertory has included the majority of the classical Noh dramas. Tessenkai is known especially for its artistic research, including the work on forgotten Noh dramas (such as Motomezuka, Mitsuyama, Tōgan botō) as well as renditions of contemporary pieces (Chieko shō, Takahime: The Hawk Princess). In 1962, Hisao Kanze, the pillar of the group, worked in France together with the famous actor and director Jean Louis Barrault, with whom he established a long-lasting creative friendship. One of the common workshops that the two artists led at the Tokio Tessenkai theatre in 1977 was filmed. Between 1972 and 1973, Tessenkai performed six times in Europe, using the name Zeami-za (Zeami’s Group). Since 1999 Tessenkaihas been hosting a series of lectures and presentations aiming to popularise of Noh theatre. Many of the enterprises undertaken by the Tessenkai artists, including the late younger brother of Hisao Kanze, Hideo Kanze, have served the objective to broaden the artistic horizons, exchanging ideas and bringing various theatrical traditions closer to one another. Tetsunojō IX Kanze continues the work of his father and uncles, leading Tessenkai theatre and working in Japan and abroad.