Minutes: The 1st Meeting of Working Committee on International Exchange

【Minutes】ON-PAM–The 1st meeting of Working Committee on International Exchange

□Date/Time: April 8, 2013 (Mon)/From 1pm to 4pm
□Place: ArtTheater dB Kobe (Nagata Ward, Kobe City, Hyogo Prefecture)
□MC: Kei Saito (BIRD Theatre Company TOTTORI/Board member of ON-PAM/Chairperson of International Exchange Committee)
□Attendants: About 18 members (*the official members will be determined after April 20th)
□Handouts: 1 set each of “Activity Plan of International Exchange Committee” and “Open Network for Performing Arts Management Constitution”

■Aim: About “Activity Plan of Working Committee on International Exchange” and “Committee Rules” and discussion about the management of the committee.

1. Greetings by the Chairperson
Chairperson: Kei Saito (BIRD Theatre Company TOTTORI/Board member of ON-PAM)

・  About founding of ON-PAM/ introducing the attended directors/ explaining handouts and schedule.
2. Introduction to “Activity Plan of Working Committee on International Exchange” (Saito)

Kei Saito: Basically, we would like to work with the ideas from members of the committee. We made an activity plan to make clear based on the previous discussion, but it is not limited to this. The ideas from 1 to 4 on the handouts points out what International Exchange Committee could do or have to do and what we are expected to do.

1) Pick up problems that participating members are facing in their job and solve the problem within the network. This will be the basis of the committee.
2) An individual can participate in ON-PAM. One of the aims of ON-PAM is to develop individual’s “mobility”, where individual is able to work freely with the overseas in the future.
3) Because ON-PAM is “open network”, the group should be borderless—this is not an issue limited only to Working Committee on International Exchange, but ON-PAM as a whole.
4) Create sub-network and research group, or host a workshop within the committee and work on problems.


3. Introducing committee members and case studies (about problem consciousness, assignments, and etc.)
Morihisa: Management support staff of Theater KASSAI (Ikebukuro, Tokyo), producer, actor,
and stage creator of TANGRAM.  No case study concerning international exchange.

Nishiyama: There are few English-speaking technical crews in Japan. Is there any system or organization where technical crews are able to learn English?
Morihisa: Nothing. Is there a need?
Kei Saito: There are few English-speaking directors, who are able to support overseas or invitation performances. Professional interpreter is needed.

Tomita: Producer of dog rights. Dealt with copyrights concerning the intellectual property. I have started working on this since the artist of my acquaintance consulted me about doing a performance in China. Since I am not a lawyer, I cannot handle it when there is a problem.

Hashimoto: Introduction to “KYOTO EXPERIMENT”, one of international performing arts festival in Kyoto, Japan.

<Festival as the “Hub”> The problem consciousness of regional artists is that they believe they have to go through Tokyo to go overseas. I believe that artists from every region can directly make a connection with overseas. The problem is that ticket earing cannot cover the fee of entire performance, especially the complex one. I have started to do the festival to create a “terminal” or a “platform”, a place where regional artists are able do the performance.

<Environments of artist’s activity> Artists should receive a support from audiences and administration of different region, nationality or country, and not limited to the region of their headquarters. Our festival is not just a place to work with Japanese artists, but to collaborate with individual artist from different region/country. I would like to think with members of this committee about how artists can work and express their creativity.

Anonymous: How did people in Kyoto accept arts/artists or people invited from overseas for the festival?

Hashimoto: I have done the festival for three times, but I trust audiences from Kyoto and other Kansai regions. My impression I got, especially from ticket reservation, is that there are increasing numbers of audiences who come to the festival to watch something “new”. Kyoto is a small city, but because there are large numbers of younger people, it is easier to meet with different people and is common to meet artists from different fields—I was wondering if I could make a program that could inspire artists from different fields.

Yokobori: How do you find artists from overseas?

Hashimoto: Mostly from festivals. In that sense, festival is a convenient place to find good artists. I can watch ten to twenty performances in a week stay. When I started “KYOTO EXPERIMENT”, some told me that they will visit Kyoto if they can watch various performances in a short period of stay.

Kei Saito: Was it able to appeal to the professionals in overseas?

Hashimoto: Not much. The problem is the recognition of the festival. Three shows in weekends is the limit of shows that audience can watch, so it is not enough. The reason is the number of theater is limited.

Nishiyama: How can Japanese artists become recognized in overseas?

Hashimoto: Not exactly sure. I know some presenter’s tastes but their favorable artists not always the one to introduce in “KYOTO EXPERIMENT”. If our festival becomes a place to just promote Japanese artists, I do not see a real purpose of hosting the festival. In that case, I have to differentiate with the idea of market.

Yokobori: Introduction to Shin-nagata region. The case study of Dance Box.

About the Dance Box:

・  We do not have knowledge to invite artists from production, because we have been inviting solo or duo artists to meet the low budget. We would like to study about contract, insurance, fee negotiation, VISA, and taxation.
・  We would like to do a performance outside of Kobe of artists invited to Dance Box. We would like to learn how to share the risk of invitation performance.
・  The “mobility fund” is important. We would like to use it, if there is a chance.
・  We would like to do international co-production between the festivals, but the problem is that we have to wait for the result of the subsidy to prepare for the festival.

Kei Saito: Anyone used “mobility fund” before? Is there any in Japan? How about the guests
who participated in TPAM?

Tsukaguchi: Many overseas artists use their own country’s subsidy to visit Japan. Except, there are no such fund in Asia, so we need to pay their travel fee if we would like to invite guests from Asian countries.

Yokobori: How about sharing those experience and network as a result of “mobility fund”?

Tajima: Producer of CHITEN. Worked for international project as a producer of theater company, local theater, and public cultural facility.

・  When I hosted international co-production and residency program, the problem that I faced was promoting the programs to Japanese audiences. It made me think about the purpose of international exchange.
・  In term of sharing information, although our company has not been involved with overseas much, we will answer questions if we were asked.
・  In future, we would like to invite performances from overseas. In that case, I am concerned if I could do all the work alone.
・  Public theater has no idea of doing performance in overseas. First of all, there is problem that public theater is not hosting a performance. In future, public theater should be positioned as a promoter of Japanese artists. I personally think that there are no places for company/artist to present after coming back from the overseas. It is important that public theater involve in overseas performance and become a place where company/artist can share the information and make a connection with the others.
・  I expect that people from public theater to become a member of ON-PAM and take part in it. As for the advocacy of cultural policy, I believe public theater should propose to create regional performance. If not, we have to depend on individual’s motivation to create performances. The public theater should take a part in it.

Imao: Producer of Ryutopia (Niigata, Japan). I understand that problem in Japan is also problem faced in overseas as well. Because I know many people who are working in the public theater, it is likely that they will not join the committee. But, I personally am interested and am expecting to meet with many people through this committee.

Nishiyama: Working for international program of Seinendan. Lives in Kobe.

・  Our company’s overseas program has changed since we have started using robot in the play. We were invited from the overseas twice as much and received offers from host other than performing arts, except that in this case, the job becomes complicated. The support is limited, but I have learned how to get support outside of performing arts.
・  I understand the point of cultural policy, because I have been receiving subsidy form Agency for Cultural Affairs to do overseas performance. I experienced staying in overseas for two months, purpose of international cultural exchange.
・  The committee could be a place for feedback and share information about overseas.

Morisawa: Producer of Peachum Company. Planning to work for international exchange program in the near future. Our company has been selected for F/T Emerging Artists Program and is interested in evaluation of our company from the overseas. Our company’s play includes strong social message, so we make a play that suits international festival.

Satoh: Producer of KIKH Bridge Project. Currently working with artists from Cambodia and
Malaysia. We have been working hard for fund raising, since the budget was fixed at end
of last year and the project started this May. In the case of overseas performance, there are
problem gathering audience without knowing about that country/culture. The problem
is how we could deal with it without losing the quality. We need to think about how to gather
information when we start new business.

Abe: There are no jobs that use English in Kansai region. There are a lot of theater companies
that would like to do performance in overseas, but they do not know how to. I would like to
help overseas program, but I do not know the way.

Hirai: Producer of Juuryoku/Note. Our company participated in F/T and BESETO last year. We found out what we did not know through working with overseas. I would like to learn from overseas the different forms of showing a play. I would like to learn how to gather information about the culture or whether we could do rehearsal in overseas.

Tomonori Hayashi: Producer of Miho Project. Producing Shigeyamake (Noh family), music, live painting, and others.

Tsutomu Saito: Gorch Brothers. Board member of ON-PAM. Producer of Kakikuu Kyaku. Worked
for international program, such as Edinburgh Festival, Scotland.

Fujiwara: Next/ Secretariat of ON-PAM. Introduction of Next. There is no specific work that deals with international relations, but I think, in term of culture policy or local cooperation, we are able to share by learning about the case study of overseas, which we will not find it through domestic case study.

Kawaguchi: Next / Board member of ON-PAM

・  Participated in The Necessary Stage of Alvin Tan’s workshop. I been asked to participate to discuss about war and performance in Japan. I would like to think about sharing information, such as how to deal with audience or how to use the budget, and others.
・  Helping out the project “Assembly” of National Theatre of Wales. I wanted to learn from the project the relationship/collaboration with arts and region.

Tsukaguchi: PARC/Secretary General of ON-PAM. Working for TPAM (Performing Arts Meeting in Yokohama), a place to meet with professionals. Three points to problems of international exchange:
1)     Is there a way to exchange without a national policy? I would like a place to meet with people of same position and people who I could work together for long time.
2)     About producer’s “mobility” and foundation of “mobility fund”.
3)     Different idea of “international”. TPAM is not just a place to export Japanese arts to
overseas. We need to broaden one’s horizon and to learn from the outside.

4. Conclusion

Kei Saito: I heard a lot about “region”. There were many problems that were universal or common both in domestic and overseas performance. On other hand, there were common problem regarding international exchange. Our first <Related Plan>, holds this afternoon, discusses an idea of contrast between region and overseas/international. There were also five main points about performance in today’s discussion.

1)     About “festival”. We could start from talking about festival and could broaden idea of discussion from here. For example, the common topic of discussion would be problem of hosting artists/arts.
2)     The “distribution”—how to do performance in overseas, do repeat performance in Japan, and others. We could discuss in term of both domestic and overseas.
3)     About “mobility fund”. To share information about the fund and to start the program without using money.
4)     Not much problem concerning subsidy.
5)     We should learn about law, policy, VISA, and social security.

I believe it is difficult to section all these problems, so I would like someone to get involve in
management of this committee. We would like to hold next meeting in June at place other than
Kansai region. Is there anyone who would like to think about next meeting? I was fascinated to
hear different opinions. Now, we will close this session. Thank you for your cooperation.

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