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In London’s (Off) West End 2020: The Garden of Words by Whole Hog Theatre (Preview)

Screenshot 2020-01-18 at 1.17.16 PM

LONDON – Specialists in Anglo-Japanese stage adaptations, Whole Hog Theatre return after their hugely successful Princess Mononoke to present The Garden of Words. Based on the stereotype-defying film by world-renowned director Makoto Shinkai (your name.), The Garden of Words is a modern Tokyo tale inspired by ancient Man’yōshū poetry. This subtle drama explores invisible disability, loss of human connection in a digital world and challenges us to consider the moral line between platonic and romantic longing. Makoto Shinkai’s subsequent film, Your Name (2016), became one of the highest-grossing anime of all time in 2016.

When a student and an older woman meet by chance whilst seeking solace in a Japanese garden, their mutual feelings of alienation draw them together. But a truth is about to be uncovered. The friendship that could save them might also ruin them…

In a unique Anglo-Japanese collaboration, this world theatrical premiere will be created and performed in London and Tokyo by the UK’s Whole Hog Theatre (Princess Mononoke stage adaptation), and Anime stage production specialists, Nelke Planning (Sailor Moon and Naruto stage productions). A female-led project, the work aims to bring together Japanese and British creatives, encourage diverse new audiences, and challenge stereotypes about Anime and Japan.

This interdisciplinary adaptation delves into Shinkai’s visually emotive story through puppetry, movement and projection art. Performed in English with occasional Japanese. Makoto Shinkai (新海 誠) is a Japanese animator, filmmaker, and manga artist best known for directing Your Name. and listed by Variety as one of 10 animators to watch in 2016. An Asteroid (55222 Makotoshinkai) is named in his honour.

Says Alexandra Rutter from Whole Hog Theatre: “We believe this project has tremendous potential to challenge stereotypes about Japan and Anime and encourage diverse, non-traditional audiences to the theatre. We are thrilled to be collaborating with Nelke Planning Tokyo and a team of a Japanese, British and British East Asian artists to bring this highly respected filmmaker’s work to the stage for the first time and in so doing, share such a important, moving and challenging story about loneliness in the digital age. With the ongoing UK Japan season of culture, Makoto Shinkai’s meteoric rise and his latest film now out in the UK, and the Tokyo 2020 Olympics, there has never been a more exciting time for Anglo-Japanese collaboration.”

The Garden of Words plays from 16th July to 15th August 2020 at Park Theatre, Clifton Terrace, Finsbury Park, London N4 3JP. Tickets available here


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