Studio 1398

“OKUNI” – Mother of Kabuki

OKUNI – Mother of Kabuki is Yayoi Theatre Movement Society’s new 70 minute production choreographed and performed by artistic director, Yayoi Hirano,  that will premiere in March 1 to March 10 2017. Okuni, born in Izumo Japan, a former shrine dancer who started kabuki movement in the 1600’s. Okuni created numerous dramatic and elaborate kabuki (‘avant garde’ or ‘bizarre’) performances that were heavily influenced by western costume and jewellery. Okuni’s dance movements were started as a shrine dancer (Miko-dance) and then she, in her avant-garde style, incorporated forms like Bugaku, Sarugaku (later called Noh-theatre). In this dance form, women played men in various comedic plays that garnered popularity and influenced to rival dance troupes. In 1615, Okuni mysteriously disappeared. The company will be focusing on the transformation of dance that Okuni explored which moved from shrine maiden dance to Bugaku gradually taking on elements of Noh-theatre(Sarugaku) and finally Kabuki. The performance begins from the street scenes in Kyoto with Sara Davis Buchner’s piano interpretation of George Gershwin’s Rhapsody in Blue. The set will show the hustle of the street life and will convey how people lived and worked in Japan at this time through visuals. Working with a video designer, those scenes of movement and dance with a backdrop of video projections of hand painted scenes from Japanese culture during the 1600’s.

Performances of  at Studio 1398: March. 1 (Wed) – March 10 (Fri): 8pm; Matinee on Saturday March 4th & Sunday March 5th: 3pm
Sunday March 5th, Matinee only at 3pm, Monday March 6th dark day (no show)

Concept/Director/Dancer/Choreographer: Yayoi Hirano
Musicians: Sara Davis Buechner (Piano) Minoru Yamamoto (Flute)
Lighting Designer: John Webber
Dramaturg: Catherine Lee
Stage Manager: Jessica Mary Keenan
Set Designer: Shizuka Kai
Costume: Fumiko Horan, Sachie Ono
Scenic Artist: Mariko Ando
Video Designer: Kyle Stooshnov
Noh Masks: Yayoi Hirano
Photographer: Yukiko Onley


“Yayoi Hirano is one of Vancouver’s hidden treasures – a living testament to the enduring evocative power of the kabuki and noh traditions of Japan ” Barbara Bourget – VIDF Co-producer

Box Office: 604.662.4966 Phone: 604.662.7441 info@vidf.ca

250 – 111 West Hastings St, 2nd Floor - #224, Vancouver BC V6B 1H4