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Harrow Arts Centre

19 - 22 December 2006 (shows were canncelled because the venue went into liquidation)

Oval House Theatre

15 December 2006 - First Bite Season

Dende Collective finds inspiration in four Japanese ghost stories presented in the book "Kwaidan – Stories and Studies Of Strange Things" by Lafcadio Hearn to create a highly visual and accessible show for audiences young and old using not only Dende Collective’s trademark mix of styles (shadows, projections, masks, puppets and physical theatre) but also paying homage with references to the aesthetics of Japanese traditional theatre forms (Noh, Kyogen, Kabuki and Bunraku). 

Dende and Japan

André Pink (Artistic Director) has lived and worked in Japan where among other things he studied Kyogen with Mansaku-No-Kai supported by the Japan Foundation Fellowship Program and worked at Tokyo’s National Theatre. Montserrat Gili (core member) lived in Japan for two years where she also studied traditional Bunraku puppetry and for this particular project we worked with the Japanese designer Tomo Kato for set and costumes. The four stories chosen for Dende Collective’s version of KWAIDAN are: Mimi-Nashi-Hoichi, Yuki-Onna, Rokuro-Kubi and The Story of O-Tei

History of the Production

Initially the company had been commissioned by Harrow Arts Centre to produce a Christmas family show, but due to the sudden liquidation of this venue the run was cancelled with just one week into rehearsals. Despite the loss, Dende Collective and all the artists involved decided to take the plunge and go ahead with the project in a much reduced form thanks to the kind support of Oval House Theatre. The show was presented as a work-in-progress as part of the Oval’s First Bites Season.



Cast and Creative Team

Directed by André Pink

Written/Adapted by Mark O'Thomas

Set and Costumes designed by Tomo Kano

Puppets by Alex Evans

Lighting by Francis Watson

Performed by Frank Wurzinger, Montserrat GiliMark Reid and Akiko Sato

Audience Feedback

“It definitely had a magical feeling, the stories were clear and easy to understand and I find that the spooky moments were there but also the humanity and the humour”

“Yes, I think children can enjoy this show but also adults!”

“As an Oriental theatre practitioner I had my reservations at the beginning, but you have taken all these Japanese traditional forms and done something new and unique on stage without losing its quality, and from a wider perspective.”