Dramakan Theater’s revivalTue, Mar 31, 2015
Reconstruction of Dramakan Theater completed
Opening performance by Oriza Hirata to be held on May 7
Reconstruction of the Dramakan Theater on Nanmon street near the Waseda campus was completed on March 23. The university did not have experience designing or managing theatrical venues but Dramakan staff offered their opinions and cooperation to help complete the reconstruction. A series of pre-opening performances will lead up to the theater’s grand opening on April 30, culminating in the opening act from Oriza Hirata on May 7.
Dramakan is a relatively small theater with only 72 seats. Although space is limited, all aspects such as floor layout, dressing rooms, and reception space were scrupulously deliberated on by those involved in theater and compared to those of well-established theaters in and outside of Japan. Student safety was taken into careful consideration during the reconstruction. Consisting of two large wood planks of appropriate thickness, the floor can be replaced with ease and the four meters of space from the stage to the roof provide a considerable amount of space for a small theater. Designed to guide spectators and allow easy movement of equipment, some theater specialists have commented “Considering its high-quality design and facilities, it’s hard to believe this is a university theater.”
The front of the theater is designed to resemble a curtain and individual planks of wood were twisted by hand to produce the desired effect. Similar to a back stage assistant, the theater is completely painted in black. We hope many students will participate and provide color to the theater’s activities.
The main difference between this theater and typical education facilities is the fact that students collect fees and use them to invest in further activities. Producing a theatrical performance and accumulating revenue from it is something not possible in a normal classroom environment. By motivating students and encouraging them to be creative and independent, this theater is expected to produce immeasurable results. The theater can be used for free by students and because it is associated with a university, is capable of providing support to faculty, alumni, and first-rate theater specialists. Dramakan is expected to become a significant project in education for the university.
Many architects and individuals from Waseda attended the ceremony commemorating the theater’s completion. President Kamata, who was involved in theater as a student, commented “This theater will help students grow and bring life to the city. I want Dramakan to become the center of theater not only in Waseda and Tokyo, but in all of Japan.”
The theater’s opening performance, “Android” by Oriza Hirata, will be performed from May 7-10.