Message from the President

Bringing Performing Arts to Everyday Life

Masaji Ito, Representative, Theatre Workshop

Creating all aspects of theaters and halls

Theatre Workshop not only helps create beautifully designed theaters and halls with superior functions but also aims to make them places where people can meet anytime and enjoy themselves through the medium of performing arts such as theater, music and dance, even when the venues are not hosting any performances. To this end, we provide various forms of support throughout the project—from project conception and planning, design and construction, to management-and-operation planning, opening preparation, and operation after opening.

The elementary school I attended offered classes on subjects such as theater, dance and film, which gave me the chance to experience at a young age the joy of creating something in cooperation with others. At university, I studied architecture and chose theaters as my research topic. As a graduate student, I participated in the project to build the New National Theatre Tokyo, and after working on the Kagawa Prefectural Civic Hall project established Theatre Workshop in 1983. Theatre Workshop, the first Japanese theater consulting firm to branch out from architectural design, has been a Japanese pioneer in the field of theater consulting services.

In its early years the company specialized in services pertaining to facility planning, design support, and construction supervision—what we call the “hard” (structural/tangible) aspects of theater creation. Over time we expanded our range of services to include management and operation, having become keenly aware of the need for the facility to succeed as a business in order to optimize its features and functions. My background in art management education as a teacher the facility’s management and operation from the early planning stage, and services for preparing it for opening, including the formulation and production of opening programs and events, while simultaneously working toward establishing theater operation expertise. We have further expanded our services to include management and operation of theaters and halls after their opening.


Joining forces to build a hall of one’s own

Theatre Workshop’s important mission is to create theaters and halls that are user-friendly to everybody involved in the production of a performance; or, alternatively, to create theaters and halls that make users and visitors want to use or visit that space above others. The projects we have undertaken to date have provided us with a wealth of know-how through our interactions with members of the theater world and through experiences on the ground. But the learning process is ongoing. We are confident that our experience of over 30 years and the broad network we have built over that period will be fully reflected in our projects to come.

A theater performance cannot be created by performers alone. It only comes into being when the audience breathes life into it. If the performance venue is a government-owned one, it has to exist not just for the audience but for the community as a whole, necessitating that views of community members be reflected in its planning and operation. Theatre Workshop is constantly studying and implementing mechanisms for actively involving people of varying standpoints in theater/hall projects from the early stages of planning, so that a newly opened theater or hall can become truly cherished as a theater/hall of one’s own.

The members of the Theatre Workshop team are all passionate about performing arts. It is our utmost joy to be able to be involved in theaters. Our earnest wish is to help as many people as possible to experience the enthrallment of performing arts, and the appeal of performance spaces such as theaters and halls. To achieve this, Theatre Workshop works in cooperation with performing arts experts, theater technology experts and citizens, while maintaining its distinctive style.

Representative Director, Theatre Workshop
Masaji Ito

Ito graduated from the Department of Architecture, Faculty of Science and Engineering at Waseda University, and studied theaters and halls at Waseda University Graduate School. While a graduate student, he worked as a part-time researcher for the Agency of Cultural Affairs’ project to build and open what was tentatively named the Second National Theatre. In 1983, he founded Theatre Workshop after working on the Kagawa Prefectural Civic Hall project. Recipient of the prize of Architectural Institute of Japan for Specific Contribution in 2008. Member of the Architectural Institute of Japan and the Japan Institute of Architects. Board member of the Theatre and Entertainment Technology Association, Japan. Vice-president of the International Organization of Scenographers, Theatre Architects and Technicians (OISTAT) Japan Center. Chair of the Architecture and Technology Committee.