Chiaki Soma and Kyoko Iwaki of the Japanese independent collective Arts Commons Tokyo (ACT) will be the Programme Directors of Theater der Welt 2023.

Arts Commons Tokyo was founded in 2014 and consists of mainly female and multi-lingual professionals including an art and theatre producer, curator, dramaturg, researcher, administrators, translators, and interpreters. Now a 15-strong team, we have successfully organised interdisciplinary projects that update the status quo of society through art in Tokyo, Fukushima and various Asian and European cities. Led by Soma and Iwaki, the Theater der Welt 2023 team will be supported by production, communication, urban project leaders from the ACT team.

Chiaki Soma and Kyoko Iwaki

As the first Asian-female team to lead Theater der Welt, we will be taking the principle of non-Western, non-binary, and even non-human perspectives to remap and rethink the norm of theatres, festivals, and the world. Taking this as our operational ethics, and also taking in the empirical knowledge of the global pandemic, we propose to create a festival that focuses on the theme of what we call »incubationism«: a collective time of waiting in which we could hope for a renewed life and also perhaps fear for future symptoms. We take this dual and synchronous time frame as the basis for imagining new ethics of care, cure, and capabilities of sickness. For the first time in modern history, the minds and bodies of a great number of people have fallen ill. Yet this pandemic has also taught us how we should cohabit with and care for not only sick humans, but also sick animals, plants, neighbourhoods, and nature. Politically and ethically, the notion of care should be liberated from the images of females, minorities, migrants, and the underprivileged.

As traumatic effects of a tragedy always arrive delayed, in Frankfurt-Offenbach 2023, together with our collaborating artists, we hope to portray a new world that seeks all beings to be cared for and be cured.