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Noh: ‘Sumidagawa’ and ‘A Tale of the Sumida River’

Noh Reimagined

Fri 21 Jun
Contemporary

Noh: ‘Sumidagawa’ and ‘A Tale of the Sumida River’

Noh Reimagined

For our first headline event of Noh Reimagined 2024, Mu Arts and Kings Place are proud to present a rare performance of ‘Sumidagawa’, one of Noh Theatre’s greatest masterpieces. British storyteller Xanthe Gresham-Knight’s ‘A Tale of the Sumida River’, adapted from ‘Sumidagawa’, will precede the Noh performance, offering an introduction to the play’s timeless narrative of love, loss, and the river that carries us all.


Sumidagwa (Sumida River), written by Kanze Motomasa (c.1394 – 1432), the eldest son of Zeami Motokiyo (c.1363 – c.1443), stands as one of the most renowned Noh plays of all time. It is a story about a mother whose son has been kidnapped. The mother embarks on a journey which ends in despair as she finds that her son died a year previously. The play’s timeless narrative of love and loss, famously inspired Benjamin Britten to compose Curlew River. For this rare performance of the play in the UK, Mikata Shizuka – one of the most esteemed Noh performers from Japan – will perform in the lead role as the mother.

The performance of Sumidagawa will be preceded by a newly written English re-telling of the story by Xanthe Gresham Knight.

Sumidagwa Cast:
Shizuka Mikata, mother (shite)
Seigo Mikuriya, ferryman (waki)
Gasho Yamanaka, jiutai chorus
Kohei Kawaguchi, jiutai chorus
Yasuki Kobayakawa, jiutai chorus
Yasumitsu Kobayakawa, jiutai chorus
Yasuhiro Sakoh, nohkan flute
Tatsushi Narita, kotsuzumi shoulder drum
Tetsuya Yamamoto, otsuzumi hip drum
Monet Hirai, kokata (child)

Read the synopsis for Sumidagwa provided by the-noh.com ‘Noh Plays Database’.

The performance will last 2 hours and 15 minutes including an interval. 

About Noh Reimagined  

Curated and produced by Akiko Yanagisawa (Mu Arts) in partnership with Kings Place, Noh Reimagined festival unwraps the art of Noh, the iconic theatrical tradition that originated in fourteenth-century Japan.

Click here to view all events.

Date:Fri 21 Jun
Start time:7pm (Doors: 6.30pm)
Venue:Hall One
Availability:Sold out

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