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Lee Douglass, Director, Concept, Writer and Choreographer
Toshinori Hamada, Writer, Director, Choreographer and Fight Choreographer
LEE DOUGLASS is a director, writer, performer and filmmaker but prefers to be identified simply as a storyteller. Her work reflects her innovative vision both with the written word and through the use of movement, physical theater and image. She seeks to create remarkable moments through the stories she chooses to tell and with a style that illuminates our common humanity. By embracing both the beauty and the horror, her work bears witness to the truth and the profundity of the mysteries of the human experience.
Lee has created in several different disciplines of the performing arts. She has several films to her credit including the award winning Birdboy and has worked as writer/director on many projects: promos both live action and animation, documentaries and narratives. Lee has penned numerous screenplays and currently her commissioned screenplay, Kingdom by the Sea, is in development with Axial Pictures in Los Angeles. She has performed in and choreographed for operatic productions such as La Traviata, Pagliacia, The Merry Widow.
She has also written and directed her original works as well as the work of other playwrights' work in the theatre. Her unconventional and challenging productions, both classical and experimental incorporate diverse cross-cultural elements, cinematic structures, music and multi-media.
Her current project is Jyoen, a Japanese operetta, a recipient of LMCC Creative Engagement Grant and Japan Foundation Culture and Arts Grant. Coming next: The Elvis Presley Game Show, a musical, The Lear Sisters, a deconstruction of the Shakespeare play and Utterance, the grief play.
TOSHINORI HAMADA is an actor, dancer and theatre artist. He draws from his broad experience and deep knowledge as a Japanese artist residing in New York City. His early theater training and performance was as a Kabuki actor (Yorozuya Family), eventually progressing to Noh Theatre (Ho-sho School in Tokyo, Japan, under the direction of Master Junosuke Watanabe.
Upon arriving in NYC, Hamada trained at the Martha Graham School of Contemporary Dance as well as in Balinese dance, ballet and other modern dance idioms.
He is an accomplished practitioner of Japanese martial arts laido (sword), Kyudo(archery), Jodo(cane) and Kyokushin Karate.
performing artist. He is a principal artist with BALAM Dance Theatre (BALAM). He performed with Saeko Ichinoe, Harmonia Opera and the Connecticut Ballet. He has taught Noh theatre and dance at New York University’s Gallatin School and Tisch School of the Arts, Barnard at Columbia University, Queens College and at the Lee Strasberg Theatre and Film Institute in New York.
In the last seven years, Hamada has turned his creative focus to writing/devising original theater and song composition. His recent projects include the Japanese operetta, Jyoen and the musical drama Wind Chime based on the 2011 Tsunami event in Japan.
HIs other works include recent fusion collaborations with Lew Tabackin, the legendary jazz musician, creating Noh-inspired dance works to jazz improvisations; He is currently working a collaboration with composer and Sho player, Chatori Shimizu. which will be performed in Dresden Germany in June 2023.
Toshinori has directed three short films of which one, Dream on Flatbed, was selected by International Kauze Film Festival in Hamburg Germany. He acted in a short film, Shūjin, which was selected by eleven film festivals in the United States. Hamada won the Best of the Best Performance Jury Award 2021 at the International Film Festival in NYC. Currently his work can be seen in the HBOMax series, Julia.and the Amazon prime video Maki.
Guest Artist, Choreography
Yuko Hamada is the founder and President of Japan Performing Arts, Inc. Yuko is also a Nichibu (or Nihon Buyo) dance choreographer/dancer. She used to be a member of Takarazuka Revue Company, a nationally well-known all-female theater in Japan. She graduated from the dramatic writing program of Tisch School of the Arts, New York University. She wrote, directed and produced three Off-off Broadway plays and received a lot of media coverage for her unique presentation of Japanese theater arts. Since the establishment of Japan Performing Arts, Inc., her pursuit of Japanese theater presentation has been ever evolving with wider range of venues, such as at the United Nations Headquarters, Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI), Brooklyn Botanic Garden, etc. In 2015, Yuko established Kagura Preservation Society of New York to introduce the Chugoku region's performing arts and it had the debut performance in NYC during the first JPA Cultural Repertories in 2015.
Kento Iwasaki, Composer and Musical Director
KENTO IWASAKI is a composer and koto performer. Commissioned for his intercultural voice and theatric sensibilities, he creates with theater and music new mythologies that acts as a bridge to the lexicon of traditional arts.
He was born in Tokyo, Japan and grew up in Champaign, IL; Ottawa; Princeton and Philadelphia before moving to New York City.
He studied koto with Satomi Fukami as part of an expenses-paid program by Columbia University and continues his koto studies with Yoko Reikano Kimura. Kento has received training in opera composition from Libby Larsen, John Corgliano and and William Bolcolm as part of the John Duffy Composers Institute. Kento received his B.A. in Music Composition at Temple University and his M.M. in Classical Composition at Manhattan School of Music. Previous composition teachers include Mark Jurcisin, Matthew Greenbaum and Richard Danielpour.
Kento is currently developing portable operas that utilize traditional Japanese instruments.