Asian Performing Arts Farm (APAF) is a development initiative under the Tokyo Festival that offers opportunities for artists in Asia to elevate their creative practice through mutual exchange, and expand their presence beyond national and cultural boundaries. The initiative was launched in 2002 as the Asian Performing Arts Festival with a view to promoting culture through artistic exchange between Asian regions. In 2016, it changed its name to “Asian Performing Arts Forum,” serving as a venue that brings young artists together. In 2018, Junnosuke Tada assumed the role of Director, taking over from former-Producer Satoshi Miyagi, who led the program for ten years. In 2019, APAF underwent a major remodeling, changing “forum” to “farm,” with the aim of providing “rich soil” for the next generation of artists to grow in an increasingly globalized age. The new logo, redesigned for 2020, adopts a free and flowing design.

Junnosuke Tada became Director in 2018, and carried out a remodeling of APAF the next year. The initiative’s name was changed from “Asian Performing Arts Forum” to “Asian Performing Arts Farm.” With its programs, APAF offers three spaces: the Exhibition, for artists to spread their “branches” through creation; the Lab, where participants can deepen their practice, firmly establishing and expanding their “roots”; and the Young Farmers Camp, helping the next generation to plant the first seeds for future growth.

The experience of the participants over the course of the initiative will inform a variety of outputs, including performances, presentations, and essays. The three programs will cultivate a “farm” that yields artists and programs that will contribute to the Asian performing arts scene of the future.

APAF-3 programmes

○APAF Exhibition

To places you cannot reach alone
APAF Exhibition offers an opportunity for artists to create a transcultural performing arts piece, with the aim of opening up new possibilities for international collaboration. Participants from various backgrounds will extend their artistic “branches” by inspiring each other to try their hand at new creative processes and intercultural communication techniques, as well as further elevate their practice through audience feedback.

○APAF Lab.

Beyond borders, beyond the body, towards a new future for Asian performing arts
APAF Lab is an art camp where those involved in the performing arts from across Asia, selected through an open call, gather to transcend the boundaries of culture and nationality, and spread their “roots” through the cultivation of new values. Rather than working towards a final product, such as realizing an artwork, Lab participants are encouraged to broaden their perspective through lectures, discussions, and the exchanging of their practices and approaches, while also taking on individual research projects. Lab facilitators will accompany the participants on the camp. Public presentations by the Lab participants will be given on the final day.

○Young Farmers Camp.

A place for artists (under 30s) to experience the cutting edge
APAF Young Farmers Camp (YFC) is a study group for Japan-based rising talents (under 30s) in the performing arts. Participants will attend lectures, engage in lively discussions with their peers and foreign artists, as well as observe firsthand the intercultural creative and collaborative processes that take place at APAF. The program encourages its participants to gain new perspectives that will shape their future, allowing the various “seeds” within them to take root.

Communication Design

The position of Communication Design Director has been introduced at APAF in order to proactively engage with the issues that emerge at a site of international collaboration that brings together participants from diverse countries and cultures. The aim is to investigate and discuss the implications of different approaches to communication and dialogue, and set out appropriate guidelines.


Junnosuke Tada
Photo:Toru Hiraiwa

Junnosuke Tada is a theater director who heads Tokyo Deathlock. Through his work, which spans classic to contemporary plays as well as dance and performance, Tada continues to question, by recreating real situations, the actual experiences of people in contemporary society. His practice, founded on the collaborative nature of theater, is one that goes beyond borders: Tada’s activities engage children and non-theater professionals. He has also been involved in multiple international collaborations, including Japan-South Korea and Japan-Southeast Asia productions. In 2010, he became the Artistic Director at Cultural Center of Fujimi City, KIRARI FUJIMI, making him the youngest artistic director of a theater for a public institution in Japan (he served for three consecutive terms over nine years). In 2014 Karumegi won the 50th Dong-A Theater Awards for Best Direction, making Tada the first non-Korean to receive the award. Tada is also part of the directing department of Oriza Hirata’s theater company Seinendan, and a part-time lecturer at Shikoku Gakuin University and Joshibi University of Art and Design.

On becoming director of APAF(2018)

APAF-Asian Performing Arts Farm

Organized by Tokyo Festival Executive Committee
[Toshima City, Toshima Mirai Cultural Foundation, Festival/Tokyo Executive Committee, Tokyo Metropolitan Foundation for History and Culture(Arts Council Tokyo & Tokyo Metropolitan Theatre)]


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