Aratani / Japan America Theatre to be close for 2011-2012 season for repair

September 30, 2010 via Cultural News

The Japanese American Culture and Community Center in Los Angeles announces the 2011-2012 season closure of the Aratani / Japan America Theatre for repair. The closure and upgrade work will begin on January 31, 2011.

“Our theatre is nearly 30 years old,” explains JACCC Executive Director Chris Aihara, “and there are necessary repairs that we now need to address.  It is also our intention to make some upgrades to the facility that will enhance the theatrical experience for the audience and performers.”

Dedicated in 1983 with performances of Kabuki by the National Theater of Japan, the Aratani / Japan America Theatre has presented the best of performing arts from Japan, including The Grand Kabuki, Takigi Noh, jazz legend Sadao Watanabe, the Los Angeles premiere of Sankaijuku, and most recently the West Coast debut of African American enka singer, Jero.

The Aratani / Japan America Theatre has 600 seats downstairs and 250 seats upstairs. The elevated front stage is an ideal facility for traditional Japanese art performances.

Since its opening, the theatre has also been the preferred venue for a diverse range of performances, lectures and presentations from around the world, beginning with the 1984 Olympic Arts Festival to the current Los Angeles Public Library “Aloud” series.

While the theatre is under repair, JACCC will present performances in alternate venues including its newly-restored James Irvine Japanese Garden which features an outdoor stage with theatrical lights and sound, as well as partnering with other local venues and organizations.

James Irvine Japanese Garden is located adjacent the JACCC’s main building.

The JACCC will continue its national touring of large-scale theatrical events.

In 2007 the JACCC produced the five-city U.S. tour of Bunraku: The National Puppet Theatre of Japan with stops in Boston, Chicago, San Francisco, Berkeley and Los Angeles.

In November 2010, the JACCC will culminate its 30th Anniversary Season with the U.S. debut of the Zenshinza Theatre Company of Japan with productions of two Kabuki classics and an epic historical drama. After Los Angeles, the production will travel to Berkeley and Honolulu.

It is anticipated that the Theatre will reopen for the 2012-2013 programming season.

Aihara states “The Aratani Japan America Theatre is a unique public space for cultural presentations, and an important venue for the Japanese American community.

“JACCC has an important role as stewards of community resources. Over the past three years, we undertook a full restoration of our James Irvine Japanese Garden and renovated the adjoining Garden Room to create more programming and event space.

“We are working towards securing the JACCC and its facilities for future generations, and believe this temporary closure of the theatre is part of that stewardship.”

Founded in 1980, the JACCC is the largest Asian American cultural center of its kind in the U.S. and is the preeminent presenter of Japanese, Japanese American and Asian American arts.  JACCC is home to a number of civic and arts organizations and serves as the cultural and community focal point of Japanese Americans throughout Southern California.

Japanese American Cultural and Community Center is located at 244 S. San Pedro Street, in historic Little Tokyo area of downtown Los Angeles.

For more information about the JACCC and its programs, go to