Theatre Nohgaku – Artist Bios


 David CrandallDAVID CRANDALL is a writer, composer, translator and performer with training in both Western and noh musical idioms. He began studying noh chant and dance in 1979 with noh master Sano Hajime of the Hosho school. In 1986 he was admitted as an apprentice at the Hosho Noh Theater in Tokyo, studying with the 19th head of the Hosho school, Hosho Fusateru, and working on a professional level in Japan until 1991. While working as a noh performer and workshop lecturer, Mr. Crandall has also been active as a composer and playwright, with an output that includes instrumental pieces, noh-inspired dance dramas, songs, film scores, and children’s musicals. He is a founding member of Theatre Nohgaku and the founder of the Rogue River Noh Center, which is dedicated to helping artists develop new work and train in noh techniques.

Matthew DubroffMATTHEW DUBROFF has been studying noh theatre since he first went to Japan in 1988. He returned in 1990 and began working with Richard Emmert and the first Noh Training Project. He also began studying at the Kita Noh Theatre with Omura Sadamu. His formal noh studies continued in 1996 when he received a Monbusho Grant from the Japanese Ministry of Education. Returning to Japan, Dubroff continued his training with Omura and began a study of the noh Taiko drum with Mishima Gentaro of the Komparu School of Drumming. In 2000, Dubroff joined the Noh Training Project in Bloomsburg, Pennsylvania where he studied and became a teaching assistant under the guidance of Emmert and Matsui Akira of the Kita School of noh. Dubroff has performed numerous noh dances in recitals on stage in Tokyo and Osaka. He has also performed in several drum recitals. As a director, Dubroff has produced noh influenced theatre since 1988 in Massachusetts, Seattle and Hawaii. At the University of Hawaii at Manoa he received a Master of Fine Arts in Asian Theatre Performance with a Concentration in Directing in 1996. He was awarded an Earle Ernst Award for Excellence in Asian Theatre. Dubroff has been a professor of theatre at Hampden-Sydney College in Virginia since 1999. He is a teacher of the Alexander Technique and the Wu Style of Tai Ji. In 2014 he co-wrote and performed the one man show “On the Nine’s with Nick Nueve” and in 2015 he returned to Tokyo on a North East Asia Council grant to conduct research into noh.

Richard EmmertRICHARD EMMERT has studied, taught and performed classical noh drama in Japan since 1973. He is a certified Kita school noh instructor, and has studied all aspects of noh performance with a special concentration in movement and music. A professor of Asian performing arts at Musashino University in Tokyo, he directs the on-going Noh Training Project-Tokyo. In summers, he leads the intensive three-week Noh Training Project UK at Royal Holloway, University of London and for 20 years until 2014 led the Noh Training Project in Bloomsburg, Pennsylvania sponsored by the Bloomsburg Theatre Ensemble. He has authored and co-authored two series of Noh performance guides published by the National Noh Theatre in Tokyo, has led extended Noh performance projects in Australia, India, Hong Kong, the UK, the US and Canada, has composed, directed, and performed in numerous English noh performances, and has released a CD entitled “Noh in English” by the Japanese Teichiku Records. He has also performed in and/or directed several Asian multi-cultural performances including “Siddhartha” by Teater Cahaya performed in Kuala Lumpur in 2003. The founder and artistic director of Theatre Nohgaku, he has led performance tours of “At the Hawk’s Well,”” Pine Barrens” and “Pagoda.”

James FernerJAMES FERNER, originally from New Jersey, has lived in Tokyo since 1991. He presently studies the Noh chant and dance with Sadamu Omura as well as the Kotsuzumi with Mitsuhiko Sumikoma, the Otsuzumi with Kamei Yosuke and the Taiko with Hitoshi Sakurai. Previously he studied the Kotsuzumi and Otsuzumi with Mitsuo Kama. A founding member of Theatre Nohgaku, he has taken part in a number of their projects including, Pine Barrens, Crazy Jane and Pagoda. Since 2001, he has taken part in Richard Emmert’s summer Noh Training Project held in Bloomsburg PA teaching the basics of Noh Music and assisting drum teacher Mitsuo Kama. In 2011 he became the sole drum teacher. He has also written a beginners’ manual of Noh music, which is currently in use at the Noh Training Project workshop. He has written original Noh music for Theatre Yugen’s piece, St Matthew’s Fair, a part of their ‘Minor Cycle’. He has also taken part in numerous special programs and performances of amateur groups (Kai) including: Tesarugaku no Kai Anniversary programs at the Yokohama and Kawasaki Noh Theatres; the Yokusen Kai in Chiba; the Togi no Kai at the Suginami Noh Theatre; the Kojitsu Kai Anniversary program at the Yarai Noh Theatre and other events in Tokyo, Yokohama, Shizuoka and Wakayama.
Other performances include the Kotsuzumi part in the original play Blue Moon over Memphis performed in Japan in May 2015 and in New York in July and the Kotsuzumi part in the English performance of Sumidagawa performed in Texas in October 2015.

Colleen LankiCOLLEEN LANKI is a theatre artist based in Vancouver, Canada, where she is the Artistic Director of TomoeArts, a company that explores traditional Japanese arts and interdisciplinary performance creation. She has been directing, choreographing and performing internationally for over two decades. She was based in Tokyo for a number of years where she studied nihon buyoh (Japanese classical dance) with Fujima Yūko taking the professional name Fujima Sayū, and noh with Richard Emmert and Omura Sadamu. While in Japan she founded Kee Company, a group dedicated to intercultural, collaborative performance and worked as a voice actor, appearing on many video games, animated films and The Iron Chef. She recently directed Kishida Rio’s avant-garde masterpiece, Thread Hell for the University of Hawaii; co-translated Kutsukake Tokijiro (NYC off-off Broadway production); directed Shadow Catch, a new-music chamber opera incorporating noh elements; choreographed Mishima Yukio’s kabuki play The Sardine Seller in Portland, Oregon; and performed the title character in TomoeArts’ new dance-theatre piece, Weaver Woman.

Joyce S. LimJOYCE S. LIM, from Malaysia, was introduced to Noh in 2004 while on an Asian Public Intellectuals Fellowship to Japan. Since then her artistic life has shifted from contemporary dance to the many disciplines of Noh. She studied kotsuzumi and otsuzumi with the late Kama Mitsuo; taiko with Sakurai Hitoshi; and shimai and utai with Richard Emmert and Oshima Kinue. Since 2009, she has played the kotsuzumi for the full noh plays of “Funabenkei”, “Atsumori”, “Hagomoro” and David Crandall’s “Crazy Jane”. In 2014, she performed the shite role in “Hagoromo” as part of Noh Training Project’s 20th Anniversary.

Jubilith MooreJUBILITH MOORE is a performer, director, writer, teaching artist and producer for the theatre and has devoted her professional life to exploring the ongoing life of traditional Japanese and contemporary American theatre. She has studied Noh with Richard Emmert, Akira Matsui, Shiro Nomura and Kinue Oshima and Kyogen with Yukio Ishida and Yuriko Doi. She is a Founding Company Member of Theatre Nohgaku and was Artistic Director of Theatre of Yugen from 2001 to 2014. She is the recipient of a Japan Foundation Fellowship, TBA’s CA$H award as well as TCG’s Future Collaborations and Leadership U[niversity] grants.

Tom O'ConnorTOM O’CONNOR trained primarily as an actor, and created original roles for choreographers and dance-theatre artists including Maureen Fleming, John Giffin, and Rick Wamer, performing in New York, London, Edinburgh, Milan, and in regional venues within the United States. As a member of Theatre Nohgaku (since 2006) he has performed on several tours, and in the original casts of Jeannette Cheong’s Pagoda and Debra Brevoort’s Blue Moon over Memphis. O’Connor served on the TN steering committee from 2008-2013, and as managing director for the last three of those years. In addition to his work with TN, O’Connor has adapted several original physical theatre works, and also has professional credits as a director and choreographer. Currently, O’Connor is an Associate Professor in the School of Theater, Film and Television at UCLA, where he teaches Acting and serves as Undergraduate Vice-chair for the Theater Department.

John OgleveeJOHN OGLEVEE is a theatre artist and an ABD PhD candidate from the University of Hawai’i’s theatre department focusing on the evolution of the noh performer on the international stage. He has presented papers at the Association for Asian Studies and the Japanese Theater Association. He holds an MFA in Asian performance from the University of Hawai’i and a BFA from New York University’s Tisch School of the Arts.
He has been studying, performing and teaching noh since 1996 with Omura Sadamu, Akira Matsui, Kinue Oshima, and Richard Emmert. In addition he has studied the instruments of noh with Sakurai Hitoshi and the late Kama Mitsuo. He has studied noh mask making with Kitazawa Hideta. As a practitioner of noh he is a co-founder of the collective Theatre Nohgaku and has performed and worked in many capacities such as Development Director, Managing Director, producer, and performer in tours of Blue Moon Over Memphis, Pagoda, Crazy Jane, Pine Barrens, and At the Hawk’s Well. His work with San Francisco’s Theatre of Yugen includes Crazy Horse, Frankenstein and The Cycle Plays. Apart from noh, he has worked as a performer and musician in Europe, North America and Asia with such artists and companies as: Richard Foreman’s Ontological Hysteric, Peter Schumann’s Bread and Puppet, Min Tanaka’s Maijuku. He was a founding member of the New York performance group GAle GAtes et al. As an actor and translator in Japan he has been an associate member of Yoji Sakate’s theatre company Rinkogun where his credits include the award winning production of Darumasan ga Koronda, The Cowra Honcho’s Meeting, The Un-performed Three Sisters, as well as the Japanese language premiere of David Hare’s The Power of Yes. He has appeared in numerous films, TV commercials, music videos and promotional videos and was a featured performer on NHK television’s Hajime Eikaiwa and a co-host of the radio program Kiso Eigo 2.

Kevin SalfenKEVIN SALFEN is Associate Professor of Music at the University of the Incarnate Word in San Antonio. He took his first two degrees in composition and his Ph.D. in musicology at the University of North Texas. His dissertation was on the early collaborations of Benjamin Britten and the writer William Plomer, and his work on Britten has appeared in Music & Letters and 19th-century Music. He is the author of a music appreciation textbook, Pathways to Music, that introduces music of the world through five themes: ritual, emotion, work, art, and politics. He has given pre-performance lectures and panel discussions for both the San Antonio and Dallas Opera, for the Dallas Symphony Orchestra, for the Nasher Sculpture Center chamber music series, for the San Antonio International Piano Competition Piano Series, and for public programs at the McNay Art Museum and Asia Society Texas Center. Salfen, who lived in Japan for two years, has organized residencies, workshops, and art exhibits related to noh in Dallas and San Antonio. These events have introduced aspects of traditional Japanese theater arts to diverse campus and civic communities. Salfen became a member of Theatre Nohgaku in 2011, was editor of its newsletter (In the Noh) from 2012-13, and is now Secretary of the troupe. He has also performed in several full noh: on noh flute for Funa Benkei and Sumida River; in the chorus for Funa Benkei, Atsumori, Hagoromo, and the English-language noh Blue Moon over Memphis, and as wakitsure in Atsumori. Salfen continues to compose, and his music has been performed in England, China, and throughout the U.S. The noh-influenced theater piece Icarus, for which Salfen wrote the music (to a libretto by Elise Forier-Edie), premiered in Ellensburg, Washington in 2012. It was a featured work at the 2012 Asian Studies Development Program National Conference in Seattle and at the 2013 Region VII Kennedy Center American College Theatre Festival.

Laura SampsonLAURA SAMPSON is an arts promoter and performer from London, UK. She graduated from University College London with a first-class degree in English & Medieval Literature, then worked as an apprentice literary agent while studying singing and storytelling. She discovered noh in 2011, just before going to Tokyo for the first time. During her ensuing 6-month stay in Japan, she studied noh with Richard Emmert, edited a series of English language noh summaries, and used noh narratives as inspiration for solo storytelling performances on her return to London. Now Producer for the Noh Training Project UK, Laura divides her time between studying noh wherever she can, playing music, and working freelance on various arts-related projects. She is the newest member of Theatre Nohgaku.


Hideta Kitazawa (Mask Carver)
A second-generation woodcarving artist, Hideta Kitazawa is the recipient of the Outstanding Youth Artisan Award, 1997 and the Yokohama Noh Drama Hall Director’s Prize, 2003. The Bay Area Critics Circle, 2011 and Theatre Bay Area, 2014, have also acknowledged his design work. In addition to carving traditional masks–used extensively by noh professionals–he has created several original masks for Theatre Nohgaku including Pine Barrens and Crazy Jane among others. He has exhibited nationally and abroad.

Sabrina Hamilton (Lighting Designer)
Sabrina Hamilton is the Artistic Director/Resident Lighting Designer for the 24-year old Ko Festival of Performance, held annually in Amherst, MA. She has worked as a lighting designer with Mabou Mines, the NY Shakespeare Festival, the Goodman Theatre and the Mark Taper. Her international theatre experience with both American and international companies, has brought her to Britain, France, Germany, Italy, Switzerland, Netherlands, Spain, Belgium, Canada, Brazil, Cuba, Finland, Egypt and Hong Kong.