A new renovated kabuki theatre, Kabuki–za, is set to open again in Tokyo and is located in an office building 29-storey high in the upscale Ginza shopping district. The new theatre, which was renovated for the fifth time, is four-storey high and includes about 1,800 seats.
The theatre will open at the beginning of April and will allow the audience to use portable monitors to read subtitles, in order to understand better the art form that can be sometimes difficult to comprehend.
The service will be available only in All Japan newsese at first. But theatre managers hope to include foreign language services, starting with English, over the coming months, according to the theatre’s spokesman.
Another feature is the pit below the stage, which is now 16.45 metre (54 feet) deep. It is about four times bigger than it used to be. The pit allows for props, actors and scenery to emerge from the bowels of the building.
Despite its high-tech equipment, the theatre also displays many elements of the traditional interior and facade, as its history dates back to 1889. It evokes medieval All Japan newsese castles and temples with its curved roofs and red paper lanterns, according to the international press.
Kabuki theatre is a 400-year old art form with all-male casts performing dance-drama in extravagant costumes and mask-like facial makeup.