OCTOBER 2019 | Volume 184


Production image


by Tetsuro Shigematsu
Vancouver Asian Canadian Theatre
The Cultch Historic Theatre
Nov. 6-17
From $26 or 604-251-1363

World premiere of Tetsuro Shigematsu’s darkly comedic play, Kuroko, takes over The Cultch this November. 

The Cultch and Vancouver Asian Canadian Theatre (vAct) are thrilled to present Kuroko, a world premiere from renowned playwright Tetsuro Shigematsu, directed by award-winning director Amiel Gladstone (Onegin) at The Cultch Historic Theatre, November 6-17, 2019.

Hiroshi has only a year left to live. During that time, he must somehow get his daughter Maya to leave her bedroom, something that hasn’t happened in over half a decade. Maya is hikikomori—an extreme recluse—who has spent the last six years in her bedroom exploring Virtual Reality. Until one day she meets a mysterious player online who challenges her to the ultimate quest: saving her own father’s life. How? By visiting the scariest place IRL (in real life), Suicide Forest. 

Acclaimed theatre creator Tetsuro Shigematsu is well known for work that explores the modern experience. His solo works, two-time sold-out Cultch hit Empire of the Son, and 1 Hour Photo, both of which premiered with vAct at The Cultch, explores his personal and lived experience as a Japanese Canadian. Kuroko marks a change in Shigematsu’s work. Instead of taking the stage himself, five well known Canadian Asian actors—Kanon Hewitt, Lou Ticzon, Manami Hara, Donna Soares, and John Ng (Kim's Convenience CBC/Netflix show)—will bring Kuroko to life. “It is a new experience for me,” says Shigematsu. “This time around I am taking on a more traditional role for a playwright, and I am excited to see my words come to life in the hands of such an incredible cast, under the direction of Amiel Gladstone.”

In traditional Japanese kabuki, kuroko are stagehands, clad all in black, who—though conventionally considered unseen—progress the action, enabling the actors to perform the seemingly impossible. In Tetsuro Shigematsu’s Kuroko, he explores how each of the characters in our lives empowers us to achieve things we have never considered possible. Is there a kuroko in your life?

“Tetsuro Shigematsu is one of the city’s best artists, and his new play might be his most ambitious yet.” — The Georgia Straight

Cast: Maya —Kanon Hewitt, Kenzo — Lou Ticzon, Naomi — Manami Hara, Asa and more characters — Donna Soares, and Hiroshi — John Ng

Director — Amiel Gladstone, Dramaturg — Heidi Taylor, Set Designer — Sophie Tang, Costume Designer — Christine Reimer, Lighting Designer — Gerald King, Projection Designer — Remy Siu, Assistant Projection Designer — Daniel O’Shea, Sound Designer — Sammie Hatch, Production Manager/Technical Director — Adrian Muir, Stage Manager — Susan Miyagishima, Props Master — Jennifer Stewart, Cultural Consultant — Mayumi Yoshida

WHEN: NOV 6–17, 2019
Nov 6, 7:30PM: Preview
Nov 7, 7:30PM: Opening
Nov 8–9, 12–16, 7:30PM
Nov 10 & 17, 2PM

Post-show Artist Talkback: Nov 10, 12

WHERE: Historic Theatre, 1895 Venables

TICKETS: Tickets from $26. Single tickets on sale now through The Cultch’s Box Office: 604-251-1363 or

Vancouver Asian Canadian Theatre began as a community theatre in 2001. In 2013, Donna Yamamoto became Artistic Director, rapidly transforming it into one of the most exciting professional theatre companies in Canada and an incubator for some of the best Asian Canadian talent in the country. Recent world premieres include Loretta Seto’s The Ones We Leave Behind and Tetsuro Shigematsu’s 1 Hour Photo and Empire of the Son, which has toured nationwide.


Since 1973, The Cultch (formally the Vancouver East Cultural Centre) has been one of Vancouver’s most diverse and innovative arts and cultural hubs. The organization operates three theatrical venues, a gallery, and various ancillary spaces in the heart of East Vancouver. The Cultch offers dynamic contemporary programming in theatre, dance, music, and the visual arts, bringing world-class cultural presentations to thousands of citizens each year through its own programming and through providing rental opportunities for community users. Our purpose is to provide a venue for performance that serves a diverse and engaged public and provides space for artistic experimentation and development, building an audience for local companies and presenting cutting-edge national and international work.



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Vancouver's arts and culture website providing theatre news, previews and reviews