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Drama Course

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Becoming performance arts professionals


Toho Gakuen College of Drama and Music is a Tokyo-based two-year college which was established in 1964. The college now offers two courses of study: Drama and Music. The Drama Course was established to train high school graduates hoping to pursue careers in theatre, television and film.
The forerunner of the Drama Course was Haiyu-za Yoseijo, the drama school affiliated to Haiyu-za, one of the leading drama companies in Japan. This school was a hugely influential contributor to the development of actor training in Japan, making drastic reforms and adopting new methods designed to synthesize the mind and body, and producing many actors and actresses who became key figures in drama, film, television.
In 1966 Haiyu-za Yoseijo was transformed into the Drama Course of Toho Gakuen College of Drama and Music. This course at Toho Gakuen proudly continues the traditions and educational principles of Haiyu-za Yoseijo.

2.Actor training

Actor training

The prestigious and well-renowned Drama Course has been providing professional training for those wishing to work in theatre, television, film and some other related fields for nearly 50 years.
The course has three central aims. The first is to encourage students to interpret drama from the perspectives of an actor or an actress. In the reading process students develop an insight into dramatic creativity. The second is to foster students' physical development as the capacity to express their imagination through their body. The third is to provide students with the opportunity to apply their skills in ensemble and to contribute to group productions.

3.The majors

The Drama Course has two groups of students: those majoring in straight plays, and those majoring in musicals. Students majoring in straight plays study mainly traditional and contemporary drama so that they can become stage actors or actresses. Students majoring in musicals spend more time on dance and singing.

4.The curriculum and the four academic terms

Public Performance

Public Performance

The duration of the drama course is two years, comprised of four academic terms. In each term, students are introduced to a variety of acting exercises and theories. Each term builds on previous terms to bring students to a high level of competence and knowledge within a framework designed to motivate and enable them to become professional actors and actresses.

During the first term of the second year (Term 3), students also take several public examinations. In the last term (Term 4), students are given the opportunity to perform in front of a public audience, and to consolidate their studies by concentrating on rehearsing and performing.

First and second year students study a wide range of subjects, including acting, monologue, dialogue, voice, movement, physical skills, scene work, improvisation, dance, singing, stage lighting, sound effects, stage management, classical ballet, jazz dance, pantomime, contemporary dance, Japanese traditional dance, kyogen, and so on.
In addition to the subjects above, students have the option to study a range of academic subjects, including the histories of Japanese drama, Western drama, musicals, and classical ballet, and the critical study of drama, dramaturgy, Shakespeare, Chekhov, Greek drama, phonetics, and Japanese linguistics.

5.Diploma Course

Workshop by Prof. Nicholas Barter

Workshop by Prof. Nicholas Barter

After graduating from the college, students wishing to continue their training can apply for entry to the diploma course in drama. Entry to this competitive and prestigious two-year program is limited to graduates who displayed an exceptional talent at the end of the Drama Course.
The diploma course offers broad and comprehensive training and preparation for professional theatre performance. Every class is conducted with a small number of students. Students take part in several workshops and are introduced to a range of methods and techniques.
While the classwork and workshops continue, students perform a wide variety of works for the public, with six full theatrical public performances over the two years. First-class directors visit the college to direct the public performances, encourage students, and answer any questions they may have. Working closely with such directors and theatre professionals provides invaluable confidence-building experience for students, and the performances are highly regarded and acclaimed in their own right.

6.Aims of the public performances

(1) Integration: the full range of skills which were developed in the previous terms culminate in full theatrical productions. The three aims of our course, which are described above, are realized and shown in the public performances.

(2) Meeting with professional directors and professional staff: students collaborate with first-class directors, professional staff, and professional organizations, including stage managers, scenic carpenters, lighting engineers, sound engineers, costume designers, and so on. This provides students with invaluable experience of real working conditions and professionalism.

(3) Meeting with audiences: through the public performances, students meet a large audience. Students understand the importance of the audience and the space in the theatre. Standing on the stage and performing in front of a large audience, students can directly experience what cannot be taught in classrooms or studios.

Recent International Exchange

2006 College visit to the Royal Academy of Dramatic Art
2007 College visit to the National Institute of Dramatic Art
2008 College visit to Ernst Busch Acting School in Berlin
2009 College visit to the Central Academy od Drama in Beijing
2010 College visit to the National Institute of Dramatic Art
2011 College visit to the Loose Moose Theatre Company
2012 College visit to Teatro Arsenale
2013 College visit to National Academy for Theatre and Film Arts
2014 College visit to National Institute of Dramatic Art