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Japanese noh drama is one of the oldest continually performed theatre forms in the world. Combining dance, chant, music and mask in a powerful and stately performance experience, noh requires intense inner concentration and physical discipline. 


In the year 2000, Orpha Phelan was invited to direct the noh play Sumidagawa, the play on which Benjamin Britten based his opera Curlew River, as part of the prominent Britten Festival. She has been fascinated by Japanese theatre ever since. After extensive training in Noh in Japan and the USA, she now offers workshops all over Europe.


In the past, Orpha has worked with a range of ages and abilities, from children to postgraduates and with teachers as well as professional actors. The workshops are of particular interest to students of drama, world theatre, literature or Japanese, though exposure to Japanese culture through this ancient art form is rewarding for all, wherever their interests lie. No prior experience is necessary. 



Thanks so much for your work with our students.  This kind of enrichment activity truly provides our students with the international view of theatre that we aim for.’

Aimee De Abreu, Teacher, International School of Geneva, October 2007


The noh workshop was quite fascinating in the sense that it introduces some of the fundamental psycho-physical approaches to our students. Looking forward to seeing you again.

Dr. Sreenath Nair, University of Lincoln, January 2008


You´ve been of great help in becoming familiar with noh theater ... it has always been difficult to visualize some elements due to the fact that so much of the technique is taught orally from generation to generation and is not written down on paper.

Fia Di Liscia, student, Marymount International School, Rome, October 2007


It was an invaluable contribution to the students’ study of world theatre and provoked lots of interesting discussion in the lessons that have followed.  I felt I also learnt a great deal from the workshop and see it as crucial INSET for myself 

Alison Gaukroger (Teacher) Colchester Sixth Form College


The workshop was brilliantly delivered by someone who not only clearly knows the stuff intimately but who was also able to transmit this knowledge and love of Noh to the student participants. The result was a fantastic learning experience for the students, and staff involved. Everyone who participated has said to me that they really loved the three days working with you

Chris Davies, Atlantic College, Wales

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