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Zoe Lafferty Presents:The Fear of Breathing – Stories from the Syrian Revolution, 11/11

2012's hit Finborough Theatre play The Fear of Breathing - Stories from the Syrian Revolution by Zoe Lafferty, Ruth Sherlock and Paul Wood will be translated into Japanese and mounted in a new production by One Two Works at Tokyo's Akasaka Red Theatre. It will run from 11 - 17 November 2013, directed by the acclaimed Toshinobu Kojo.

Originally staged at the Finborough Theatre, The Fear of Breathing was a sell-out success, receiving four star reviews from The Telegraph, The Independent, Time Out Critics' Choice, Metro and Exeunt. First directed by Zoe Lafferty and produced by Chris Foxon for The Moving Theatre in association with Neil McPherson for the Finborough Theatre, the verbatim play tells the true stories of the people living at the heart of a revolution turned civil war in their own words.

Over the last two years hundreds of thousands have been tortured, jailed, maimed or killed in the battle for control of Syria, with the recent deployment of banned chemical weapons spurring the international community to the brink of military action. The Fear of Breathing is a hard-hitting evocation of a life or death conflict, experienced from the inside, whose international revival could not be timelier.

To uncover these personal stories from the conflict, award-winning journalists Paul Wood of the BBC and Ruth Sherlock of The Daily Telegraph, together with theatre director Zoe Lafferty, travelled into Syria covertly, circumventing the ban on journalists and restrictions on movement for all non-Syrians. Immersed in Syria's suffocating environment of oppression and fear, they spoke to protesters facing tanks and guns, soldiers who deserted to form the Free Army, activists who dream of change, as well as citizens who love President Bashar al-Assad and are terrified of a future without him.

The Japanese premiere will star two of Japan's leading actors, Nagare Hagiwara and Yoji Matsuda.
Yoji Matsuda is famous to western audiences for playing the leading roles in the animation films by Academy-award-winning Hayao Miyazaki, Nausicaa of the Valley of the Wind and Princess Mononoke.

One Two Works is Japan's first documentary theatre company, founded in 2009 to create new work dealing with serious social problems and the most pressing concerns of our time. As well as several new Japanese plays, they have staged productions of William Golding's The Lord of the Flies and Robin Soans's Talking to Terrorists.

Akasaka Red Theatre is located in the centre of Tokyo and is famous for the variety of its productions, including modern drama, Shakespeare, Rakugo and musicals, and renowned for its rigorous artistic expectations and consistency.

Director Toshinobu Kojo, the director of One Two Works, is one of the most revered artists in Japan. He has worked in theatre for more than 30 years and as both a director and a playwright he confronts serious social problems through journalistic analysis, emphasizing factual information with aesthetic considerations. He has directed the world premieres of many award-winning plays and received a grant from the Japanese Agency for Cultural Affairs to study in London, where he learned the method of documentary theatre from the renowned Out of Joint Theatre Company. He is an executive director of the Association of Japanese Theatre Companies and a teacher at the New National Theatre, Tokyo. His plays include The Reason You're Born, Dilemma, Dilemma, The Place Nobody Has Ever Seen and Peace on the Dead.

Writer/Journalist Ruth Sherlock was named 'Young Journalist of the Year' in the 2012 British Press Awards. The judges praised her "astonishing collection of work" during the Arab Spring, showing "skill as well as courage" to produce a series of "harrowing" accounts. She has lived with fighters on the frontlines in Libya and has been working undercover in Syria. She reported on Egypt, Libya and Syria for The Telegraph, The Sunday Times, The Scotsman, The Los Angeles Times and Al Jazeera. She has been nominated for the prestigious Gaby Rado Memorial Award, given by Amnesty International for outstanding coverage of human rights.

Writer/Journalist Paul Wood has covered a dozen wars in fifteen years as a BBC foreign correspondent. He was in Baghdad for the invasion of Iraq and in Fallujah during the battle for the city. In Iraq, he and his team filmed from inside a crowd hit by multiple suicide bombs, for which he won a Golden Nymph at the Monte Carlo Television Festival and the Bayeux Award for War Correspondents. He travelled behind Serbian lines with Kosovar guerrillas in the 1999 NATO bombing and has also reported on conflicts in Bosnia, Macedonia, Chechnya, Darfur, the Palestinian territories, Afghanistan and Libya. During the Syrian uprising, he was three times smuggled across the border and into the city of Homs and produced Homs - Journey into Hell for BBC's Panorama. For the theatre, he co-wrote Off Record with Zoe Lafferty.

Writer Zoe Lafferty has worked as a director, assistant director and playwright for theatre in Afghanistan, the UK, New York, Palestine and Europe, and is an Associate Director of the Freedom Theatre Palestine and Associate Director and board member of The Red Room. Trained at Drama Centre, London, and the Vaktangov Theatre School, Moscow. Theatre includes the world premiere of Bola Agbaje's Concrete Jungle (Riverside Studios), Gaza: Breathing Space (Soho Theatre), Sho Khman? (Freedom Theatre Palestine and International Tour), Alice in Wonderland (Freedom Theatre Palestine), Adult Child /Dead Child (Edinburgh Festival and Unicorn Theatre) andNot a Step Back (Cochrane Theatre). Assistant Direction includes The Dresser (Watford Palace Theatre), Waiting For Godot (Freedom Theatre Palestine and American Tour), Protozoa (The Red Room) and Oikos (The Red Room). She co-wrote Off Record with Paul Wood, a verbatim piece on the Israeli/Palestine conflict, performed at the Soho Theatre with Harriet Walter, Jennie Stoller, Hilton McRae and Madeline Appiah.

"It can hardly be bettered...essential viewing." Dominic Cavendish, The Telegraph (????)
"Genuinely enlightening...extraordinary power." Paul Taylor, The Independent (????)
"An electrifying, visceral experience." Tom Wicker, Time Out Critics' Choice (????)
"Electric staging...eloquent." Claire Allfree, Metro (????)
"The most powerful, chilling and thought-provoking piece of theatre on stage now." The Public Reviews (?????)
"Theatre we can't afford to miss." The Good Review (?????)
"An incredibly powerful piece." Natasha Tripney, The Stage
"Genuinely revealing...the first-hand testimony is riveting." Michael Billington, The Guardian
"Immerses the audience in the everyday lives of Syrians." Reuters

"This work asks all Japanese people, however safe their area, about terrorism." Yomiuri Shinbun
"This work of documentary theatre makes us face a disturbing truth." Asahi Shinbun

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