Since feudal times, Ryogoku has had a rich history as center for arts and entertainment. Therefore, when we found this old house here, we were immediately inspired by its potential to be the kind of facility for developing work that we had long dreamed of creating.
Tokyo has many venues for presenting finished work, yet we have often been struck by the relative lack of resources for the process of developing work. It is that sort of contribution that we hope to make with this studio.
Ryogoku Bear was designed to provide all the resources necessary for creation and experimentation, yet is kept affordable so that artists can fully develop their work. The basic model is of a rental rehearsal studio, but one that also hosts residencies and is well enough equipped to also present showings of works in progress and the development of new approaches.
Ryogoku Bear is an ongoing experiment in itself. We listen to the needs of the community and work on how to offer services in a sustainable way. We are also looking to expand its scope to international collaborations and exchanges, drawing on our experience in cross cultural projects. There are many challenges as this vision gets developed, but we are thankful to the support and encouragement the project has received from our vibrant and varied community of artists and supporters.
Lang Craighill (President of Green Room and founder of Ryogoku Bear) was born in Okinawa in 1959 and lived in various parts of Japan until he was six years old. He went to the United States at the beginning of elementary school, but after graduating from UC Berkeley with a double major in Anthropology and Dramatic Arts in 1984, he returned to Japan to continue his studies and to learn more about the performing arts in Japan. Over the next decade he split his time between San Francisco and Tokyo, first spending three years as technical director at Life on the Water in San Francisco, and then two years on the staff of Lighting Company Akarigumi in Tokyo. This was followed by graduate studies at San Francisco State University, the Inter University Center in Yokohama and Waseda University, which culminated in 1997 with a masters thesis on the system of support and administration for the performing arts in Japan. Since then he has been working as a freelance designer, technician, and administrator in Tokyo, and has worked as a contract employee for Pacific Basin Arts Communication (PARC), ST Spot Yokohama, An Creative, and others. Currently he focuses on providing technical management for performing arts productions traveling overseas from Japan as well as overseas productions traveling to Japan. In 2004, his company, Green Room YK, was officially incorporated.