A showcase of British East Asian talent is featured in Papergang Theatre’s production of Harajuku Girls at London’s Finborough Theatre from February 24.
Harajuku Girls is a play set in the forbidden streets of Tokyo.
Three young girls desperately pursue their dreams, in a race to escape overbearing parents and dead-end jobs.
They stumble into the seedy world of dress-up, panty shops and love hotels. Only they can decide how far they’re willing to go.
Harajuku Girls tells the story of three young Japanese women desperate to pursue their dreams, despite the obstacles that society and tradition put in their way. A play about friendship, fantasy, and what it means to be free.
On Jingu Bridge in Tokyo, teenage girls dress in cosplay outfits for fun, fashion, and the fantasy of being someone else, but now their schooldays are over.
Mari wants to be an actor but her father has other plans; Keiko’s found a harmless moneymaker – a “compensated relationship” with an older man; and Yumi hopes she can get married one day and escape the dreary world of work.
As the three young women grow up and apart, they tread the fine line between empowerment and victim-hood in a desperate search for independence and the freedom to pursue their dreams.
Written by Northern Irish/Japanese playwright Francis Turnly, who is currently resident writer at the Tricycle Theatre, and directed by Jude Christian (2013 winner of the National Theatre Studio Bursary), Harajuku Girls is Nicholas Goh and Papergang’s debut production.
It has an entirely East Asian cast, starring Elizabeth Tan (Coronation Street, Waterloo Road), Haruka Abe (Cyber Bully, Cucumber) and Kunjue Li (Ripper Street, Peaky Blinders).
“With an female creative production team we are proud to be playing our part in redressing the frequent gender imbalance in the industry, both on stage and behind the scenes,” said Clarissa Widya of Papergang.
Harajuku Girls runs from February 24-March 21.