Toshiki Okada

Born in Yokohama in 1973. Playwright / Director. He formed the theater company chelfitsch in 1997. Since then he has written and directed all of the company's productions, practicing a distinctive methodology for creating plays, and has come to be known for his use of hyper-colloquial Japanese and unique choreography. In 2005, his play “Five Days in March” won the prestigious 49th Kishida Kunio Drama Award. He participated in Toyota Choreography Award 2005 with “Air Conditioner (Cooler)” (2005), garnering much attention. His collection of short stories titled "The End of the Special Time We Were Allowed" was published in February 2007 and awarded the Oe Kenzaburo Prize. He has been on the judging panel for the Kishida Kunio Drama Award since 2012. In 2013, his first book on theatrology was published by Kawade Shobo Shinsha. From 2016, he directed works in a repertory program at Münchner Kammerspiele, one of the foremost public theaters in Germany, for four consecutive seasons. "The Vacuum Cleaner" has been selected as one of the “ten remarkable productions” by Theatertreffen 2020, the German theater festival. In 2020, he won the 27th Yomiuri Theater Awards Selection Committee Special Prize with his Thai artists-collaboration piece "Pratthana - A Portrait of Possession," which is an adaptation of a novel by Thai author Uthis Haemamool.In 2021, he won The Yomiuri Bungaku-sho (prize for literature) with “Unfulfilled Ghost and Monster - ZAHA / TSURUGA”.


The theater company chelfitsch was founded in 1997 by Toshiki Okada, who writes and directs all of its productions. Applauded for its distinctive methodology, which applies the relationship between quirky speech and physical movements, it attracts keen attention, both inside and outside Japan, as a troupe in the vanguard of contemporary theater. Its slovenly, "noisy" physicality, which seems to exaggerate ordinary gestures at times and seems not to do so at others, was even likened to dance. The company made its debut abroad in 2007, when it performed “Five Days in March” at the Kunstenfestivaldesarts, which is regarded as one of the most important festivals on the European performing arts scene, in Brussels, Belgium. It has since performed works in a total of more than 90 cities in Asia, Europe, and North America. In 2011, “Hot Pepper, Air Conditioner, and the Farewell Speech” received the critics’ award from the Association québécoise des critiques de théâtre in Montreal, Canada. In more recent years, the troupe has performed in works whose production rested on international collaboration with the world’s major festivals and theaters around the world, specifically: “Current Location” (2012), “Ground and Floor” (2013), “Super Premium Soft Double Vanilla Rich” (2014), “Time’s Journey Through a Room” (2016), and “Five Days in March – Re-creation” (2017). It continues to constantly update its methodology, which revolves around the relationship between speech and body, and explore new avenues of expression unbound by conventional dramaturgy. In 2018, it produced and exhibited/performed “Beach, Eyelids, and Curtains: chelfitsch's EIZO-Theater” at the Contemporary Art Museum Kumamoto. This piece uses projected images (“eizo”) to bring theatrical space into being. In 2019-2020, it collaborated with the artist Teppei Kaneuji and produced "Eraser Mountain" at KYOTO EXPERIMENT 2019 and "Eraser Forest" at 21st Century Museum of Contemporary Art, Kanazawa. It performed a single artistic concept in two different types of space and used the way of "EIZO-Theater” as well.