ButohOUT! 2019


ButohOUT!  2019

Abbotsford Convent
12 MAR – 12 MAY 2019

ButohOUT! 2019 is a festival to celebrate creative communities in Victoria and beyond through the profound performance art medium of Butoh. Originally called Dance of Darkness, Butoh was conceived in Japan in the late 50’s and early 60’s, during the social turmoil after the war.

Co-produced by Japanese-Australian artists Yumi Umiumare and Takashi Takiguchi, ButohOUT! 2019 will challenge the commonly held conception of Butoh as dark and grotesque and ask:

“Can the audience laugh at Butoh?”,

“Can we do comedy in Butoh?”

In partnership with Abbotsford Convent Foundation, the two-month program consisting of public workshops, performance and discussion groups will run between March and May 2019. Following successful festivals in 2017 and 2018, ButohOUT! 2019, with the theme ‘Forbidden Laughter’, will focus on surreal comedy from multi-disciplinary performance mediums including Butoh, Cabaret, Bouffon, Burlesque, Physical Theatre and visual installations.

Artistic director Yumi Umiumare
Producer Takashi Takiguchi
Dramaturg Maude Davey
Visual artist Pimpisa Tinpalit
Funded by Creative Victoria
In Partnership with The Abbotsford Convent Foundation

“The action of laughing is like the breaking of the stiff mask of ego. When we laugh,

the authentic spirit jumps out from deep inside from us”  

Keiichi Ueno

Abbotsford Convent

Abbotsford Convent



Weekly Butoh Workshop
By Yumi Umiumare

Every Tuesday
12 March - 16 April 6-9pm
@The Oratory

Facilitated by an acclaimed Japanese Australian Butoh dancer, choreographer and a creator of Butoh Cabaret Yumi Umiumare, participants will explore the fundamental method and discipline of Butoh – its philosophy and physical expression – within the framework of contemporary Japanese and Western physical theatre-making.

Experimenting with both internal and external body expression through the theme of ‘forbidden laughter’, the individual will access their authentic essence and be guided to create their own narratives and movement sequences over the 6 sessions. The workshop is open to all levels of experience and artistic disciplinary.

This workshop is a part of the ButohOUT! Festival 2019. The culminated works will be presented at the Industrial school at Abbotsford Convent  2 (Thur) - 12 (Sun) May.(optional)



Weekend Workshop
Breaking the Dark MasK:
ButoH, Burlesque Theatre
& Mask making

with Maude Davey & Willow J Conway
Facilitated by Yumi Umiumare

(Fri) 29 March 6pm - 9pm
(Sat) 30 March 10am-5pm
(Sun) 31 March 10am-5pm
@The Industrial School

This unique series of workshops will guide the participants to explore the interdisciplinary elements in Butoh, through Acting, Burlesque and Mask making sculptures, working with award winning guest artists, Maude Davey(Theatre director),  Willow J Conway(Miss Burlesque Australia 2016/17), Pimpisa Tinpalit(Sculptor), facilitated by Yumi Umiumare.

The word for laughter in Japanese, warau笑う comes from the verb wareru 割れる- to break, crack or split. Cracking open into their unknown possibilities, the renown artists in their expertise will guide the participants to experiment through their diverse facets and qualities of expression, exploring their individual darkness, lightness and laughter, expanding the method of Butoh.

The workshop is open to all levels of experience and artistic disciplinary.


(+$40 for Sculpture materials)


Facilitated by an acclaimed Japanese Australian Butoh dancer and choreographer Yumi Umiumare, this workshop will introduce various Butoh philosophies and Yumi’s unique Butoh Cabaret methods, including characterisation, provocation, and transformation. Using what Yumi describes as ‘BodySpecific’ styles, she leads workshops to stimulate and uncover participants’ own unique and authentic movements, working through images, narrative and abstraction. Unfolding the expression of ‘laughter’ in different contexts, participants have the opportunity to create sequences, emerging from their personal poetry and movements using narrative, metaphor and rituals.

The workshop is open to all levels of experience and artistic disciplinary.


Weekend Butoh
Intensive Workshop
by Yumi Umiumare

(Fri) 5 April 6pm - 9pm
(Sat) 6 April 10am-5pm
(Sun) 7 April 10am-5pm
@ the Oratory


This is a taster workshop introducing Butoh in playful and family friendly ways. Step inside the playful and imaginative world of Japanese Butoh. Playing with everyday games like peekaboo and hide-and-seek, participants will jump headfirst into a world of transformation and shape-shifting, unleashing their inner animal, kook and spook inside and outdoors of Abbotsford Convent. 

Free Event

Family Workshop

(Sat) 23 March
Session 1 - 10am - 11am
Session 2 - 11am - 12pm
@ The Oratory


Celebrating the unique nature and cultural dialogue through the powerful performance medium of Butoh, the numbers of short works will be presented at the site specific domestic, surreal and installation spaces at the industry school of Abbotsford Convent.

Butoh goes beyond the confines of specific culture, gender, status and religion, aspiring to universal expression that touches the true nature of humanity.


The word for laughter in Japanese, warau笑う comes from the verb wareru 割れる- to break, crack or split. Multiple images, body movements and narratives are created through the focal point of ‘laughing’. The surreal narratives are woven between the short works, through a mixture of the sacred and the carnal, the earthly and the divine, the contemporary and the mythic, Eastern and Western sensibilities in a contemporary Australian set up.


2(Thur)-12(Sun) May 2019
at The industrial school

Tickets will be released closer to the date.

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Butoh Out 2018 Archive

See all the activities from last year’s festival.

Photos from ButohOUT! 2018

Performance Season at Abbotsford Convent

Photo by  Mifumi Obata