History of ButohOUT!


(photo: Brig Bee)

(photo: Brig Bee)

Stages of Momentum (2001-2016)

Between 2001 and 2009Yumi Umiumare and Tony Yap  developed the Beyond Butoh Series as an experimental laboratory to investigate what is understood to be the intrinsic meaning of Butoh.   

In 2015 Yumi attended the eX...it an International Butoh Exchange Festival in Germany. This inspired her to create a mini festival when she returned to Australia. In the same year, Takashi Takiguchi invited two Butoh masters from Tokyo -  Seisaku and Yuri Nagaoka  to lead master classes and two nights of performance.. The following year, 2016, Butoh master Katsura Kan from Kyoto was invited by Helen Smith to present public workshops and a performance presentation involving local arts communities and performers.  

The purpose of both events was to increase interest and engage local communities in an exploration of  Butoh. These initiatives built momentum and paved the way for the establishment of a Butoh festival in Melbourne, Australia.  This festival celebrates this fascinating and hitherto unexplored dance form.   

Evocation of Butoh (2017) and ButohOUT! Festival (2018-)

Since its inception in 2017 - titled Evocation of Butoh, the ButohOUT! Festival has offered a unique collection of artistic and cultural activities designed to engage with local communities in Victoria, initiating artistic and cultural exchange through the powerful performing arts medium, Butoh, discovering an Australian context for this Japanese theatre and dance form by drawing upon Australian culture and landscape.

The aim of this annual festival is to create accessible and inclusive opportunities for performance through the unique art form of Butoh (see ‘What is Butoh’). Due to its fluidity of expressive boundaries, Butoh has an inclusive approach to movement, accessible for people who have never performed before. As ButohOUT! is the only festival that showcases Butoh in Australia, we are passionately committed to developing this annual festival into an event making a sustained contribution to the richness of performance practice in Victoria.

Every year the ButohOUT! Festival offers a series of Butoh workshops, a performance-making creative laboratory, a performance season, an outdoor free performance and forum/discussion group. 

Evocation of Butoh 2017
‘What is Butoh in Australia?’

March 2017 at LaMama Courthoutse, Melbourne Australia

In 2017, the first Butoh Festival Evocation of Butoh, examined the simple yet profound question, “what ‘darkness' is in our post-modern, materialistic, politically-driven society, particularly in a multicultural society, such as Melbourne”. The darkness can be interpreted as 'abandoned', 'invisible', 'institutionalised' or a 'shadowed' existence or it can refer metaphorically to our spiritual sphere.
In the first year of the festival, we explored particularly the aspect of darkness as well as light and colour within the darkness, from the context of our individual, cultural and contemporary perspective.   

 A sold-out performance season was held over four nights at La Mama Courthouse, Melbourne, Australia as part of Asia TOPA. The show included three different performances by Helen Smith, Yumi Umiumare and Tony Yap with Brendon O’Connor and Jonathan Rainin as well as guest Butoh Master from Germany, Yumiko Yoshioka. 

Production Team

Artistic Director/ Yumi Umiumare
Artistic Advisor / Tony Yap
Co-Producers/ Yumi Umiumare & Takashi Takiguchi
Technical Manager &Forum Facilitator / Alana Hoggart
Lighting Design/ Bronwyn Pringle
Technical Operator / Jason Crip
Publication Design / Tony Yap
Video Documentation / Takeshi Kondo
Photography documentation / Mifumi Obata
Technical support / Meika Clark, Shannon Quinn and Darius Kedros


Creative Victoria
City of Yarra
Multicultural Arts of Victoria
Financial Support for Documentation/Satoh House

ButohOUT! Festival 2018
’Body~Our Closest Nature’

April 2018 at Abbotsford Convent - Oratory, Melbourne Australia

The focus for the 2018 festival was ‘body-specific’.  Over two months, ButohOUT! delivered public workshops, performances and a forum to explore and discuss what Australian Butoh aesthetics are, by offering a new, challenging and potentially confronting experience for participants and the audience. Through the two months of intensive workshops facilitated by Yumi Umiumare and Tony Yap, we generated new ensemble and solo works with the participants, that were performed at indoor and outdoor venues at Abbotsford Convent.   

Local performers were Tony Yap & Brendon O’Conner along with musician Reuben Lewis, and Yumi Umiumare accompanied by musician Ayako Fujii, as well as Weave Movement Theatre.  Our international guest artists were Agung Gunawan and his Breathing Forest Dance Theatre and Whiffling of the Forest Gamelan Ensemble - fourteen dancers and musicians from East Java, Indonesia.  

The two-week performance season attracted an audience of 540. Over the two month festival 88 individuals participated in the series of workshops.    

Production Team

Artistic Director / Yumi Umiumare
Artistic Advisor / Tony Yap
Co-Producers / Takashi Takiguchi & Yumi Umiumare
Lighting Designer / Bronwyn Pringle
Stage Manager / Adrian Tomas Sneeuw
Lighting Design / Bronwyn Pringle
Lighting Operator / Jason Crick
Sound Technician / Operator/ Aidan Phrase
Graphic Design / Editing: Tony Yap
Forum Facilitators / How Ngean Lim
Front of House Co-ordinator / Kei Murakami
Video documentation / Takeshi Kondo
Photography documentation / Mifumi Obata

Partnership and Support

Abbotsford Convent Foundation
Creative Victoria
City of Yarra
ImPermanence Productions
Multicultural Arts of Victoria
Rainbow Project
Tony Yap Company

Volunteer with many thanks

Adam Forbes
Helen Soemardjo
Holly Huon
Kendra Keller
Mark Reily
Ria Soemardjo
Wendy Smith