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Campus Now

Midsummer Issue (Jul.)

Waseda rediscovery


Cover & Top Photo: Yoichi Sato (Professor, Faculty of Social Sciences)

cover story cover story

Outdoor theatre in the summer evening

Shoyo Tsubouchi, a scholar who made great contributions to the early years of Waseda University, celebrated his 70th birthday in 1928. In the same year, he finished translating all 40 volumes of The Complete Works of Shakespeare, a work to which he devoted half his life.

To celebrate this achievement, the Tsubouchi Memorial Theatre Museum was constructed in 1928. The theatre museum was modeled after the Fortune Playhouse, one of the Shakespearean theatres in the Elizabethan area. The front of the theatre museum is a stage, dressing rooms are located in the rear exhibitions rooms, the 2nd floor hall is an upper stage, both wings of the building are balcony seats, and the courtyard is general seating.

The upper front of the theatre museum bears the inscription "All the world is a stage" in Latin. The theatre museum is unique throughout the world in that its collection features theatre material from all ages and countries. Indeed, the very structure of the theatre museum itself is a precious theatre material.

The first performance to be held on this stage was The Merchant of Venice in 1947.

Commemorative performances have been held every 5 years beginning from 1948, the 20th anniversary of the theatre museum. Romeo and Juliet was performed in 1978.

In midsummer, when gazing upon a nighttime view of the campus from the 2nd floor balcony where Juliet stood, there is the atmosphere of an outdoor theatre after theatergoers have left following a performance of A Midsummer Night's Dream.