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The Great Race! Tours across the UK May – July 2020

The Great Race ! A Thousand Cranes latest show perfect for the Olympic year

The Great Race!, written and directed by Vicky Ireland. Design by Mila Saunders. Music and Animation by Julian Butler. Performed by Haruka Kuroda (from CBBC’s Officially Amazing) and Windson Liong.

For children aged 4-7, their family and friends. Click on the venue links below for tickets and more information.

2 May

3 May 

8-9 May

10 May

16 May

17 May

23-24 May

25 May

26 May

27 May

29-30 May

6 June

7 June

11 June

13-14 June

20 June

21 June

27 June

11 July

The Jade Emperor is looking for twelve heroic animals to care for the planet. How will he choose them? By challenging them to a Great Race!

Meet a group of determined animals as they limber up for the race of their lives. Because this is no ordinary contest. The animals must cross a mighty river, scale a towering mountain and outwit their cunning competitors. How will overcome these obstacles? With a bit of courage and a lot of imagination.  

In the year of the Tokyo Olympics, The Great Race! is the perfect way to introduce children to the legend of the Eastern Zodiac. They’ll learn the origins of the story, and they’ll find out how to work out their zodiac sign.

The Great Race! is brought to you by A Thousand Cranes, who create visual, vibrant theatre that draws on the stories and theatre traditions of Japan and East Asia. Get ready for some adorable puppets, clever animated effects and specially-composed music.

Spring tour of The Little Mochi Man

The Little Mochi Man written and directed by Vicky Ireland. Design by Mila Saunders. Music and Animation by Julian Butler. Performed by Haruka Kuroda and Natsumi Kuroda.

For children aged 4-7, their family and friends. Click on links for tickets and information.

3rd Feb             Half Moon Theatre, Limehouse 

4th Feb             artsdepot, North Finchley          

9-11th Feb       the egg, Theatre Royal, Bath      

17th Feb           Lincoln Japan Festival, Lincoln  

18th Feb           Birdhouse, Grimsby                    

24th Feb           Birmingham Hippodrome           

3rd March        Nuffield Southampton Theatres Campus

4th March        Greenwich Theatre, Greenwich        

10th March      The Cockpit, Marylebone                  

11th March      Cambridge Junction, Cambridge      

17th March      The Courtyard, Hereford                    

23-25th March Polka Theatre, Wimbledon                

12th May          Stratford Circus Arts Centre, Stratford

20th May          The Civic, Barnsley                            

23-27th May    Little Angel Theatre, Islington              

30th May          Salisbury Playhouse, Salisbury           


“A little cooked rice ball, Mochi Man, despite being the very last scrap in the pan, runs away to seek his fortune, in the country of Japan!”

It’s almost New Year and little Mochi Man, tired of being bullied because of his small size, decides to run away.

Join him on his adventures as he travels from the snowy mountains of Hokkaido, to the hustle and bustle of Tokyo, meeting many wondrous creatures and characters along the way, including The Gingerbread Man and a very fast bullet train!

What dangers lurk around the corner? Will he make friends, and will he make it back home in time for the celebrations?

Mixing modern with traditional Japanese forms of story-telling and inspired by the traditions of Shogatsu (Japanese New Year celebrations) A Thousand Cranes brings a brand new piece of inventive theatre for young audiences; thought-provoking, funny and just a bit different.

With ‘origami’ puppets, animation and specially composed music, this is the perfect introduction to Japan for young children.



Pecha Kucha at Japan House

Kumiko was invited to give a Pecha Kucha presentation on behalf of A Thousand Cranes at the press launch for the exciting new Japan House London on May 22

The Launch was held at the impressive Magazine Restaurant beneath the iconic waves of the late Zaha Hadid’s extension to the  Serpentine Sackler Gallery. Kumiko was one of 6 Pecha Kucha’s presented (20 slides x 20 seconds). Her Pecha Kucha will be available to view later on

We look forward to working with Japan House in the future


Little Mochi Man’s life begins …

Research and development begins on our new show Little Mochi Man for children aged 4-7 years and their families. We are now seeking bookings for Spring 2018. Please contact for more information.

With support from Arts Council England and artsdepot we are looking forward to a busy and productive period in artsdepot’s creation space discovering the adventures of the runaway Mochi Man.

Mochi is a traditional rice cake made at New Year time by pounding special glutinous rice with a mortar and pestle.

See the spectacular skill involved in high speed mochi pounding below!



Tanabata Star Festival at Kew Gardens

Haruka will be telling the wonderful tale of Tanabata in the Minka House, Kew Gardens on Wed 3 and Thurs 4 August.

12.00, 13.30, 15.00

Join us for this special event.





Tales from Old Japan at Bedford Park Festival, Chiswick, London

Kumiko will be performing Tales from Old Japan at the Bedford Park Festival in Chiswick London on Saturday June 18 at 11am.

Tickets £5 suitable for children and their carers 4+

To book tickets and for more information click HERE

Final show of Me and My Cat? at the Linton Children’s Book Festival

This is the 6th bi-annual Children’s Book Festival in Linton Village in South Cambs. All the events are free and the organisers are tireless and dedicated volunteers committed to sharing the joy of reading and books. We’ve been fortunate enough to be invited to perform all our shows to date and this year we will be presenting Me and My Cat? fresh from the Bermuda Festival of the Performing Arts !  Saturday 21 May 10.15am



Tales from Old Japan at the V and A

On Sunday 1 May Kumiko performed Tales from Old Japan to over 1000 adults and children over the course of the day.  We were in the enormous Raphael Gallery together with Koi carps and samurai hat makers, origami folders and dancers. Despite all the distractions (and with the help of a brilliant mic) we had great fun (Vicky on sound) and virtually everyone stayed to hear the tales to the end.  Not bad for a bit of pop up theatre,

Bermuda Success

Bermuda Festival

Vicky, Kumiko and Julian had a fabulous time in Bermuda.

Hamilton High Street

Hamilton High Street


sign outside the Earl Cameron Theatre


Highlight on the Monday when Detective K played to 378 (max seating capacity at the Ear Cameron) local school children who absolutely loved it. We were very well looked after and very grateful to everyone who made our trip such a success.

Satoshi Kitamura Me and My Cat?

Spot Satoshi’s book in the Bermuda book shop

A Thousand Cranes fly to Bermuda!

We are thrilled to be to performing at the Bermuda Festival of the Performing Arts February 6 – 8th  2016. Vicky, Kumiko and Julian will be flying out on 4th February and Detective K has agreed to blog about their adventures if she can manage the technical challenges she knows she will face. If she can manage Satoshi’s skypo-monitor then we think she can.

Performances will be taking place at the Earl Cameron Theatre, City Hall, Hamilton named after the wonderful Bermuda-born actor Earl Cameron.