ricca ricca*festa (International Theater Festival OKINAWA for Young Audience) is an annual summer performing arts festival for children and young people as well as for grown-ups. The festival presents diverse range of theatre, dance, puppetry, physical theatre, circus and interdisciplinary works from Japan, Asia and all over the world, produces various international collaborative projects and organises symposiums, seminars and workshops.
The first International Theater Festival OKINAWA for Young Audience took place in 1994, organized jointly by several towns in the middle part of Okinawa Island. After the first edition, small scale festivals were organized in the same towns. In 2005, the festival made a fresh start with its venue focused just in Okinawa City. It was the 60th anniversary since the Battle of Okinawa (the WWII). Since then the festival has been held every summer.
In 2014, when the festival celebrated its 10th anniversary, it moved its main venue to Naha, the capital city of Okinawa Prefecture, and also started to introduce a part of its programme in Tokyo due to a long demand in the mainland.
The festival holds a strong international network too. In 2012, the festival was selected to host the very 1st International Meeting of ASSITEJ (International Association of Theaters for Children and Young People), the first attempt of the organization to offer the place where artists and practitioners meet and talk about the current situation of theater for children and young people in the world. With many international productions being a premiere in Japan or Asia, the festival has established the role as a platform for non-Asian companies to gain the foothold in Asia and Japan. For Japanese artist, it is an opportunity to introduce their works to international presenters and programmers and exchange with foreign artists.
Since 2013, ricca ricca*festa acts as the chair festival of ATYA (Asian Alliance of Theatre Festivals for Young Audiences) and strives to develop the network in Asia.
Please see the Archives page for our programmes of last 10 years.
In 2015, the festival adopted a new nick name, ricca ricca*festa.
"ricca ricca" means "let's go" in Okinawan dialect. We hope to be a festival that everyone go together.
In Japanese, it can be written as 立夏 (start of summer) and 六花 (snow). The festival takes place at the beginning of summer holiday for children, and we wish the festival will be the first great memory of summer. The asterisk (*) is the image of snow, which can be never seen in Okinawa except at theatre, with the idea theatre can be a place to meet a new world.
Also in Italian, it means "rich". We hope the festival will be a place for you to spend a rich time with your family and friends.
ricca ricca*festa aims to nurture rich personalities and creative minds by sharing the emotional experiences through the diverse festival programme and developing the sense of respect, mutual understanding and friendship.
The festival strives to proceed with children to the peaceful world by promoting the spirits of Okinawa: Ichariba-Chodee (One encounter makes people siblings) and Bankoku Shinryo (Interacting builds the bridge between countries).
The festival has developed to be a place where local communities and international artists meet and established as a new platform of cultural presentation in Japan.
The festival aims to provide emotional experiences to be shared with family and friends. Children encounter with wonderful productions and artists from the world and establish emotional relationship beyond languages. Adults are surprised and fascinated to see children’s faces drawn into the performance. The festival nurtures the heart to love the arts of the world and the arts of Japan.
The festival aims to nurture rich humanity and sensibility by presenting high quality productions for children and young people so that they can share the emotional experiences with their family and friends.
Icharibachoodee (one encounter makes people siblings) and Bankoku Shinryo (being a bridge between countries by exchange) are the Okinawan spirit we wish to promote through the festival. A festival is a community where various people with different backgrounds such as nationality, culture, language and disabilities get together. By creating a safe environment to recognise and accept each other and to encourage the conversations, the festival aims to proceed to the peaceful world.
With the historical and geographical background of Okinawa, the festival aims to be a hub for the arts, culture and the creative individuals to meet, interact and inspire each other and that the possibilities for theatre for children and young people would develop further.
By getting involved in the festival as an audience, a volunteer, a performer, a staff or a participant, the festival cultivate creative human resources with wide perspective, both locally and internationally, and the skill to actively interact with others.
“Theater is Nuchigusui”
“Nuchi du Takara” is the spirit of Okinawa
Protect and hand down life, even in hard times
“Nuchigusui” is what supports “Nuchi du Takara”
“Nuchigusui” nurtures spirit and life
Nuchigusui means ‘healing for life’ in Okinawan dialect. Okinawan people would say ‘It was such a Nuchigusui!’ after seeing a wonderful performance.
We believe theatre is a wonderful place where people can experience joy, sadness and many other emotions together. Festival crews take great care to create spaces to present works by artists for audiences to share various lives and feelings.
We continue the festival with the hope that our audiences spend a rich time with family, friends and loved ones at the festival.
The character of the festival was designed by an Okinawan artist Bokunen Naka and was given to the festival's General Producer Hisashi Shimoyama as a gift when he first organised the International Theater Festival OKINAWA for Young Audience in 1994. Since then the character has been loved by our audiences.
This character is Kijimuna, an Okinawan spirit which is believed to live in a Gajumaru tree.