Yumi Suzuki co-founded the Jitensha Kinqureat theater company with friends at Nihon Joshi Daigaku (Japan Women’s University) in 1982, and it was not long before the Tokyo troupe gained a prominent reputation and a keen following for its true-to-life plays in colloquial language about the lives of young women.

Suzuki’s stagings and her open, spirited personality were soon drawing invitations for her to direct in theater genres as diverse as mainstream commercial musicals, artsy foreign dramas and plays for children. The 46-year-old, who as a child dreamed of being a professional storyteller, has also initiated several successful collaborations with other Japanese directors, presenting series of themed plays, starting in 2005 with a trilogy of works by English playwright Terence Rattigan, who was previously virtually unknown in Japan.

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