Spring Season | February to May 2015


by Francis Turnly

Tuesday, 24 February – Saturday, 21 March 2015

The world premiere

“I don’t know a girl who hasn’t been groped on a train. There’s always someone trying to cop a feel. Might as well get paid for it.”

On Jingu Bridge in Tokyo, teenage girls dress in cosplay outfits for fun, fashion, and the fantasy of being someone else, but for Mari, Keiko and Yumi, their schooldays are over...

In a race to escape from overbearing parents, stifling dead-end jobs and economic deprivation, they find their way to Kabukicho, a district of panty shops, love hotels and image clubs, where every aspect of the body and soul can be bought and sold. Only they can decide how far they're willing to go.

As the three young women grow up and apart, they tread a dangerously fine line between empowerment and victimhood as they struggle to pursue their dreams, despite the obstacles that society and tradition put in their way.

Jude Christian –the 2013 winner of the National Theatre Studio Bursary for Emerging Directors – directs the world premiere of this provocative new play by award-winning playwright Francis Turnly which takes us deep into the neon-lit streets and forbidden passageways of Tokyo.

A play about friendship, fantasy, and what it means to be free.


Irish-Japanese playwright Francis Turnly has just won a Channel 4 Playwrights Scheme bursary to be Playwright in Residence at the Tricycle Theatre. His previous plays include Hiding (Watford Palace Theatre), Descent (Jackson’s Lane) and Bogland (Irish tour). He has written several plays for BBC Radio 4 including Pressing The Flesh, Shelter, Lullaby, Brought to Light, Homestead and Point of Departure – as well as the original Irish detective drama, Hinterland. Francis was a member of the Royal Court Theatre’s Studio, Unheard Voices and ‘the 50’ writers’ groups.


Director Jude Christian was the 2013 winner of the National Theatre Studio Bursary for Emerging Directors. Direction includes How Do You Eat An Elephant? (National Youth Theatre of Wales), I'd Rather Goya Robbed Me Of My Sleep Than Some Other Arsehole (Gate Theatre, London, and Boom Arts, Portland), Happy and The Mushroom (Pentabus Young Writers Festival), ©alculated to Death (Tête-à-Tête Opera Festival, London, and Future Shorts, Tokyo), My Romantic History (English Theatre, Berlin) and Sonata Movements (RADA). She studied directing at RADA, and is Artistic Director of Concert Theatre, an Associate Artist of Diverse City and the National Youth Theatre of Great Britain, and a Creative Associate at the Gate Theatre.


Haruka Abe | Mari

Trained at Rose Bruford College.
Theatre includes Double Negative (Camden People’s Theatre) and Pandora’s Body (Battersea Arts Centre).
Film includes title roles in Yuki and Stanley Pickle (Best Short Film at Raindance Film Festival and Newport Beach Film Festival), About Time, Merica Adams, The Substitute, 47 Ronin, The Knife That Killed Me, Scopia, Choose, Precision, Bleach and Slingers.
Television includes Cucumber, Cyberbully, Ideal, Doctors, Casualty, The Things I Haven’t Told You, Edge of Heaven, My Phone Genie, Wire in the Blood and I Live with Models.
Music Video includes the title role in Rather Be by Clean Bandit.

Nomo Gakuji | Mr Okada / Mr Chiba

Trained at the Royal Academy of Dramatic Art.
Theatre includes Siamese Twins (King’s College London), To Dear Yasushi (Tokyo and Japanese Tour for Theatre 711), Who Am I? – winner of the Grand Prize at Roxodonta Theatre Festival, Osaka (Rakuen, Tokyo, and Japanese Tour) and The Winds of God (New National Theatre, Tokyo, and Japanese Tour).
Film includes The Front and the Back, All That Remains, Ninkyo Helper, Rinjyo, Once in a Blue Moon and The Last Message.
Television includes Sokowo Nantoka (That Is Kind Of…), Last Doctor and Funny Detective.

Meg Kubota | Mrs Okada

Trained at Arts Educational Schools.
Theatre includes the title role in Hanjo (Ovalhouse), Festival For the Fish (Wimbledon Theatre), Story Project 3, Who Do We Think We Are (Southwark Playhouse) and a rehearsed reading of Liquid (Paines Plough).
Film includes Iris, the lead role in The Girl in a Bubble, Next Tuesday, All That Remains, The Followed, Fogbound, Cold Heaven and Flush.
Television includes Mr Bean, Chuggington and The Day of the Kamikaze.
Radio includes lead roles in A Pale View of the Hills and Fewer Not Less, The Great Bell, Cherry Women, Cherry Men, Wheeling Them In and Gyokusai: The Breaking Jewel.
Meg has also provided voice overs for video games, audio books and commercials.

Kunjue Li | Yumi / Fumiko

Trained at Drama Studio London.
Theatre includes Top Girls (Tristan Bates Theatre) and Popcorn (Criterion Theatre).
Film includes One, Night Bus, Tenants, City of Love, C’est La Vie, Razors, All That Remains, The Receptionist, Second Son and the lead role in One Day in Summer for which she won Best Actress at the London Chinese Micro-Film Awards.
Television includes the lead role in Ciao Britain, Peaky Blinders, One Child and Ripper Street.

Elizabeth Tan | Keiko

Trained at the Royal Central School of Speech and Drama and the National Institute of Dramatic Arts, Australia.
Theatre includes A Dream of Red Pavilions (Bush Theatre), This Isn’t Romance – winner of the Verity Bargate Award (Soho Theatre), a rehearsed reading of The Evolution of God (LoNyLa, a transatlantic arts collective), Burning Maps (Outside Edge Theatre Company), and Road to Kowloon Park (Warehouse Theatre, Croydon).
Film includes the lead role in Blink, Luck, Swinging with the Finkels, Masterwork, Love Aaj Kal, Dirty Sanchez: The Movie and Witch House.
Television includes Waterloo Road, The Syndicate, Dr Who, Spooks, Hustle, Casualty, Coronation Street, Way to Go, New Tricks, Spirit Warriors, Hallo Panda and Hotel Babylon.
Radio includes Crimson China and This Isn’t Romance.

Sadao Ueda | Panty Shop Owner / Mr Narita / Mr Nakamura

Trained at the Academy of Creative Training, Brighton.
Theatre includes Privates on Parade (Noël Coward Theatre), Red Oleander, The Flies (Camden People’s Theatre) and Twin Stars (Unicorn Theatre).
Film includes London Has Fallen, What We Did on Our Holiday, Super Bob, Gambit, Speed Racer and Ambleton Delight.
Television includes I Live With Models and Vicious.
Radio includes Railway Man, Global Reach and After the Quake.


For her production of I'd Rather Goya Robbed Me Of My Sleep Than Some Other Arsehole at the Gate Theatre

“A sinewy, masculine text, given a remarkable production” Four Stars, Maddy Costa, The Guardian.

“The strange inner world...is strikingly drawn out by Christian’s production, which has created a captivating visual and aural landscape...this arresting production makes its searching, impotent fury feel uncannily resonant.” Catherine Love, Exeunt Magazine.

“Jude Christian’s inventively bizarre staging” Sarah Hemming, The Financial Times.


Tuesday, 24 February – Saturday, 21 March 2015

Tuesday to Saturday Evenings at 7.30pm.
Sunday Matinees at 3.00pm.
Saturday Matinees 3.00pm (from 7 March 2015).

Performance Length: Approximately two hours including one interval of twenty minutes.

Prices until 8th March 2015

Tickets £16, £14 concessions

except Tuesday Evenings £14 all seats, Friday and Saturday evenings £16 all seats.
Previews (24 and 25 February) £12 all seats.

£10 tickets for Under 30’s for performances from Tuesday to Sunday of the first week when booked online only.

£12 tickets for residents of the Royal Borough of Kensington and Chelsea on Saturday, 28 February 2015 when booked online only.

Prices from 10 March 2015

Tickets £18, £16 concessions

except Tuesday Evenings £16 all seats, Friday and Saturday evenings £18 all seats. 

For details of our Returns Policy for sold out performances, please click here



Harajuku Girls is not suitable for children.

Performance Length: Approximately two hours including one interval of twenty minutes.

Directed by Jude Christian

Set and Costume by Cécile Trémolières

Lighting Design by Sarah Mc Colgan

Sound Design by Helen Skiera

Fight Choreography by Haruka Kuroda

Presented by Nicholas Goh, Papergang Theatre and China Dolls Productions in association with Neil McPherson for the Finborough Theatre.