Born in Fukui, west coast of Japan. A gifted pianist in my youth, but when the crunch came, opted for university, not conservatoire. To a young vibrant mind, the prospect of devoting several hours a day to playing piano, for life, seemed unreasonably monastic.
Graduated from International Christian University, Tokyo, with a BA in Humanities (thesis: Kabuki), crossed the Pacific and enrolled in School of Fine and Applied Arts, Boston University. Learned all aspects of Theatre Arts: Drama, Directing, Acting, Lighting & Choreography. Directed Federico Garcia Lorca's Blood Wedding for the Master of Fine Art in Directing.
Some work experience in US summer theatres, in particular, performing the heroine Tsu in Junji Kinoshita’s Twilight Crane at the legendary Provincetown Playhouse, Mass. One of the most memorable experiences of this period was singing the Song of a German Mother in Ed Thommen's production ofThe Private Lives of the Master Race by Bertolt Brecht in Boston. Drove across the States with a friend to San Francisco, where I took a homebound flight.
On returning to Japan, joined the Gekidan Mingei, a leading left-leaning Tokyo theatre company, as an assistant director. Shocked to find the feudalistic culture that still ruled the supposedly progressive theatre group. During this period, I was also an associate of the Kindai Eikyo Film Association, led by the film director Kaneto Shindo (The Island, Onibaba). Played the lead role of Mother in their semi-documentary feature film about a severely handicapped child, We, The Human Family.
Returned to the US as a Fulbright scholar and studied with Jan Kott at University of California, Berkeley, for a PhD degree in Dramatic Art. The PhD programme equipped directors with comprehensive knowledge of the history of theatre and drama, involving also training in the practical aspects of theatre crafts. My special interests: the works of Sophocles and Samuel Beckett. For my dissertation, however, I chose a topic close to my heart: the folk religious ritual origins of Kabuki (The Essence of Kabuki: A study of folk religious ritual elements in the early Kabuki Theatre, Publisher: University of California, Berkeley, 1982). The research took me to remote villages in the mountainous regions of Japan, where people still perform ancient rituals of life renewal. Kott, then a visiting professor at Berkeley, was inspirational. His radical and critical approach to theatre was indeed eye-opening.
Married to a British physicist and moved to Cambridge, UK. Lecturer in Japanese Theatre and Literature, School of Oriental and African Studies, University of London (1981-1994). Founded Workshop 5 in 1988 with the aim of promoting innovative intercultural dramatic works. Organized London International Theatre Symposium Japanese Theatre and the West in association with the Institute of Contemporary Arts as part of the program for Japan Festival 91. Conference proceedings published as a special edition of Contemporary Theatre Review: Japanese Theatre and the West, 1994 (Volume 1 Part 2, Harwood Academic Publishers, Switzerland). My contribution: issue editor & contributor: The Aesthetics of Journey – an Approach to East/West Theatre Interaction, pp.145-159.
Resigned from SOAS in 1994 in order to pursue theatre work full time. Return to web pages for details of my selected works.
A. Horie-Webber, Modernization of Japanese Theatre: The Shingeki Movement, in Modern Japan ed. W. G. Beasley. George Allen & Unwin 1975, pp.147-165
Akemi Horie, Kabuki, in The Sexual Imagination from Acker to Zola: ed. Harriett Gilbert. Jonathan Cape 1993, pp.135-136