South Ehime English Drama Society




Uchiko is a town between Hijikawa and Matsuyama (Shikoku's biggest city) and is three times the size of Hijikawa. Once famous, before the advent of electricity, for its wax and candle industry, its chief attractions are now its street of old, well preserved buildings and its 80-year-old Kabuki theatre known as Uchiko-za. GB's first substantial connection with the town was when its Education Department invited Reitaku University English Drama Group to perform in Uchiko-za in March, 1993.


When KGB moved to Hijikawa in 1994, GB was invited to teach English in an Uchiko community course. His class was Group C and aimed at presenting a short play in English. At the end of the year, its members wanted to create their own English drama circle and planned to call it The C's (after a Japanese pop group called the B's) or The Seeds. This led to the name South Ehime English Drama Society (S.E.E.D.S.), and they presented their first public performance "The Sleeping Beauty" in March, 1996. (See the S.E.E.D.S. Photos page.)


Since then, GB directed S.E.E.D.S. productions in Uchiko-za every March until 2002, when KGB moved to Kochi Prefecture. At first it seemed quite revolutionary to perform English drama in a traditional Japanese theatre, but their performances of "Hamlet" in 1997 and "Oedipus the King" in 1998 demonstrated clearly that there are many similarities between the themes (such as murder and revenge) of European and Japanese classical drama, so soon the group had built up quite a following. Even the town's mayor acted in two productions!


Membership of S.E.E.D.S., drawn from all walks of life, included teachers, housewives, university and& high-school students, farmers & civil servants. The group's motto was "Little Seeds, Golden Deeds", the idea being to eliminate the kind of egoism that mars so many amateur dramatic societies and to promote a warm sense of mutual creation and co-operation. The group's logo was a burning candle (See above centre) to link the brightness of newly created art with the town's former wax industry. An illustrated history of S.E.E.D.S. is now being compiled.

GB & Uchiko Town