Black Stripe Theater is a group of international directors, actors, designers, and theater artists producing and performing English language theater in Tokyo. We are dedicated to presenting theater of a high standard using material by contemporary playwrights. The company formed in 2007 after founding members Ian Martin, Chris Parham and Walter Roberts collaborated on a production of Death of a Salesman. The company name Black Stripe comes from a line in Dumb Waiter by Harold Pinter, the company’s inaugurual production, and it is spoken by the character Gus who is ruminating about the crockery:
‘He’s laid on some very nice crockery this time, I’ll say that. It’s sort of striped. There’s a white stripe. It’s very nice. I’ll say that. You know, sort of round the cup. Round the rim. All the rest of it’s black, you see. Then the saucer’s black, except for right in the middle, where the cup goes, where it’s white. Then the plates are the same, you see. Only they’ve got a black stripe – the plates across the middle. Yes, I’m quite taken with the crockery.’
In 2017, our tenth anniversary, we launch Black Stripe Theater in education to specialize in bringing drama performances and workshops in English to schools and institutions in Tokyo. We promote English Language theater in Tokyo and encourage young people to see theater as a vehicle of learning and expression.
Chris Parham and Walter Roberts are founding members of the company.
Chris Parham trained at the Central School of Speech and Drama in London. His credits include Welcome to Dongmakhol with Sakijidouji Theater Company and Anjin, English Samurai with the RSC. With Black Stripe, he has taken parts in The Dumb Waiter, The Homecoming, A Number, Kiss of a Spiderwoman, The Possiblities and A Life in the Theater. He has directed Death of a Salesman, Glengarry Glen Ross, Schweyk in the Second World War, Out at Sea and Dealer’s Choice.
Walter Roberts trained at the Goodman School of Drama in Chicago. He has professional experience throughout America and Japan. He has worked with the National Shakespeare Company of New York and the Classical Symphony Orchestra of Chicago. He has toured Japan with productions of Cyrano De Bergerac and Brecht’s Caucasian Chalk Circle. In Tokyo, he has taken lead roles in Death of a Salesman, Glengarry Glen Ross, A Life in the Theater and Dealer’s Choice.