Yasukichi Murakami: Through a Distant Lens

Riverside Archives

This event has occurred in the past

Riverside Theatres presents
A Performance 4A Production

Yasukichi Murakami: Through a Distant Lens

Venue Lennox Theatre
Dates 16 March - 19 March 2016

This is a forgotten story of the Japanese in Australia.

“We take so many photographs. How do we know which ones are important? Which ones matter?”

Inspired by the true story of Yasukichi Murakami, a Japanese-Australian photographer, entrepreneur and inventor who was a remarkable character in northern Australia in the early 1900s, this multi-disciplinary work is a contemporary framing of Murakami’s life through the lens of modern day Japanese-Australian theatre maker Mayu Kanamori.

Along the way she uncovers a fascinating story of unlikely friendships, thwarted ambition and love. The play stirs our collective amnesia about the history of the Japanese in Australia.

Yasukichi Murakami: Through a Distant Lens is a meditation on love, immortality, and in a digital age where cameras proliferate, the nature of photography. Combining live action with photographic projections, video, original music and soundscape, it is an immersive and poetic production, which adds significantly to the slim volume of Japanese Australian work for the stage.

This production will be accompanied by a photo exhibition in the foyer.

A compelling and always absorbing work. Highly recommended.”– Stage Noise

Download a PDF version of the Yasukichi Murakami: Through A Distant Lens program here: Yasukichi Murakami: Through A Distant Lens Program

Download a Word version of the Yasukichi Murakami: Through A Distant Lens program here: Yasukichi Murakami: Through A Distant Lens Program

Dates & Times:
Wednesday 16 March 7:30pm
Thursday 17 March 12pm (Plus Q&A) & 7:30pm
Friday 18 March 7:30pm
Saturday 19 March 2:15pm & 7:30pm

Please note, Season Packages are not available to purchase online. To book a season package simply fill out a Season Booking Form and submit it to Box Office by post or in person.

To receive a copy of our 2016 Season Brochure, please call Box Office on 8839 3399.

Download a copy of our Season 2016 booking form here: Season 2016 Booking Form


Arisa Yura
Kuni Hashimoto
Yumi Umiumare (Video)
Terumi Narushima (Musician)


Writer/Original Concept
Mayu Kanamori

Malcolm Blaylock

Jane Bodie

Lighting Designer
Benjamin Brockman

Visual Designer
Mic Gruchy

Composer/Sound Designer
Terumi Narushima

Dramaturgical Consultant
Yuji Sone

Annette Shun Wah

Additional Music

In a Pentagonal Room performed by Clocks and Clouds (Kraig Grady and Terumi Narushima). Bakya Mo Neneng and Shakehand Dance performed by Darwin Rondalla.

Photo Credits

Photographs and images courtesy of Murakami Family Archives, Noreen Jones Photographic Collection, Sisters of St John of God Photographic Collection, Broome Historical Society, National Archives of Australia, Australian War Memorial, National Museum of Australia, Kate Lance Photographic Collection Mutsumi Tsuda Photographic Collection and Archives, Hamaguchi Family Archives, Puertollano / Masuda Family Archives, Ted and Eunice Hang Family Archives, The Darwin Rondalla, Watabe Australia, Northern Territory Library’s Young Mayse, V. Fletcher, D. D Smith, Bill Allcorn, Al Jarvis, Bill Littlejohn, Bill and Betty Eacott, Marella, G. J. Towers, Frank Blackwell, Peter Spillett, and Fay Kilgariff Collections.

Theatre 4A Committee

Dai Le
Ien Ang
Jenevieve Chang
Alison Cook
Teik-Kim Pok
Gary Williams
William Yang


This project has been assisted by the Australian Government through the Australia Council for the Arts, its arts funding and advisory body; Creative Ecologies Lab, Media, Music, Communications and Cultural Studies, Macquarie University; the Japan Foundation; School of the Arts and Media, University of NSW; and Playwriting Australia. Performance 4a is supported by the NSW Government through Arts NSW.

Suitable for Years 10 – 12


$20 per student/additional teacher (1 teacher free per 20 students)
Schools – Please download and fill out the booking form


This is such an amazing and important Australian story, and Performance 4a have such a wonderfully creative way in which to tell it. This production is full of beautifully utilised PRODUCTION ELEMENTS, which really communicate the rich visuals of the story as well as present a compelling sound scape to help immerse the audience completely into the action of the story. This is a perfect way to expose your Drama and VET entertainment students to the all the technical possibilities of live performance. It is also a great lesson in effective storytelling across different mediums for English Students.


    All bookings require a completed Booking Form. Riverside’s risk assessment can be downloaded here and education support materials (where provided) are available below.
    Fax or email your booking form to Riverside Education
    Fax: 02 9683 3267
    Scan and email: education_riverside@parracity.nsw.gov.au
    Mail: Riverside Education, PO Box 3636, Parramatta, NSW, 2124.
    N.B. Please do not send any payments with your booking form. Riverside will confirm your booking and then forward a tax invoice for your deposit. Bookings are made in strict order of receipt of booking forms.
    Riverside will confirm your booking and invoice the school for a non-refundable $125 deposit. Teachers receive complimentary seating on a 20:1 ratio (unless otherwise specified). Once you have paid your deposit, your booking is secure.
    You can request changes to student numbers up to 4 school weeks prior to the performance. We strongly recommend making the cut-off point for students to pay the school and confirm their attendance at around 5 – 6 weeks before the performance or workshop date, giving yourself plenty of time to confirm final numbers. Riverside will invoice you for the balance, payable 4 school weeks before your performance or workshop date. At that stage student numbers are final. Bookings cannot be held if your final payment is not received and the deposit is forfeited. An increase of numbers is possible after the final payment day and is subject to availability.
    A letter of confirmation will be issued instead of individual tickets if you are attending a performance that has been allocated as a schools matinee. For other general public performances, you will be issued with tickets which you will be required to collect from Box Office before the performance. Prior to your visit, we will send you detailed information via email to ensure you have a hassle-free excursion. This will include updating you on any possible changes to running times or more detailed information as it emerges from the rehearsal process. Please ensure you have given a valid email address on your booking form.
    Seating at schools performances is general admission (unless otherwise specified) and schools will be asked to enter the theatre as a group. We advise arriving at the theatre approximately 30 minutes prior to your performance.
    Please note all school bookings made within 4 school weeks of a performance date must be paid in full within 1 week of confirmation and are final. There are no refunds or changes to numbers or dates on these bookings. If you have concerns about meeting the terms and conditions, please contact us on 8839 3308.

Student and Teacher Resources

Yasukichi Murakami Through a Distant Lens Curriculum Links


For information on access at Riverside Theatre please click here.


Download the social story for Lennox Theatre here: Lennox Social Story

“… a thought-provoking show and a valuable reminder of the formative influence of Asian peoples on Australian culture and of clumsy and inhumane attempts to downplay, dismiss or caricature it.” Sydney Morning Herald

“Arisa Yura is completely charming..[and]..Kuni Hashimoto is superb as Murakami.” – Sydney Arts Guide

“This is an intimate, visually delightful show, with three excellently acted, delicately nuanced performances.” Arts Hub

“It’s largely due to these two performers’ vivacity [Arisa Yura + Kuni Hashimoto] that the work lifts from documentary to compelling drama.” – Daily Review Crikey

“…educational and insightful, not only in terms of one man’s Australian experience, but, more broadly, about the nature of art and race relations. It would be wonderful to see an exhibition mounted of Murakami’s photos; perhaps enough can be located for that to happen.”  In Daily

“Enriching and enlighting.” The Clothesline

“Captivates and informs…it is to be hoped that this work gets to tour extensively around Australia and, in translation, to Japan. It is a worthy production.” Broadway World


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Approximately 70 minutes (No interval)
Weekday Matinees also include a 15 minute Q&A

Ticket Prices

Season Package/ Sidekicks Adult $33
Season Package/ Sidekicks Concession $28
Season Package/ Sidekicks 30 & Under $19
Season Package Guest Adult $34
Season Package Guest Concession $29
Season Package/ Sidekicks 30 & Under $19
Single Tickets Adult $39
Single Tickets Concession $34
Single Tickets 30 & Under $25
Groups 10+ $34
Student/Teacher $20

Transaction fees apply

Phone $4.60
Web $3.60
Counter $2.60
Screen $1.65
School Bookings $4.00