Theatre Nohgaku



Video of the September 6, 2019 performance at Tara Arts, London

Presented by Theatre Nohgaku and The Centre for Asian Theatre & Dance at Royal Holloway

Text by Ashley Thorpe, Music by Richard Emmert

Premiere Performances presented:

4-6 September 2019, 7.30pm

Tara Arts, London


On 4 June 1913, the British suffragette Emily Wilding Davison secured her place in history: she ran onto the racetrack at the Epsom Derby in support of votes for women, but was struck down by the King’s horse. This shocking moment was caught on film, and British political history was changed forever when she died six days later.

But whatever happened to the jockey that killed her?

Emily is written in English in the stately form of Japanese noh theatre, a beguiling combination of mask, dance and chant. It focuses on this well-known episode of British political history from the perspective of Herbert Jones, the Jockey that killed Emily, and who himself committed suicide in 1951.  


For three nights only, visiting noh actors and musicians from Japan work with members of Theatre Nohgaku to offer a unique cross-cultural performance centered on one of the most important events in British political history, further marking the recent centenary of women obtaining the vote. 

The master actor Akira Matsui will also perform an excerpt from the noh Atsumori in Japanese. This piece explores memory, history, and feelings of remorse for the killing of others, illustrating how Emily is closely aligned with the traditional noh repertoire.

Text: Ashley Thorpe, Music composed by: Richard Emmert, Directed by Akira Matsui, Richard Emmert, Ashley Thorpe, Producer: Ashley Thorpe, Masks: Kitazawa Hideta