Wataru Mukai - Composition

Documentary Theatre as Action

Approaching the interdisciplinary artistic practice of queer identities

I am researching the interdisciplinary artistic practice of documentary theatre, and my artistic work will address the theme of queer identities. In my documentary theatre I will therefore address elements of gay culture, including drag, and the theme of gender/sexuality.

My research questions are: In what ways and by what means can queer identity be negotiated on the contemporary (music) theatre stage? How can music be actively involved in documentary theatre? What role does music play in documentary theatre and how is it interwoven with other levels? This study will examine the often-neglected role of music in documentary theatre and take up the documentary also in music in the artistic work.

I am developing documentary theatre from a sociological approach. Therefore, my research will involve fieldwork and documentation in gay communities in cities with different cultural backgrounds, such as Vienna, Amsterdam and Tokyo. From the collected material, a documentary theatre on queer issues will be compiled and I will relate my artistic-research work to works from other disciplines such as music, theatre, art (studies) and gender studies.

The result of my interdisciplinary theatre research/practice is to imagine social reality in fiction on stage.

First supervisor: Univ. Prof. Dr. Carolin Stahrenberg, ABPU
Second supervisor: Dr. Leopold Dick, Bern University of Applied Science/Academy of the Arts


Wataru MUKAI (born 1993) is a Japanese composer, pianist and performer. He graduated from Tokyo University of the Arts with a bachelor's degree in composition (2016, with distinction and top of his class). He has won numerous international composition competitions, including 1st place at the 8th International composer's competition "NEW NOTE" (Croatia, 2019), the German President's Prize at the Felix Mendelssohn Bartholdy University Competition (Berlin, 2018), 2nd place and Audience Prize at the 86th Music Competition of Japan (Tokyo, 2017), and the Ataka Music Prize (Tokyo, 2015), among others.

He has received scholarships from the Tokuji Munetsugu Music Foundation (2016), the Kuma Foundation (2018-19), the Rohm Music Foundation (2019-21), the OeAD Scholarship (2021-22), and the Nomura Foundation (2021-22). His works have been performed by numerous ensembles and performers, and were also selected for the 44th Samobor Music Festival, the 49th Darmstadt Summer Courses and the Suntory Hall Summer Festival 2017.

He studied in the Master's programme for composition at the Staatliche Hochschule für Musik und Darstellende Kunst Mannheim with Sidney Corbett and Philipp Ludwig Stangl. In addition to his orchestral and chamber music, he has produced a number of theatre works on queer, socially disadvantaged and other social minorities. In 2019, he studied in the Master's programme for Théâtre musical at the Bern University of the Arts with Stefan Wirth, Simon Steen-Andersen, Angela Körfer-Bürger. Wataru MUKAI is currently doing his doctorate at the Anton Bruckner Private University.