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Empire of the Son

by Tetsuro Shigematsu

"Empire of the Son is exquisite. It’s also painstakingly honest… the storytelling is poetic, associative—and often funny. I can’t say enough good things about Empire of the Son… one of the best shows of the year."
- Colin Thomas, The Georgia Straight

Book Your Tickets Now

Nov 22 - Dec 3, 2016 | National Arts Centre, Ottawa

Jan 11 - Jan 14, 2017 | Centaur Theatre (Wildside Festival), Montreal

Jan 18 - Jan 29, 2017 | The Factory Studio Theatre, Toronto | (416) 504-9971

About the Show

The remount of the original, multi-disciplinary play by former CBC broadcaster Tetsuro Shigetmatsu who discovers vast worlds contained within his emotionally remote father – from the ashes of World War II and Hiroshima, to swinging London in the 1960s. As he learns about how his own father was once a son, Tetsuro realizes all the ways in which he himself needs to step up and become a better dad. Empire of the Son is a funny, emotional portrayal of parent/child relationships, and a reminder of no matter how far we journey out into the world to find ourselves – across decades and continents – we never stop being our parents' children.

Empire of the Son originally premiered at The Cultch in October 2015. The show was completely sold out before it even opened – unprecedented for the premiere of a new Canadian play. Its subsequent extension was also completely sold out.

Playwright & Performer: Tetsuro Shigematsu*
Director/Original Concept Dramaturgy:
Richard Wolfe*
Dramaturg: Heidi Taylor (Playwrights Theatre Centre)
Set Design: Pam Johnson
Lighting Design: Gerald King
Costume Design: Barbara Clayden
Sound Design: Steve Charles
Audio Dramaturg: Yvonne Gall
Stage Manager: Susan Miyagishima*
Technical Director/Production Manager: Jayson McLean
Props Master: Carol Macdonald
Video Design Consultant: Remy Siu
Apprentice Stage Manager: Maria Zarrillo
Apprentice Lighting Designer: Tory Ip
Documentary Audio: Yoshiko & Akira Shigematsu

*With permission of the Canadian Actors’ Equity Association.


Press Coverage

"Tetsuro Shigematsu’s Empire of the Son is exquisite" - Colin Thomas, The Georgia Straight

"Empire of the Son is understated perfection" - Cecilia Lu, VanCity Buzz

"Grief stripped raw in all its beauty: One man show is a powerful display of emotion" - Erika Thorkelson, Vancouver Sun

"Empire of the Son: Tetsuro Shigematsu walks in the shadow of his father" - Kelsey Klaseen, Westender

Theatre preview: Tetsuro Shigematsu’s one-man show explores familial relationships - Shawn Conner, Vancouver Sun

Empire of the Son makes debut at the Cultch -Erin McPhee, North Shore News

Fall Arts Preview 2015: The shows we can't wait to see - Westender

Fall arts preview 2015 theatre critics' picks: Local writers take the spotlight on city stages -Colin Thomas, The Georgia Straight

Tetsuro Shigematsu: Empire of the Son -John Endo Greenaway, The Bulletin

Transcending the generational and cultural gap -Nicole Alivojvodic, The Source