Spotlight On: Takayuki 'Taka' Ueda


Takayuki Ueda is an improvisor based in Osaka, Japan and the director of Impact 360 Improv. He has improvised for 16 years, and in the last four has travelled internationally to perform improvisation in six countries. Taka taught and performed at New Zealand Improv Festival 2015 with his creative partner Ronald Pabst (Cologne) and is delighted to be returning to direct Shibuya Scramble Crossing.

Tell us a bit about your show and the idea behind it, and why/how it excites you.
Everything comes from that I was in FIIF 2015. 1) I was inspired by the workshop which was for making long form format then. 2) When the show "NZ vs the World", I got inspiration to make scenes which are coming from something famous in Japanese. 3) I met great improvisers then, everybody was amazing and powerful so I was overwhelmed, and I came up with the idea "if everybody try to do some more organic activities calmly between scenes like Harold?" 4) And I heard that Shibuya scramble crossing is a bit famous for many people are walking and crossing without hits and it's weird for people in other countries, so I think that it might be good metaphor and clue to making long form.

What show other than your own are you most excited to see? Why?
Not mine? Everything. But "Don't See This Show Alone" is attractive title. It means "see this show alone"... terrible. (I don't like horror story).

How would you describe your personal improv style?
Loving silence (when I do improv internationally)
Loving natural or common scenes in Japanese.
(No need to try to be funny, everything turns into funny or interesting naturally.)

Weirdest/best way improv has helped you in daily life?
I think that intuition and accident are important both in daily life and in improv. (I like the word "serendipity") I believe those, I often meet miracle or mysterious things. It means I am lucky.
For example, Before I got an announcement which I could come to NZIF as a director, I read a book about quantum mechanics, I found a note about a very small, not famous shrine in it but it's awesome shrine. I had never heard about it  but I got intuition so I went to the shrine to pray. And at the very next day, I got an email from NZIF.  (By the way, I don't belong to any particular religion.)

What's going on in the improv world where you are?
Collaboration. Miracle, coincidence.
Everybody is kind enough to make me happy.
Some people sometimes ask me to come and join the festivals.
I don't know when this will be over, but my travel keeps going on.
It is like that I am on the flow of river.

What's going to be the NEXT BIG THING in improv?
My dream is that we will get a great theatre like BATS in Osaka. Now we don't have one.
And I wish that I would ask all to come to Osaka to open a great festival like NZIF some day.

What makes you keep going on taking part in international improv festivals?
The answer is "YOU ARE".
I always feel that it is meant to be. it's destiny to connect us, destiny to enjoy improv with you. I've just followed the flow of my life.
Looking forward to seeing you all!
Thank you very much.

Taka directs Shibuya Scramble Crossing at BATS Theatre, 9:30pm Thursday 19 October. Our full programme runs 17-21 October, and tickets are on sale now!