Simon Moers et Tomoe Kobayashi

Puppet theatre offers both a distance from reality and a fascinating cohabitation of humour and cruelty.

They met in Japan and share a love of puppet arts: together, the two multidisciplinary artists Simon Moers and Tomoe Kobayashi work around the representation of violence through a singular theatre of objects and figures.

Updated on 03/12/2019

2 min

Simon Moers met Tomoe Kobayashi through a mutual friend in 2015 during a trip to Japan. They immediately took a liking to each other, both moving into the world of the stage and passionate about puppets. So when Simon responded to Villa Kujoyama's call for projects two years later, he immediately thought of contacting Tomoe to work with her: their idea was selected and so nearly three months of joint work began.

Simon Moers was trained at the Higher Institute of Arts in Brussels and the Higher National College of Puppetry Arts in Charleville-Mézières. He now works as a director and puppeteer-actor for the Project D collective.

Tomoe Kobayashi studied scenography at Musashino University in Tokyo. She is now a costume artist and counts Philippe Genty, a creator of contemporary theatre shows, and Mika Kurosawa, a choreographer, among her collaborations.

“The sweet violence of the imagination”: it is in these words taken from Roland Topor, that Simon Moers likes to evoke the show designed with Tomoe Kobayashi, Soleil Perdu ("Lost Sun"), currently in production, a short version of which was presented in October 2019 as part of the ¡Viva Villa! festival in Avignon. The play tells the story of “two wandering beings on the edge of the world of the living”. These characters play and imitate, giving no thought to the violence of their actions.

This is the heart of the two artists’ thinking: how violence, whatever form it takes, affects everyone's lives. To challenge it, they manipulate objects like puppeteers, and create dreamlike “scene images”.

In 2015, Simon Moers spent three weeks in Japan, a country that he instantly took a liking to. But the trip left him hungry: he wanted to stay longer, learn the language, meet people.

That is why, two years later, he applied for the residency at Villa Kujoyama with Tomoe Kobayashi, whom he had known since his first Japanese holiday and with whom he had exchanged many emails. She herself had links to France, having worked there in the 2010s designing shows with artists such as Philippe Genty. Successful Franco-Japanese cooperation.

  • 2010


    Tomoe Kobayashi collaborates with Philippe Genty on the Voyageurs immobiles (Motionless Travellers) show.

  • 2012


    Simon Moers creates the Project D collective with five artists from ENSAM (Higher National College of Puppetry Arts) in Charleville-Mézières.

  • 2015


    Simon Moers and Tomoe Kobayashi meet in Japan.

  • 2016


    Simon Moers creates La Traque (The Hunt), a puppet show in the public space, with the Project D collective .

  • 2019


    Residency of Simon Moers and Tomoe Kobayashi in Villa Kujoyama.

  • 2019


    Presentation of a short form of their show at the ¡Viva Villa! festival in Avignon.

The Institut français and the two artists

In 2019, Simon Moers et Tomoe Kobayashi were selected to spend time at the Villa Kujoyama, a residency for artists in Japan supported by the Institut français. Find out more about the Villa Kujoyama residency programme

L'institut français, LAB