Empire of the Son

by Tetsuro Shigematsu

A funny emotional portrayal of parent/child relationships, and a reminder that no matter how far we journey out into the world to find ourselves - across decades and continents - we never stop being our parents' children.

A Vancouver Asian Canadian Theatre production

Empire of the Son is the story of two generations of broadcasters, and the radio silence between them. As father and son, Akira and Tetsuro Shigematsu shared the same profession as public radio broadcasters. Each of them reveled in communicating with millions of their listeners, but they never spoke with each other. When Akira’s health begins to falter in his old age, Tetsuro bridges the gap between them with the only object they both understood: a microphone.

Based on a series of audio interviews with his father, Empire of the Son is an original theatrical production by former CBC broadcaster, Tetsuro Shigematsu. It is a unique presentation hybrid, which combines the cinematography of a film being screened at the moment it is being shot and the raw immediacy of live performance. In doing so, the show magically conjures entire worlds: from the ashes of Hiroshima to present-day Vancouver, marshaling the tiniest of objects to focus on life’s biggest questions.

"A profound piece of theatrical, technical and literary mastery...filled with hilarity and heartbreak."
         -- Olivia Law, Ubyssey

November 28 - December 9, 2018

Performance Times:
November 28 - December 8 - 7:30 pm
Sunday, December 2 & 9 - 3:00 pm
No performance on Monday or Tuesday, December 3 & 4

Tickets: $25 - limited seating



Friday, November 30 - Join us after the show in the
PTE Lounge for Mitchell James.

Hailing from the outskirts of Winnipeg, Mitchell James is a roots/pop artist who began his career writing songs in his bedroom at the age of 18 and never looked back. His latest EP, The Spark, backed by the members of Juno winning group The Bros. Landreth, is a collection of pop, soul and rock songs that are sure to warm the heart and inspire the soul.

Presented in partnership with Manitoba Music.

Wednesday, December 5, 2018 at 11:00 am

Tickets: $10 - call 204-925-5256 for information

  • What the Critics Say

    "EMPIRE OF THE SON is jewel-like in its sparkle and perfection." -- Jo Ledingham, On the Scene

    "Tetsuro's storytelling is phenomenal - lyrical and charming, with the ability to have the audience weeping in one moment to smiling the next..." -- Kayla Isomura, Nikkei Voice

    "One-man show is a powerful display of emotion...a riveting, emotional theatrical experience." -- Vancouver Sun

    "Brilliantly written and acted by Shigematsu, Empire of the Son is a poignant and universal story about parents and children." - Review Vancouver

    "Tetsuro Shigematus's Empire of the Son is exquisite...I'm telling all of the people I love most to see this show." -- Georgia Straight

    "Empire of the Son is understated perfection...Shigematsu's work is poised to be one of the most important of hte season." -- VanCity Buzz

    "Empire of the Son is gorgeous story-telling, wrapped inside an equally gorgeous production." -- Vancouver Presents


Written & performed by Tetsuro Shigematsu
Directed by Richard Wolfe
Set design: Pam Johnson
Lighting design: Gerald King
Costume design: Barbara Clayden
Sound design: Steve Charles
Dramaturgy: Heidi Taylor

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