NTP was first established by Richard Emmert in Tokyo, Japan in 1991, and later, in 1995, in Bloomsburg USA, as an annual workshop to teach Noh in English to both novices and those with some experience of the form.
In both Tokyo and Bloomsburg, NTP became an annual programme leading to an on-going relationship with students. Recitals and full Noh performances have regularly been given at the conclusion of these workshops. NTPUK, the first of these projects to be held in Europe, began in 2011, moving to Royal Holloway in 2014.
Richard Emmert is a certified Kita school Noh instructor, and has studied, taught and performed Noh in Japan since 1973. He is a Professor at Musashino University in Tokyo where he teaches Asian Theatre and Music. Emmert is also the Artistic Director and founder of Theatre Nohgaku, a troupe that performs Noh plays in English and includes many past participants of NTP.
Akira Matsui is a master actor-teacher of the Kita School of Japanese classical Noh theatre. In 1998, he was designated an Important Intangible Cultural Asset by the Japanese government. He was born in 1946 in Wakayama, south of Osaka and began studying Noh at the age of seven. He showed such talent that, at age 12, he became a "live-in apprentice" to Kita Minoru, the 15th generation of Noh masters of the Kita School (one of the five guilds of shite main role actors). From his firm foundation in tradition, Matsui has experimented in intercultural fusions. In Kyoto, he has acted in NOHO Theatre Group productions of plays by Shakespeare, W.B. Yeats, and Beckett, and has written plays based on Rashomon and Hoichi. Together with American Noh composer-performer Richard Emmert, he has created a series of "English Noh" including St. Francis, At the Hawk’s Well, and Eliza. In addition, he has choreographed Noh-style dances to jazz ballads and to poetry by T.S. Eliot. He has also choreographed, co-directed, and acted in bilingual productions at American colleges and European theaters, utilizing Noh spirit and technique. He received an honorary degree from Royal Holloway in 2016.