lThe traditional Japanese form of theatre, kabuki, will be celebrated in an exhibition of over 40 prints at the Japanese Cultural Institute 9 Sept-18 Oct.

Widespread in popular Japanese culture from the 1600s onwards, kabuki dramatised historical events, moral conflicts and tales of love, becoming famous for the elaborate make-up and colourful costumes used. At its inception, only women performed, playing both male and female roles. Later on, however, the tables turned and women were banned from the art, leaving men to take on the dramas by themselves. The name kabuki is thought to come from the verb kabuku meaning to learn or to be out of the ordinary, and the art form has roots in bizarre or avantgarde theatre.

The works on show in Rome come from the National Theatre of Japan, which opened in 1966 with the aim of keeping the traditional Japanese arts of kabuki, bunraku, buyo and hogaku alive.

Japanese Cultural Institute, Via Antonio Gramsci 74, tel. 063224754/94. Mon-Fri 09.00-12.30, 13.30-18.30. Weds until 17.30. Sat 09.00-13.00.

lFollowing the success of the past six editions, Soltanto un quadro al massimo, which juxtaposes a single work by a German artist against a single work by an Italian artist, returns to the Germany Academy in Rome 21 Sept-27 Oct.

This year it is the turn of German Wolfgang Laib and the late Italian Mario Merz. The two artists are said to have been friends, having worked together in 1982. After Laib was chosen for the show in Rome, it was at his own suggestion that Merzs work make up the other half of the exhibition. This is only the second time that work by these two artists has been exhibited side by side. For this second meeting, Laib has chosen to show a work in pollen a reference to his first meeting with Merz where he also displayed a work of sieved pollen sprinkled on the floor alongside five pollen-filled cans. For the Italian component, Beatrice Merz (daughter of Mario Merz) has chosen to display the 1975 work entitled Quando le piante invaderanno il mondo (When plants invade the world) on her fathers behalf.

German Academy, Villa Massimo, Largo di Villa Massimo 1-2, tel. 0644259340, www.villamassimo.it. Mon-Thurs 09.00-13.00, 14.00-17.00, Fri 09.00-13.00.

lCanadian-born and British-based architect Jamie Fobert gives his first public lecture in Italy at the British School at Rome on 24 Oct at 18.00. The lecture also marks the opening of the exhibition Point of View (24 Oct-9 Nov), in which recent projects, including the extension of Kettles Yard in Cambridge and the extension of the Tate in St Ives, will be on show alongside earlier work. We should move away from the cult of the iconic building, where every building attempts to out-Guggenheim the next, and work towards buildings that create a better city fabric while responding to the daily lives of its inhabitants, Fobert says. He has created special lenses for the exhibition through which the viewer will have the sensation of exploring some of the buildings in full scale. Mon-Sat 17.00-19.30.

BBC journalist and acclaimed author Robert Harris will present the Italian edition of his book Imperium at the British School at Rome on 25 Oct at 18.00. The book, published by Mondadori and in Italian bookshops from the beginning of October, follows the trials and tribulations of the controversial young lawyer-orator of ancient Rome, Cicero, who at the age of 27 decided to throw himself into the foray of Roman politics.

British School at Rome, Via Gramsci 61, tel. 063264939, www.bsr.ac.uk.

l3+1 is the name of the show at the French Academy in Villa Medici 15 Sept-1 Oct. 3 refers to the three French artists resident at the academy: Jrome Lagarrigue, Xavier Noiret-Thom and Sbastien Pignon. The +1 is Mauro Luperchi, the projects collaborating Italian artist. The exhibition is divided into three sections: Massa (Mass), in which the artists explore space and mass; Paesaggio del Viso (Landscape of the Face), in which Lagarrigue displays oil on canvas portraits and landscapes exploring the relationship between figurative and abstract art; and Quasi Una Rivoluzione (Almost a Revolution), in which Noiret-Thom explores the theme of display in his large-scale work.

The French cinema programme will also resume in early October. For information contact the academy.

French Academy, Villa Medici, Viale Trinit dei Monti 1, tel. 0667611, www.villamedici.it. Tues-Sun 11.00-19.00.

lContemporary dance company Excursus will perform Anxia & Extasis at the Swiss Cultural Institute in Rome on 27 Sept at 21.15. Established by Italian choreographer Ricky Bonavita and Swiss dancer Theodor Rawyler in 1994, the company will use both the inside and outside spaces of Villa Maraini to dance out their abstract show, combining 19th-century romantic scenes with scenes of cold rationalism according to the spaces used.

In Ritratti e paesaggio urbano, work by one of the best-known names of late 20th-century Swiss photography, Jean Pascal Imsand (1960-1994), goes on display at the institute in Rome after a successful run at the sister institute in Venice. 30 Sept-11 Nov.

Swiss Cultural Institute, Villa Maraini, Via Ludovisi 48, tel. 064814234, www.istitutosvizzero.it. Mon-Sat 11.00-13.00, 15.00-19.00.

lClassical and contemporary clarinet music will be performed at the Austrian Cultural Forum in Rome on 25 Sept at 20.00. Petra Stump and Heinz-Peter Linshalm will perform Beat Furrers Apoklisis (2004) and Christoph Cechs Hidden Code (2000) among other works in Low Vibrations Duo Stump Linshalm concert. The Forum will also take part in the contemporary music festival Nuovi Spazi Musicali (5-26 Oct) along with other foreign embassies and institutions in Rome. For details see Whats On page 13.

Austrian Cultural Forum, Viale Bruno Buozzi 113, tel. 063608371, www.austriacult.roma.it.