About MediaRites

About MediaRites

"MediaRites is a tax-exempt, 501 (c ) 3, nonprofit production organization based in Portland, Oregon, dedicated to telling the stories of diverse cultures and giving voice to the unheard through the arts, education and media projects. Since 1984, MediaRites has produced award-winning radio and film documentaries, interactive websites, theatre and outreach projects."

Dmae Roberts

Dmae Roberts, Executive Producer and Board Member is an award-winning independent radio artist and writer who has written and produced more than 400 audio art pieces and documentaries for NPR and PRI programs. Her work is often autobiographical or about cross-cultural peoples and is informed by her biracial identity.  Her Peabody award-winning documentary Mei Mei, a Daughter’s Song is a harrowing account of her mother’s childhood in Taiwan during WWII.

Her largest three-year project was Crossing East the first Asian American history series on public radio. The eight-hour series ran on more than 230 stations around the country. Through MediaRites, Roberts has also produced the 13-part Legacies: Tales From America and the 3-part  Legacies, Faith Hope and Peace series, Sorting Through ShadowsStories1st.org, and The Breast Cancer Monologues.

Currently she is spearheading new MediaRites projects including the Mei Mei Film and Archive Project,  Media Training Seminars and the Theatre Diaspora project staged readings of Asian American plays.

Awards and grants include the Peabody, Corporation for Public Broadcasting and the National Endowment for the Arts, the Robert F. Kennedy Journalism award, the Casey Medal, the United Nations Silver award, the Clarion Award, two Heart of America awards, the National Lesbian and Gay Journalists Award, two CPB awards and an AIR award for innovation and excellence.

As the executive producer of MediaRites, she continues her personal mission to create works that bring diverse communities together. Though Roberts was born in Asia and lived there as a child, Oregon has been her home since the age of ten. There she continues to write from a Northwest perspective while working on community and national projects.

Samson Syharath

Samson Syharath is a multidisciplinary artist, producer, educator, and administrator focusing on visibility of Asian-American artists and under-served communities. After receiving a B.A. from the University of Arkansas – Fort Smith, Samson trained at the Portland Actors Conservatory where he is currently Associate Artistic Director. He was part of the Theatre Communications Group Rising Leaders of Color Cohort in 2017 featured by American Theatre Magazine and was the recipient of the Portland Civic Theatre Guild’s Leslie O. Fulton Fellowship that same year. Samson is also a company member of Theatre Vertigo and helped Bag&Baggage Productions with artist outreach for their Problem Play Project.  www.samson.actor

MediaRites Board of Directors

Sara Caswell Kolbet, President

Sara Caswell Kolbet

Sara Caswell Kolbet was the Associate Producer with MediaRites for 4 years. After the production of Crossing East in 2006, she completed an M.S. degree in Speech Language Pathology and is now a CCC-SLP with the Hillsboro School District. 

Sandra de Helen
, playwright

Sandra de HelenSandra de Helen has been a produced playwright for many years. Her one-act play Singer Clashes with Cougar was produced in New York in July 2014 by {Your Name Here} : A Queer Theatre Company. She is also an author and poet. De Helen’s The Hounding and The Illustrious Client are available in paperback, eBook, and audiobook. These Shirley Combs/Dr. Mary Watson mysteries can be purchased in bookstores or online. Her poetry chapbook All This Remains to be Discovered is available at Another Read Through bookstore in Portland, Oregon, or online. Samples of her work are available at SandradeHelen.com. De Helen is a long-time member of the Dramatists Guild.

Catherine “Ming T’ien” Duffly, scholar-director

Catherine (Kate) Ming T’ien Duffly is Associate Professor in the Theatre Department and Chair at Reed College. She is a scholar-director and community-engaged theatre artist creating work in and around Portland and sits on the boards of the August Wilson Red Door Project and MediaRites. In addition to her directorial and devised performance work, Kate worked with Cornerstone Theater, Lunatique Fantastique, Touchable Stories, and Wise Fool Community Arts. In 2016, she received a grant from the Regional Arts and Culture Council to create a community-based theatre project with Western States Center and collaborator Roberta Hunte (Portland State University) about reproductive justice, titled We Are BRAVE.


Larry Toda, secretary

Larry TodaLarry Toda is the Senior Corporate Communications Manager at Mentor Graphics Corporation. With 30+ years of communications experience, Larry has served a wide variety of clients. Also, he was previously on the Japanese American Citizens League‘s board of directors. As an actor, Larry’s many credits include Theatre Diaspora‘s Breaking the Silence.  Larry holds a B.A. in Journalism and Communications and is pursuing his M.B.A.

Francisco Garcia

Francisco Garcia is a director, actor and educator. His most recent directing credits include the world premieres of Emilio Rodriguez’s Swimming While Drowning and Olga Sanchez’s Broken Promises at Milagro Theatre, the regional touring production of Jose Cruz Gonzalez’s Tomás & the Library Lady for Oregon Children’s Theatre, Anna Nicholas’ 3 Actors in Search of a Play for Profile Theatre’s 24 Hour Play Festival, and Naomi Iizuka’s Anon(ymous) for Lewis & Clark College.  As an Educator, Francisco has taught theatre classes and workshops in acting, classical theatre, multicultural theater, playwriting and community-based theater for such schools and programs as Lewis & Clark College, California Institute of the Arts’ Community Partnership Program, Mark Taper Forum, Shakespeare Center of Los Angeles, Cornerstone Theatre Company, Oregon Children’s Theatre, Teatro Milagro and Portland Public Schools. In 2010 Francisco was awarded a teaching fellowship from the Mark Taper Forum/Dana Foundation.Description: https://mail.google.com/mail/u/0/images/cleardot.gif Francisco is a member of SAG/AFTRA and Actors Equity Association and currently serves on Portland’s AEA Liaison Committee.

Shelley B Shelley

Shelley B Shelley arrived on the Portland scene in 1987 as a recently-separated single mother. Far from her mind was anything having to do with theatre. She put herself through Portland State University, graduating in 1991.  She landed at the Metropolitan Arts Commission as the Technical Assistance & Outreach Program Manager, where her first assignment was to compile a database and printed directory of ethnic minority artists and arts organizations in Greater Portland. She became involved with the Interstate Firehouse Cultural Center, the Homowa Festival, Sojourner Truth Theatre, and Hyalite Historical Society. As an actor, Shelley in the late 90’s landed a role in Nightly Comes The Hurting Time with Bridge City Productions. She hadn’t acted in 15 years. After that Shelley was privileged to work on stages throughout Oregon, as well as appearances in Texas, Missouri, and Colorado.

Clark Salisbury

Clark SalisburyProducer/engineer/musician Clark Salisbury’s work for 30 -plus years includes co-producing Coming Home: The Return of the Alutiiq Masks, engineering the Peabody-award winning series Crossing East from Public Radio International, producing music for the award-winning PBS documentary Kids In Crisis –Robert’s Story, engineering for the radio series Destination DIY, and producing/engineering for Wisdom of the Elders radio. As a musician, Salisbury performs and tours with several bands, covering music from all over the world. As a web designer and multimedia specialist, Salisbury has created websites and multimedia content for CrossingEast.org, ShakespeareIs.com, WisdomOfTheElders.org and StageNStudio.com.





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