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Theatre Diaspora

Theatre Diaspora is a project that created the first Asian American/Pacific Islander theatre in Portland by producing an on-going series of  staged readings with movement. The project is committed to celebrating and creatively advocating for the AAPI experience through stage work.  These stories are an under-represented and misunderstood part of the American historical and cultural narrative.

Goals of the project are to

  • Build diverse audiences by producing staged readings with post-show conversations
  • Educate audiences about the rich canon of Asian American plays never produced in Portland
  • Increase the visibility of Asian American arts
  • And create opportunities for AAPI artists and build direct relationships with AAPI playwrights.

The project includes established Asian American theatre artists dedicated to giving Asian American theatre more visibility and to engaging the public through insightful talkback discussions. Core artists are Heath Hyun Houghton, Wynee Hu, Larry Toda, Chisao Hata, Dmae Roberts and Samson Syharath as well as featured guest artists.

The ensemble and guest artists produced four staged readings in 2014: Dance and the Railroad by David Henry Hwang, Yankee Dawg You Die by Philip Kan Kotanda, Breaking The Silence by Nikki Nojima Louis and Red by Chay Yew. Discussions of these plays addressed racism and discrimination faced by Asian Americans such as Chinese railroad workers, incarcerated Japanese Americans and performing artists confronted with racial stereotyping.

Readings are in collaboration with Portland Center Stage and other Portland theatres.

Audience at Breaking the Silence