As the nation’s premier Asian American theatre organization, East West Players produces artistic works and educational programs that foster dialogue exploring Asian Pacific experiences.
- Continuing the movement to develop, foster, and expand Asian Pacific performance into a major force on the national arts scene in the 21st century
- National recognition of the organization’s productions and programs
- Increased opportunities for Asian and Pacific Islander artists on stage and in other media
- Introducing audiences to the diverse Asian Pacific experiences
- Educational programs and mentorship in the literary, technical, and performing arts
- Financial and organizational sustainability and growth
Established in 1965, East West Players has been hailed as the nation’s leading Asian American theater troupe for our award-winning productions that blend Eastern and Western movement, costumes, language, and music. EWP has premiered more than 100 plays and musicals about the Asian Pacific American experience and has held more than 1,000 readings and workshops. Our emphasis is on building bridges between East and West, and one measure of our success is an audience of 56% Asians and a remarkable 44% non-Asian attendance. East West Players was founded by nine Asian-American artists (Mako, Rae Creevey, Beulah Quo, Soon-Tek Oh, James Hong, Pat Li, June Kim, Guy Lee, and Yet Lock) seeking opportunities to take on roles beyond the stereotypical parts they were being offered in Hollywood. EWP continues to provide unique opportunities for Asian-American artists and is committed to advocating for more diverse representations of the Asian-American experience on TV and across all media.
In 1998, EWP Artistic Director Tim Dang led the company’s move from a 99-seat Equity Waiver “black box” theatre into a new 240-seat venue at an Actors Equity Association contract level. EWP’s mainstage is the David Henry Hwang Theater, housed within the historic Union Center for the Arts in downtown Los Angeles’ Little Tokyo district, where it serves more than 10,000 people each year. EWP alumni include Mako, B.D. Wong, David Henry Hwang, John Cho, Kal Penn, Daniel Dae Kim, Parvesh Cheena, James Kyson-Lee, Masi Oka, Francois Chau, Jeanne Sakata, Greg Watanabe, Tamilyn Tomita, Dante Basco, Philip Kan Gotanda, Freda Foh Shen, Roberta Uno, R.A. Shiomi, Judith Nihei, Alec Mapa, Wakako Yamauchi, Amy Hill, Sala Iwamatsu, John Lone, and Nobu McCarthy. East West Players has also had the opportunity to work with many respected artists such as actors Danny Glover, Tsai Chin, Lauren Tom, and Nancy Kwan; directors Lisa Peterson and Oskar Eustis; musician Dan Kuramoto; and instructors Calvin Remsberg and Fran Bennett.