As part of its mission to create educational programs that explore Asian Pacific American experiences, East West Players is committed to sharing multi-ethnic perspectives and stories with youth in the Los Angeles area.
The East West Players’ Theatre for Youth touring production offers new ways to see the world through theatre that stimulate students to discover the prominent role Asian Pacific Americans have played in our history. Created in the early 1970s, Theatre for Youth was designed to promote cultural understanding and racial tolerance among youth. Today, the program strives to expand the history and curriculum to include stories about pioneering and groundbreaking Americans. The programs we offer illustrate the incredible wealth of Asian Pacific American cultural experiences in Southern California.
Theatre for Youth Current Tour (2016-17): RESIDENCE ELSEWHERE
As the nation’s longest-running theatre of color, East West Players (EWP) is committed to engaging our audiences using the unique platform of the Asian Pacific American experience. This year, EWP’s Theatre for Youth program has produced a critical work designed for youth to examine their dramatically shifting political future. The timeliness and urgency of this program cannot be overstated.
Commissioned by the Japanese American National Museum, the play RESIDENCE ELSEWHERE was conceptualized in the summer of 2016 to address the alarmingly divisive election. Today, it is extraordinarily prophetic and relevant. As a reflection on the 75th Anniversary of FDR’s signing of Executive Order 9066, the 35-minute piece has three movements:
- Internment of Japanese Americans in 1942
- Native American relocation after World War II
- The recent Immigration Ban that highlights the threat to what we believe defines our American identity
RESIDENCE ELSEWHERE explores responses to challenges faced historically and today. This work asks youth audiences to reflect on the local (home, community, and identity) with global (immigration, assimilation, and citizenship). The play provides students a means of inquiry to interpret today’s discourse on the limitations of national security and preservation of our civil liberties. We are committed to performing at as many venues as possible beyond what our small grants provide.
Written by Andrew Saito, Anna Moench, and Lina Patel, and directed by Jennifer Chang, actors Alison Minami, Ricky Pak, Krishna Smitha, Michael Barnum, and April Lam depict three different narratives in time, location, and sentiment.
“This play, commemorating the 75th anniversary of Executive Order 9066, could not come at a more relevant time. This moment in which we live brings home the necessity of keeping the past alive in our hearts and memories, especially when Trump supporter Carl Higbie mentions the internment as legal precedent for expunging Muslims from the United States…My obaachan (grandmother) did not talk much about the internment. This was a generational phenomenon, and the subject was largely taboo. I do recall one long conversation we had, when she shared with me how much she hated living in the barracks in the dusty desert at Manzanar. There was no privacy. She was humiliated… I hope that, with my short piece, I have been able to evoke the experience of the internment with honor and dignity,” says playwright Andrew Saito.
Please support this unique opportunity to educate youth with the narratives and experiences of APA communities with a financial donation earmarked “Residence Elsewhere”. Your contribution is local, direct, and utilized within months. Visit www.eastwestplayers.org for updates on our progress, and please CONTRIBUTE what you can, CONTACT potential partners, and PROMOTE widely.
This project is made possibly by generous support from City of Los Angeles, Department of Cultural Affairs, Dwight Stuart Youth Fund, The Green Foundation and Wells Fargo Foundation.
For more information, please contact Arts Education Director Carolina San Juan at email@example.com or (213) 625-7000 x 15.
2017 RESIDENCE ELSEWHERE Performances
Japanese American National Museum (JANM)
100 North Central Avenue, Los Angeles, CA 90012
In conjunction with the JANM exhibition, Instructions to All Persons: Reflections on Executive Order 9066. Free with museum admission. No RSVP necessary. Space is limited; first come, first served.
Saturday, March 4, 2017 @ 12:30pm
Saturday, April 1, 2017 @ 12:30pm
Saturday, April 8, 2017 @ 12:30pm
East West Players’ Next Wave Festival
David Henry Hwang Theatre (Union Center for the Arts)
120 Judge John Aiso Street, Los Angeles, CA 90012
LTSC’s creative community development strategy, +LAB, is working with three organizations—East West Players, Visual Communications and the Japanese American National Museum—to elevate their cultural and artistic work and draw attention to the importance of First Street North. +LAB utilizes collaboration and experimentation to advance Little Tokyo’s power over its future.
Previous Tour from 2015-16
The production for the 2015-16 school year focused on the story of the first Indian-American to join the US Army and his fight for citizenship in front of the Superior Court. Bhagat Singh Thind was born on October 3, 1892 in the state of Punjab, India. He was a spiritualist and the first Indian-American Sikh to join the US Army. After the war, he sought the right to become a naturalized citizen based on the legality that Caucasians had access to these rights. When Bhagat Singh Thind was denied citizenship, he took his case to the Supreme Court. In 1923, United States v. Bhagat Singh Thind was decided in favor of the United States, which led to all Indian citizenships being revoked for not being a White person in accordance with the definition defined by the US government.
This program was made possible in part by a grant from the City of Los Angeles, Department of Cultural Affairs, and sponsored by the Dwight Stuart Youth Fund and Edison International.
P.E.A.C. is a residency program that brings the EWP programming to local schools, especially those without other arts-education funding. EWP performers lead a weekly after-school program for 7th graders designed to give students a basic foundation in theatre techniques as well as foster awareness and appreciation of class members’ cultural heritage. For more information about the P.E.A.C. program or to bring it to your school, contact EWP Arts Education Director Carolina San Juan at firstname.lastname@example.org or (213) 625-7000 x 15.