To be an artist is to be blessed. Performance is an act of giving, of releasing energies which will never be the same but may return to us, re-constituted, to begin another cycle of nourishment. Pan Asian Rep was founded to nurture and support those who have dedicated their life's pursuit to and made sacrifices to stay in the living theatre.
An ensemble of artists united by professional commitment and shaped by cultural heritage, who share the celebratory traditions of rhythm and movement, would become the springboard to forging a repertoire of new Asian American works. Plays which reflect the evolution of Asians in America -- our secrets, struggles and celebrations -- expresses in myriad of artistic modes and in a new found common language, English.
-- Tisa Chang, Artistic Producing Director
Photo by Carol Rosegg
Tisa Chang was born in China, and raised in New York City. Early training in piano, ballet and Chinese Dance began at age seven. After an active career as actress and dancer on Broadway: BASIC TRAINING OF PAVLO HUMMEL, LOVELY LADIES AND KIND GENTLEMEN, in TV and films: AMBUSH BAY, ESCAPE FROM IRAN, YEAR OF THE DRAGON, she founded Pan Asian Repertory Theatre to celebrate professional Asian American artistry and to expand the boundaries of American theatre in the nation. Pan Asian Rep is now the largest producer of Asian American theatre in the nation.
As director, Ms. Chang specializes in intercultural productions including the premieres of RETURN OF THE PHOENIX, adapted from the Peking Opera and later premiered on CBS TV's Festival of Lively Arts; GHASHIRAM KOTWAL, the Marathi play with music; Shakespeare's A MIDSUMMER NIGHT'S DREAM done as a Mandarin/English adaptation; CAMBODIA AGONISTES, the music-theatre commission; and THE JOY LUCK CLUB,based on the international best-seller.
She is active in public service and has served on panels for The National Endowment for the Arts, New York State Council on the Arts, NYC Department of Cultural Affairs, the United States Information Agency, Ohio and Massachusetts Arts Councils, and has been invited to Japan, Korea, India, China, and the former Soviet Union. She frequently lectures and writes on Asian American theatre and playwriting.
Recent awards include the 1997 Proclamation from Mayor Guiliani for Asian Heritage Month, the 1993 NYC Cultural Pioneer Tribute,1991 Barnard College Medal of Distinction, 1991 JIMMIE Award from AAPAA, 1988 Special Theatre World Award, and citations from the Chinatown YMCA, Chinese American Arts Council, New York Lionesses, Organization of Chinese Americans L.I, Mayor Koch, Manhattan Borough President Ruth Messinger, and Councilman Michael Woo of Los Angeles. She is also on the Executive Boards of SSDC, The Society of Stage Directors and Choreographers and also the League of Professional Theatre Women.
Pan Asian Rep is the professional theatre founded to celebrate Asian American artistic expressiveness on the living stage. It became a major New York theatre presence in 1983 with the long off-Broadway run of Yellow Fever, introducing the tough Japanese private eye with a heart of gold, Sam Shikaze. The company grew out of Tisa Chang's experimental work at LaMama ETC with a core of Asian actors in such benchmark bi-lingual productions as the Peking Opera adaptation of Return of the Phoenix and the intercultural version of A Midsummer Night's Dream.
Memorable productions helped to expand the boundaries of American theatre, including: Lao She's Teahouse, spanning 50 years of modern Chinese history; Ghashiram Kotwal, the Marathi musical expose of Brahmin abuse of privilege; and the adaptation, Shogun MacBeth.
Pan Asian Rep is now the largest producer of Asian American theatre with regular international and national touring and residencies. In 1992, the company began a five year plan towards institutionalization with support from the Lila Wallace-Reader's Digest Fund for New Audiences Program and a 1994 Challenge Grant from The National Endowment for the Arts.
New York Season
A repertoire of new plays by Asian American playwrights, translations and adaptations of Asian masterworks, and innovative productions of Western classics.
The company provides augmented workweeks, responsibilities as workshop leaders; extended rehearsal time; and participation in commissioned plays, the creation of new works, and collaborative projects with guest artists.
Senior Artists and Resident Ensemble Members: Michael G. Chin, Carol A. Honda, Kati Kuroda, Ron Nakahara, Natsuko Ohama, and Christen Villamor.
Youth and Outreach
A Team of Three actors with an Arts-In-Education Coordinator are available to perform selections from the repertoire at colleges, community centers, schools and multi-cultural celebrations.
Representing the United States, the company has gone to international festivals such as the 1992 Singapore Festival of the Arts, the 1988 Edinburgh Fringe Festival and a 1995 month long tour of the Cairo International Festival for Experimental Theatre (CIFET) and the Arts Alive Festival in Johannesburg, South Africa.
Workshops and Asian American Play Development
Past classes have included Shakespearean Acting Technique, Traditional Indian Theatre Movement, Peking Opera Technique, Vocal Projection, Kyogen and Noh Technique.
Emphasis on discovering and nurturing Asian American playwrights.
Staged presentations include new works by emerging and established Asian American playwrights. Playwrights, directors and actors collaborate in a developmental and interactive process on work that may be considered for future productions.
Board Of Trustees
Sybil Nadel Ed.D -- Chair