Pan Asian Repertory Theatre is the pioneer, award-winning Asian American theatre company on the East Coast and the second most veteran in the nation. With the help of the late Ellen Stewart and core Asian American artists at La Mama ETC, Tisa Chang founded Pan Asian Rep in 1977 with the vision that Asian American artists can equally follow their artistic aspirations to reach the zenith of American Theatre.
For over four decades, Pan Asian’s mission is to provide professional theatre opportunities for Asian American artists to work under the highest standards of excellence and create new works that dignify Asian Americans and dispel stereotypes, focusing on stories of probing social justice issues. Mel Gussow (The New York Times) writes, “Before Pan Asian Rep, Asian Americans had severely limited opportunities in the theater . . . . Heartened by Ms. Chang’s example, similar companies have sprung up around the United States.” Marilyn Stasio (Variety) notes, “For all the variety of theater art produced in New York City, there are some things you don’t see a whole lot of— like an Asian-American theater company that develops and showcases plays by Asian-American playwrights addressing specifically Asian-American themes.” The company nurtures thousands of artists and is a “who-is-who” of Asian American theatre history, with notable alumni/ae including June Angela, Tina Chen, Philip Gotanda, Wai Ching Ho, David Henry Hwang, Daniel Dae Kim, Lucy Liu, Ron Nakahara, Qui Nguyen, R.A. Shiomi, Lauren Yee, Henry Yuk, et. al.
Pan Asian Rep’s critically-acclaimed World Premiere contributions to the rapidly growing canon of Asian American theatre include: Yellow Fever (1982) by R.A. Shiomi; Forbidden City Blues (2002) by Alexander Woo; Kwatz! The Tibetan Project: The Sound of a Hammer Hitting the Head (2004) by Ernest Abuba; China Doll (2005) by Elizabeth Wong; We Are (2011) by Minh Ngoc Nguyen; Rangoon (2012) by Mayank Kesha; A Dream of Red Pavilions (2016) by Jeremy Tiang; Incident at Hidden Temple (2017) by Damon Chua; Daybreak (2018) by Joyce Van Dyke, and the 2020 Anniversary Return of Cambodia Agonistes (World Premiere, 1992), book/lyrics by Ernest Abuba, music by Louis Stewart.
For its 42nd Milestone Season in 2018/19, Pan Asian Rep breaks new ground with the New York Premiere of Damon Chua’s The Emperor’s Nightingale (a new Theatre for Young Audiences Initiative, Fall 2018), and the NEA-supported, World Premiere of Prince Gomolvilas’s THE BROTHERS PARANORMAL, directed by Jeff Liu (Spring 2019). Through its annual NuWORKS performance series, Training Labs, and Staged Readings, Pan Asian continues to nurture the next generation of Asian American artists and build diverse audiences of the future.