Special Reports

Asian American Theater Companies That Could Use Your Donations

If you’re looking to make a donation, consider some of these theaters.

Theaters across the country have been shut down due to the ongoing public health crisis. Now more than ever, arts organizations could use your donations to help sustain themselves for future seasons. If you have money to spare for donations, here are several historic Asian American theaters and companies for you to consider.

Mia Katigbak and Alok Tewari as Bessie and Jacob in the NAATCO production of Clifford Odets' Awake and Sing!
Mia Katigbak and Alok Tewari as Bessie and Jacob in the NAATCO production of Clifford Odets' Awake and Sing!
(© William P. Steele)

The National Asian American Theatre Company — New York
Founded in 1989, NAATCO largely presents classic American and European plays with entirely Asian American casts, adaptations of classics by Asian American dramatists, and world premieres by non-Asian American writers, but performed by an all Asian American company. In doing so, through acclaimed productions like Awake and Sing! by Clifford Odets, William Finn and James Lapine's Falsettoland, and Caryl Churchill's A Number, the company aims to reflect and emphasize "the kinship among disparate cultures," while demonstrating the full breadth of the American experience. Donate here.

Theatre Mu — Minnesota
Founded in 1992, Theater Mu is dedicated to bringing Asian American voices to the Twin Cities theater community. Since its inception, the company has become a leader in the local and national development of Asian American theater, and remains Minnesota's only pan-Asian arts organization. Donate here.

Silk Road Rising — Illinois
Formerly known as Silk Road Theatre Project, Silk Road Rising was created in 2002 as a response to the September 11 terrorist attacks, with a vision to counter the negative images of Middle Eastern and Muslim citizens that had begun to permeate the media. The company expanded its focus to encompass the historic network of trade routes known as the Silk Road, stretching from China to Syria, and now presents live theater, digital media, and arts education that includes Pan-Asian, North African, and Muslim stories. Donate here.

Pan Asian Repertory Theatre — New York
For more than 40 years, Pan Asian Repertory Company has worked to create professional theater opportunities for Asian American artists and create new works that focus on social justice issues, while dispelling cultural stereotypes. Notable alums of the company include David Henry Hwang, Daniel Dae Kim, Lucy Liu, Qui Nguyen, and Lauren Yee. Donate here.

A scene from KPOP
A scene from KPOP
(© Ben Arons)

Ma-Yi Theater Company — New York
Ma-Yi Theater Company was founded in 1989 as a way to develop new works about the Filipino American experience. In 1998, it expanded its mission to include works by Asian American writers of all origins, with a goal of creating boundary-pushing work. Its past productions include Mike Lew's Teenage Dick, Haruna Lee's Suicide Forest, and the acclaimed musical experience KPOP, with the company itself earning a cumulative 10 Obies, three Lortels, and a special Drama Desk Award for its vast body of work. Donate here.

Kumu Kahua Theatre — Hawaii
Founded in 1971 by a group of grad students at the University of Hawaii, the original goal of Kumu Kahua Theatre was to present experimental works by local writers. Based in Honolulu, the company has developed more than 250 new works and is the only theater solely dedicated to creating theater related to the cultures and geographic region of Hawaii. Donate here.

East West Players — California
East West Players was established in 1965 by nine Asian American artists seeking to create work beyond the stereotypical mainstream Hollywood fare that they had previously been given. The company presents world-class productions, develops artists of color, and provides education programs for young people, all dedicated to raising the visibility of the Asian American experience. The company serves 25,000 people each year through performances in the David Henry Hwang Theater and the Union Center for the Arts in the Little Tokyo district of Los Angeles. To date, they've premiered 228 plays and musicals, and hosted more than 1,000 readings. Donate here.