Kumu Kahua Offers Playwriting Workshop

PA’I Foundation, in association with Kumu Kahua Theatre, presents a 3-day Playwriting Workshop for island writers, with Native American playwrights Larissa FastHorse and Ty Defoe. The workshop – designed to serve writers of all levels, from novice to experienced – will focus on jump-starting the writing process, exercises for the imagination, writing from your cultural perspective, and practical tips for completing and developing your work. Think of it as a crash course in getting started!

While the workshop is conducted by Native artists and geared toward their indigenous perspective, participants of all cultural backgrounds – Native Hawaiian, Asian/Pacific Islanders and everyone living in the islands – are encouraged to attend.

The workshop begins on Thursday, August 4 (7 PM) with a Meet and Greet at Kumu Kahua Theatre; introductory session on Friday evening (Aug 5) and full day writing and feedback sessions on Saturday and Sunday (Aug 6/7). The workshop is FREE; a registration fee of $20 will be charged, to help defray the cost of lunches and refreshments served each day.


WHAT:           PA’I/KUMU KAHUA Playwriting Workshop

WHERE:         Kumu Kahua Theatre, 46 Merchant Street, Honolulu

WHEN:           Thursday, August 4 – 7 PM

Friday, August 5 – 6-9 PM

Saturday, August 6 – 10 AM – 4 PM (lunch provided)

Sunday, August 7 – 10 AM – 4 PM (lunch provided)

WHO:             Writers (ages 16+), all cultures
COST:              $20


The workshop leaders, FastHorse and Defoe, are both nationally recognized writer-directors who work under the banner of their consulting company, Indigenous Direction.  They will share their creative methods and experience as writing mentors. Both served as instructor/mentors for two cohorts of writers with the Alaska Native Playwrights Project and have extensive resumes as creative artists.


The Alaska Native Playwrights Project (2009-2013), funded by the Ford Foundation, developed 32 new Native playwrights through a model of one week of “boot camp” instruction followed by 9 months of writing under the guidance of a professional mentor. The program resulted in 30 completed scripts – by Native playwrights – being added to the theatrical canon.


Registration is limited to twenty individuals.  Please email kumukahuatheatreom@gmail.com or call 536-4222 to register.


Larissa FastHorse is an award winning playwright, director, and choreographer based in Santa Monica.  Larissa was awarded the NEA Distinguished New Play Development Grant, Joe Dowling Annamaghkerrig Fellowship, AATE Distinguished Play Award, Inge Residency, Sundance/Ford Foundation Fellowship, Aurand Harris Fellowship, and numerous Ford and NEA Grants.  Larissa’s produced plays include Urban Rez, Landless, Average Family, Teaching Disco Squaredancing to Our Elders: a Class Presentation, and Cherokee Family Reunion.  She has written commissions for Cornerstone Theatre Company, Children’s Theatre Company of Minneapolis, AlterTheater, Kennedy Center TYA, Native Voices at the Autry, Artist’s Rep, The Eagle Project and Mountainside Theatre.  She developed plays with Kansas City Rep, Artist’s Rep in Portland, Arizona Theater Company, Mixed Blood, the Center Theatre Group Writer’s Workshop and Berkeley Rep’s Ground Floor.  She is a current member of the Playwright’s Union, Director’s Lab West 2015, Theatre Communications Group board of directors, Playwright’s Center Core Writers and is an enrolled member of the Rosebud Sioux Tribe, Lakota Nation.


Larissa is represented by Jonathan Mills at Paradigm NY and Britton Rizzio at Writ Large.

Ty Defoe (Giizhig), member of the Oneida and Ojibwe tribes of Wisconsin, resides in NYC. He’s a Grammy Award winner for his work on Come to Me Great Mystery and is a writer/musician known for his cultural education. He is honored to carry his mentors’ teachings in song and dance with him. As an artist, Ty has gained recognition in many circles around the world, such as receiving an NEA grant award for work on Drum is Thunder, Flute is the Wind, and recently wrote and directed Heather Henson’s and Ibex Puppetry’s, Crane: on Earth, in Sky at LaMaMa Theatre in NYC.  Other works include: Clouds Are Pillows for the Moon (with composer Tidtaya Sinutoke at Yale Institute for Musical Theatre; ASCAP Musical Theatre Workshop), Hart Island Requiem (The Civilians R&D Group), Crossing Borders (CAP 21), Red Pine (Native Voices at the Autry; IAIA of Santa Fe), Positive+ Generations (The Theater Offensive/Black Indian Inn), Joe’s Pub, Lincoln Center, and 54 Below. He is an active member of the East Coast Two-Spirit Society and Indigenous Direction, and received degrees from CalArts, Goddard, and NYU. Ty is a facilitator at artEquity and a Theatre Communications Group’s equity, diversity, and inclusion Fellow alum, as well as a Dramatist Guild and ASCAP member.


Founded in 2001, with a mission to preserve and perpetuate Hawaiian cultural traditions for future generations, PA’I Foundation is the non-profit organization of Pua Ali’i ‘Ilima, a hālau hula (school of hula) established by kumu hula (master teacher of hula) Vicky Holt Takamine in 1977. PA’I will realize its goal of establishing a cultural center on Oʻahu to better serve the broader Hawaiian community, with the opening of the Ola Ka ‘Ilima Artspace Lofts in 2018. This playwriting workshop is made possible by a generous gift from the H. B. Henson Fund.


Kumu Kahua Theatre is supported in part by The Hawai‘i State Foundation on Culture and Arts through appropriations from the Legislature of the State of Hawai‘i and by the National Endowment for the Arts. Also paid for in part by The Hawai‘i Tourism Authority, McInerny Foundation (Bank of Hawaii, Trustee); Hawaiian Electric Industries (HEI) Charitable Foundation and Hawaiian Electric Company; The Star Advertiser and other Foundations, Businesses and Patrons.


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