Native Hawaiian and Pacific Islander Theatre Artists Lead Off Virtual ConFest
Consortium of Asian American Theaters and Artists (CAATA) announces its new, monthly ConFest Virtual Series featuring the work of Asian American artists and theatres from across the country.
The virtual series will explore the theme of the upcoming 7th Annual Asian American Theater Festival & Conference (ConFest) “Kuʻu ʻĀina, Kuʻu Piko, Kuʻu Kahua – Return to the Source” in Honolulu, Hawaiʻi in May 2021, which centers the voices of Native Hawaiian and Pacific Islander theater practitioners, and will feature the thriving theater community of Hawaiʻi, where Asian American, Native Hawaiian, and Pacific Islander faces on stage are the norm, not the exception.
“Ku‘u ‘Āina, Ku‘u Piko, Ku‘u Kahua – Return to the Source” is a call to all theatre artists to reconnect with their foundations and their sources of knowledge: their land, their family, their center. The online series and its presentation of the wide diaspora of Asian American stories will be a vehicle through which both the audience and artists can ground themselves, their cultural knowledge, and the many identities that we bring to our communities.
The 90-minute premiere episode, also titled “Kuʻu ʻĀina, Kuʻu Piko, Kuʻu Kahua: Return to the Source,” will be hosted by CAATA ConFest Co-Chairs CAATA ConFest Co-Chairs Leilani Chan (Founding Artistic Director, TeAda Productions) and Tammy Haili‘ōpua Baker (Associate Professor, Department of Theatre and Dance, University of Hawai‘i at Mānoa), and will focus on CAATA’s decision to convene ConFest in Hawaiʻi.
Featured performances will include an excerpt of work by Hana Keaka, the Hawaiian Theatre Program based in the Department of Theatre and Dance at the University of Hawaiʻi at Mānoa on O‘ahu. The episode will also introduce its May 2021 ConFest keynote speakers.
The monthly online series will premiere on Monday, August 10, 2020 at 1PM HST, 3PM AKDT, 4PM PDT, 5PM MDT, 6PM CDT, 7PM EDT on HowlRound TV, CAATA’s website, and Facebook page.
“The ConFest Virtual Series will feature artists from across the country who represent some of the most groundbreaking work in American theatre, and includes stories from across the breadth of the Asian American diaspora, including Hawaiʻi, Egypt, Vietnam, and more,” said Chan and Baker.
They added, “This series is not meant to be a replacement for the conference and festival, but is an offering to begin discussions around artists, topics and themes proposed by the field that we hope will culminate in celebration when we are able to gather in person again next year. Our goal is to also continue dialogue with other networks of color and connect artists with current BIPOC movements.”
Future episodes of the series will take place on the second Monday of the month through April 2021 with all times at 1PM HST, 3PM AKDT, 4PM PDT, 5PM MDT, 6PM CDT, 7PM EDT on HowlRound TV, CAATA’s website, and Facebook page. For a full listing of upcoming episodes, visit www.caata.net.
The series will be produced with HowlRound Theatre Commons in Boston, MA, a nonprofit organization that operates as part of Emerson Collegeʻs Office of the Arts. HowlRound provides a free and open platform for theatre-makers worldwide that amplifies progressive, disruptive ideas about the art form and facilitates connection between diverse practitioners. The series will be presented on HowlRound TV, HowlRoundʻs global, commons-based peer-produced, open access live streaming and video archive project.
Series artists will be announced at a later date. CAATA staff member Ariel Estrada is the series Line Producer, and Maximiliano Urruzmendi-Mele will be the series Technical Director.