Sixth Virtual ConFest Segment to Gather APA Artistic Leaders to Discuss COVID-19

Sixth Virtual ConFest on January 11

CAATA Sixth Virtual ContestWednesday, January 6th, 2020 (New York, NY): Consortium of Asian American Theaters and Artists (CAATA) announces the speakers for the sixth episode of its ongoing monthly ConFest Virtual Series, “Where We’re At: COVID-19 and the Community,” on Monday, January 11th, 2021 at 1PM HST, 2PM AKST, 3PM PST, 4PM MST, 5PM CST, and 6PM EST.

The episode will be hosted by kt shorb (Generic Ensemble Company, Producing Artistic Director) and will identify some of the challenges Asian American/Pacific Islander theaters are facing during a period defined by the COVID-19 global pandemic, racism against the Black, Brown, and Asian communities, and extreme economic upheaval in the arts sector.

The episode will feature regional reports by Consortium of Asian American Theaters & Artists (CAATA) (New York, NY) member theater companies, including Generic Ensemble Company (Austin, TX), Hana Keaka (Honolulu, HI), Leviathan Lab (New York, NY), Pangea World Theater (Minneapolis, MN), Perseverance Theatre (Juneau, AK), TeAda Productions (Los Angeles, CA). The episode will be broadcast on Howlround and on CAATA’s Facebook page.

The online event will include a brief history detailing the racialization of disease against AAPI communities from Generic Ensemble Company Producing Artistic Director kt shorb; nationwide updates on the current status and possible future of Asylum seekers from TeAda Productions Founding Artistic Director Leilani Chan; and a special presentation from Perseverance Theatre Board President Joe Bedard.
Additionally, Leviathan Lab Founding and Executive Director Ariel Estrada, Pangea World Theater Co-Artistic and Executive Director Meena Natarjan; and University of Hawai’i at Mānoa Associate Professor Hailiopua Baker, and CAATA ConFest Local Coordinator Ryan I. Kahaʻiʻōlelo Sueoka will report on how their regional artistic communities are responding to the pandemic, as well as numerous other concurrent and equally urgent global and national crises, including the protests for racial justice, global warming, the rise in economic inequality, and more.
“Where We’re At: Community and COVID,” is the sixth episode of CAATA ConFest’s Virtual Series exploring the theme of the upcoming 7th Asian American Theater Festival & Conference (ConFest) “Kuʻu ʻĀina, Kuʻu Piko, Kuʻu Kahua – Return to the Source” in Honolulu, Hawaiʻi. The in-person ConFest will center the voices of Native Hawaiian and Pacific Islander theater practitioners, and 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 Pan-Asian, Pacific Islander, Middle East North African, and Native & Indigenous American stories will be a vehicle through which both the audience and artists can ground themselves in their cultural knowledge and the many identities that we bring to our communities.
“Future episodes of the 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 Pan Asian/Pacific Islander/MENA/Native/Indigenous American diaspora, including Hawaiʻi, Egypt, Vietnam, and more,” said 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).
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 BIPOC networks of color and connect artists with current BIPOC movements.”
The ConFest Virtual Series is being produced in partnership 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.
Maximiliano Urruzmendi-Mele will be the series Technical Director, and CAATA staff member Ariel Estrada will be the series Line Producer. A full schedule of broadcast dates for the ConFest Virtual Series can be found on CAATAʻs website at https://caata.net/monthly-confest-virtual-series/

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