Consortium of Asian American Theaters and Artists (CAATA) announces its roster of speakers and performers for the fourth episode of its ongoing monthly ConFest Virtual Series, “Nomadic Imagination: Transnational Homelands & Cultural Return,” on Monday, November 9, 2020 at 2PM HT, 3PM AKT, 4PM PT, 5PM MT, 6PM CT, and 7PM ET. The episode will be hosted by Andrea Assaf, Artistic and Executive Director of Art2Action, Inc. and Steering Committee Member of the MENA Theater Makers Alliance (MENATMA), with a special video message by Jamil Khoury, the Co-Executive Artistic Director of Silk Road Rising. This episode focuses on Middle Eastern/North African (MENA), Southwest/Central Asian, and Muslim American artists.
The online event will include scenes from “Eh Dah? Questions for My Father,” a new musical with book, music, and lyrics by New York Musical Festival Award-Winning theatre artist Aya Aziz, directed by Arpita Mukherjee (Hypokrit Theatre Company); and “The Red Chador: Genesis One” by performance artist Anida Yoeu Ali. This episode will also include a welcome by Tammy Haili‘ōpua Baker (Associate Professor, Department of Theatre and Dance, University of Hawai‘i at Mānoa), with panelists: playwright and actress Heather Raffo, director Kholoud Sawaf, and Arpita Mukherjee.
“Nomadic Imagination: Transnational Homelands & Cultural Return,” is the fourth episode of CAATA ConFest’s Virtual Series exploring the theme of the upcoming 7th Biennial Asian American Theater Festival & Conference (ConFest) “Kuʻu ʻĀina, Kuʻu Piko, Kuʻu Kahua – Return to the Source” in Honolulu, Hawaiʻi in May 2021. 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/MENA/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 Chan 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/.