FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Tuesday, January 12, 2021 (New York, NY): Consortium of Asian American Theaters and Artists (CAATA) has announced that 7th National Asian American Theater Festival & Conference (ConFest): Kuʻu ʻĀina, Kuʻu Piko, Kuʻu Kahua has been rescheduled for May 20-29, 2022. The announcement was made last night during Episode 6 of its ongoing monthly CAATA ConFest Virtual Series, “Where We’re At: COVID and Community”. Centering its focus on the voices of Native Hawaiian and Pacific Islander theater practitioners, ConFest was initially rescheduled from its original August 2020 date to May 28-29, 2021. However, as the second wave COVID-19 surges to new and unprecedented heights, CAATA and its local partners have unanimously chosen to reschedule, prioritizing the safety of its Hawaiʻi host community and general well-being of its visiting theater communities.
The pandemic continues to ravage the country resulting in an ever-growing number of cases. Although this increase has severely impacted its local communities, Hawai’i remains reopened to tourism by the decision of state authorities. Throughout the pandemic, CAATA has seen its communities-of-color hit exceptionally hard by anti-Asian violence and cultural discrimination. Native Hawaiians and Pacific Islanders, in particular, have witnessed race-based healthcare injustice, accounting for the highest COVID-19 death rates in the state of California. CAATA’s Board acknowledges the ongoing vulnerability of Hawai’i’s Native residence and has decided to move its bi-annual conference to 2022 at the recommendation of its partner University of Hawai’i at Manoa (UH Manoa).
With development and dissemination of the COVID-19 vaccine, CAATA is optimistic about its future ability to strengthen theaters-of-color. “We are encouraged to treat what may seem like a setback as an opportunity for growth; to learn new skills, to integrate new technologies and to strategically plan our upcoming ConFest with our community partners here in Hawai‘i,” said ConFest Co-Chairs and CAATA Board Members 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 encouragement is bolstered by the resilience we see in the exemplary efforts of our communities in the face of COVID-19.”
As CAATA continues to prepare for ConFest in May 2022, Ryan I. Kahaʻiʻōlelo Sueoka will continue on in the position of ConFest Local Coordinator.
CAATA continues to realize that its work must evolve to serve its communities in these ever-changing times. In efforts to strengthen its engagement with its artists, CAATA is continuing to partner with HowlRound TV to present its curated series of livestreamed conversations focused on shared issues between theaters-of-color. The series, titled “Return to the Source” began in August 2020 and broadcasts on the second Monday of each month through April 2021. Maximiliano Urruzmendi-Mele is the series Technical Director, and CAATA staff member Ariel Estrada is 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/