East West Players (EWP) is the longest running theater of color in the country and largest producer of Asian American artistic works. EWP was founded in 1965 by nine Asian American artists (Mako, Rae Creevey, Beulah Quo, Soon-Tek Oh, James Hong, Pat Li, June Kim, Guy Lee, and Yet Lock) seeking to create roles beyond the stereotypical parts they were offered in mainstream Hollywood.
Faced with the changing demographics and being a leading advocate for diversity in the national theatrical field and LA arts and culture community, EWP has focused on intersectionality between communities of color as well as issues affecting communities of color from mental illness to issues related to immigration, disability, etc. It has also existed as a training ground for Asian American actors and for providing nationally recognized arts education programs that raise the visibility of the API community and its impact on the history of this country.
Now in its fifth decade, East West Players has grown into one of the largest and most prolific theaters of color in the country with a renowned legacy of social justice intertwined with artistic excellence.
East West Players has embarked on a new strategic plan. As part of this new strategic plan, it has revamped and updated its Mission, Vision and Values. These new statements provide a guiding policy to the organization as it embarks on its next half century of groundbreaking work.
Founded in 1965, East West Players is committed to raising the visibility of the Asian American experience by presenting inventive world-class theatrical productions, developing artists of color, and providing impactful youth education programs.
East West Players’ vision is to inspire and advocate for a world free of racism and discrimination through transformative artistic works.
Artistic Excellence – To aspire to the highest level of artistry.
Social Consciousness – To raise visibility and dialogue around the issues that affect our times.
Community – To create an open and inclusive space for diverse constituencies.
Visionary Leadership – To lead the Asian American and theatrical communities with ground-breaking artistic works.
EWP is committed to having its Board reflect the vast range of diversity within EWP’s community.
EWP will continue to cultivate candidates who identify with a constituency as yet not represented or underrepresented on the EWP Board. These constituencies can be identified along but not limited to the areas of race, ethnicity, gender identity, age, socio-economic status, etc.
Through surveys, and other statistical data, EWP will build a demographic baseline starting with our current audience as well as identify areas where further outreach and community relationships can be built.
EWP will also do an artistic assessment of API communities whose stories have not been told on our stage in recent years and identify initiatives to put work by artists from those communities in its production pipeline.
EWP will promote access for our audience members of limited means through continued diversification of means towards tickets and programming. Including continuation of its pay what you can, rush, and discount ticketing plans as well as targeted offers to under-served communities.
EWP will continue to actively partner with community and social justice groups in conjunction with themes of their season and productions. It will seek to consider productions in venues and organizations that are geographically convenient for API and POC communities it wishes to serve.
EWP will also continue to develop new works and productions in partnership with other community organizations to help both organizations diversify their audiences and/or communities.
EWP will continue to recruit skilled performers with a variety of backgrounds so that all audience members will have the opportunity to see themselves on stage and create a pipeline and opportunity for development of skills for artists of color.
EWP will continue to develop new works through our Playwright’s Lab, which focuses on mentoring playwrights of color, particularly those that are female identified.
STUDENT/YOUTH PROGRAM DEVELOPMENT:
EWP will pursue funding for student outreach productions, particularly targeting funds for programs at low income schools in LA County as well as continue development of its student volunteer and intern programs.
The East West Players Board Chair and Artistic Director will provide an assessment/update annually regarding the challenges and achievements regarding diversity and inclusion during the preceding year, and the opportunities and goals for the upcoming year. This report will be presented in tandem with the conversations on the budget for the upcoming season and show how through the budgeting process these items are priorities.