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Asian Americans tighten bonds.

NEW YORK CITY: What was once a loose alliance of troupes banding together for a biennial festival is now a formal nonprofit. Twelve companies have created a national network, the Consortium of Asian American Theaters & Artists (CAATA), to organize the National Asian American Theater Festival (NAATF), whose second edition runs Oct. 13-18 at Theater for the New City and the Julia Miles Theater in NYC.


"We determined that formally organizing would position us better in terms of structure, continuity, process, funding and branding," says consortium member Mia Katigbak. With support from the Doris Duke Charitable Foundation, the group drafted a charter, the core of which reads: "CAATA envisions a strong and sustainable Asian-American theatre community that is an integral presence in national culture--evocative of our past, declarative of our present, and innovative toward our future. ... We collaborate to inspire learning and sharing of knowledge, practices and resources to promote a healthy, sustainable artistic ecology."

A centerpiece of the 2009 program is Imelda, a tuner about Imelda Marcos, presented by Pan Asian Repertory Theatre and East West Players "Imelda dovetails perfectly with NAATF," says Pan Asian artistic producing director Tisa Chang, "as this is the first time we are working with an all-Filipino east of professional artists of the first rank."

Also on tap: Shishir Kurup's Sharif Don't Like It, about the Department of Homeland Security's treatment of people of Asian and Middle Eastern descent; Sheetal Gandhi's dance-theatre work Babu-Beti-Biwi, about the lives of Northern Indian women; a Seagull from National Asian American Theatre Company; and readings from Ma-Yi Writers' Lab, curated by Qui Nguyen and Lloyd Suh.

Adds Katigbak: "We appointed a panel to select participants: Emilya Cachapero, TCG's director of artistic programs; Marcus Young (of Minneapolis); Eric Ting (Long Wharf Theatre); Lucy Burns (California); and Jorge I. Cortinas (New York). We wanted to have as transparent a selection process as possible." Visit

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Title Annotation:NEWS IN BRIEF; National Asian American Theater Festival
Publication:American Theatre
Geographic Code:1USA
Date:Oct 1, 2009
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