Artists at Play produces theatrical programming that explores the Asian American experience. In the presentation of these multifaceted stories, we provide resources and a platform for underrepresented theatre artists while serving audiences within the Los Angeles community.
Artists at Play’s body of work will bring new Asian American and Pacific Islander narratives to the canon of American theatre. Through our work locally and nationally, we will support new, emerging and established artists in their goals to challenge and engage theatrical communities and audiences.
Provide opportunities for the artistic development of underrepresented theatre artists.
Respect and observe the cultural nuances and contexts of the stories we tell.
Take an active stance on anti-racism in the work that we do, both on- and off-stage.
Artists at Play unofficially began when Peter J. Kuo first directed Julia Cho in the 2008 production of Letters to a Student Revolutionary. The following year, the production was picked up for an encore run in Downtown Los Angeles by AddWord Productions with Stefanie Wong Lau as the marketing director. Peter, Julia, and Stefanie continued to successfully collaborate on several productions. When it came time to round out this current team of artists/arts administrators, it was easy to include Marie-Reine Velez due to her experience in production, marketing and programming with TeAda Productions as well as USC’s Visions and Voices. Having already collaborated on different projects in various configurations, these four embarked upon continued growth collectively as Artists at Play.
In Fall 2011, the Los Angeles Premiere of Lauren Yee’s cheekily subversive comedy Ching Chong Chinaman marked Artists at Play’s debut on to the local theatre scene. That successful show was followed by 2012’s Edith Can Shoot Things and Hit Them, which earned nominations from the GLAAD Media Awards (for Outstanding Los Angeles Theater) and LA Stage Alliance (for Best Acting Ensemble for a Play, also Ovation Recommended).
For Edith Can Shoot Things…, Artists at Play worked with Nicholas Pilapil as Assistant Production Manager. Nicholas was later welcomed into the group as Associate Producer for the 2013 season, which saw the launch of Artists at Play’s spring reading series. That fall brought on another commercial hit with the L.A. premiere of Cowboy Versus Samurai by Michael Golamco. In 2014, Artists at Play presented the L.A. premiere of 99 Histories by Julia Cho (the writer, not to be confused with the actor/AAP co-founder). Written more than ten years ago, the Los Angeles-set play received a much-deserved homecoming production.
Artists at Play continued presenting theatre with the 2015 West Coast Premiere of In Love and Warcraft by Madhuri Shekar, which also marked their first co-production (with The Latino Theater Company at LATC). In August-September 2016, Artists at Play presented their first World Premiere, Carla Ching’s The Two Kids That Blow Shit Up. Then, after presenting two workshop readings of Two Mile Hollow, Artists at Play presented the World Premiere of this new work by Leah Nanako Winkler in 2018.
Officially adding Katherine Chou to the team, Artists at Play wrapped up their ninth year of producing theatre with the Los Angeles Premiere of The Chinese Lady by Lloyd Suh in Fall 2019. In 2021, Artists at Play is celebrating a decade of producing Asian American theatre.