History

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It all started when...

For over 20 years, TeAda has collaborated with community-based organizations across the country, creating original plays rooted in the experiences of immigrants and refugees.  A leader in their field, TeAda impacts tens of thousands of community members, offering acts of service through transformative theater workshops and performances.

 

TeAda Productions began in 1996 as a nomadic theater, with a commitment to artists of color, and a focus on highlighting marginalized stories for purposes of public discourse. Throughout the years, TeAda vigorously upheld the spirit of its programming, delving into exciting, groundbreaking work rooted in pressing community issues. TeAda Productions' cross‐disciplinary performances have addressed health, education, and social justice issues affecting communities of color from intersecting experiences.

 

TeAda’s national touring productions include Refugee Nation and Global Taxi Driver. Created in 2005, Refugee Nation was the first nationally touring play about Laotian refugees in the U.S. Gathered from Lao-American oral histories, the interdisciplinary theater performance explores the impact of war, refugees, global politics and U.S. citizenship.  After touring the USA for over five years, Refugee Nation premiered in Los Angeles June 2012.  

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“TeAda has helped me and many others to integrate creativity and mindfulness into our lives as activists for a better world. We all have seeds of creativity and mindfulness inside each of us, no matter your background or life experiences. TeAda guides us on flowering these seeds that enable us to create a more healthy movement for justice.”

~ Victor Narro, UCLA Downtown Labor Center

 
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“TeAda creates performances from the mouths of the people. Our plays and our workshops are developed by documenting and reflecting on the intimate realities that shape who we are and were.” ~ Ova Saopeng, TeAda Associate Producer

TeAda’s national touring productions include Refugee Nation and Global Taxi Driver. Created in 2005, Refugee Nation was the first nationally touring play about Laotian refugees in the U.S. Gathered from Lao-American oral histories, the interdisciplinary theater performance explores the impact of war, refugees, global politics and U.S. citizenship.  After touring the USA for over five years, Refugee Nation premiered in Los Angeles June 2012.  

“Refugee Nation is one of the most enduring artistic testaments to human suffering and resilience. It offers insight into the power of art and theater to transform and heal. Especially for those who have suffered under conflict and war.”  ~ Toc Soneoulay-Gillespie, MSW, Director of Refugee Resettlement Catholic Charities Oregon, Portland, OR

Global Taxi Driver world premiered in Minneapolis at Intermedia Arts September 2014 and premiered in Los Angeles at East West Players March 2015. Inspired by the real life experiences of immigrant taxi drivers from L.A. to Minneapolis and Bangkok to Guadalajara, Global Taxi Driver explores immigration and mobility in the 21st Century. It tells a worldwide story of diaspora and the effects of technology on the workforce.

Our newest production, Masters of the Currents, gives voice to Hawaii’s most recent immigrants from Micronesia, a subregion of Oceania, which comprises of thousands of small islands in the western Pacific Ocean. Many fled their island nations due to environmental and economic pressures, yet are facing resistance and battle for equality in their assimilation. Masters of the Currents combines community based story collection and social justice practices with devised ensemble techniques to create a theatrical performance, built with the involvement of this community. Developed through a New England Foundation for the Arts - National Theater Project award to work with the Micronesian community in Hawai’I, Masters of the Currents world premieres October 2017 at the Honolulu Theatre for Youth, Tenney Theatre.

“I am really amazed and blown away by all of your creativity, energy and talents.  Every single one of the cast in all the companies in partnership were awesome.  Words can't express enough the generous giving of yourself and your times.” -Innocenta Sound-Kikku, Cultural Navigator of Pacific Voices Oceania Honolulu, HI

TeAda has a strong record of building partnerships. Through our Pop-Up and Creative Self-Care series, we infuse activism into art, using theater to support undocumented and Queer & Trans workers of color with organizing efforts.

“We support organizations and groups to build tools for reflection, self-care, public speaking, conscious listening and power building.” -Shruti Purkayastha, TeAda Community Organizer and Creative Self-Care Lead Artist

TeAda strives to always take a stand. Our work is about realizing multiple truths, sharing from our hearts and showing up for our communities.


“We do this work because we care deeply about people and justice. We CreAte, Perform and Take a Stand to cultivate a better world for all of us.” -Leilani Chan, TeAda Artistic Director