Scope and Content
Title: Asian American Theater Company Archives,
Date (inclusive): 1973-1993
Collection number: CEMA 9
Asian American Theater Company
45 Hollinger boxes, 3 Paige boxes, and 10 portfolio/print
University of California, Santa Barbara. Library.
California Ethnic and Multicultural Archives
Shelf location: For current information on the location of these
materials, please consult the library's online catalog.
Donated by Asian American Theater Company, 1993
Copyright resides with donor
[Identification of item], Asian American Theater Company Archives, CEMA 9,
Department of Special Collections, University Libraries, University of California, Santa Barbara.
The Asian American Theater Company (AATC) is one of the only three Asian American theaters in the United
States. Founded in 1973 by the Chinese American writer and playwright Frank Chin and others, it is a
professionally-oriented theater dedicated to producing plays that are by and about Asian Americans, and is the
oldest, full-season production, ethnic theater in northern California. Its high-quality productions promote inter-ethnic
understanding and provide positive role models for the Asian American community as well as the community-at-
The AATC began life as a playwright workshop initiated by Frank Chin and sponsored by the American
Conservatory Theatre. In 1975, the workshop became a professional theater company dedicated to the production of
plays by Asian Pacific Islander American dramatists and the development and support of Asian Pacific Islander
American actors, designers and technicians. During the late seventies and early eighties, AATC was the focal point
of an explosion of Asian Pacific Islander American talent in the San Francisco Bay Area. Over the years, the AATC
has served as a home for numerous playwrights, directors, actors and designers who went on to careers of national
prominence, including: playwrights Frank Chin, Philip Kan Gotanda, David Henry Hwang, Momoko Iko, R.A.
Shiomi and Wakako Yamauchi; actors Margaret Cho, Dennis Dun and Amy Hill; designer Lydia Tanji; and
dramaturg and director Judi Nihei.
The AATC seeks to challenge its audiences artistically and politically, producing work that is visionary, breaks
traditions, crosses boundaries, and leads the audience to question their aesthetic as well as their cultural assumptions.
Through its productions, a training program and young artists' workshops, the AATC continues to serve as a focal
point for the talents of established and emerging Asian Pacific Islander American playwrights, actors, directors,
designers and technicians.
Today the AATC has offices in the Japanese Cultural and Community Center of Northern California in San
Francisco's Japantown. The goal of the AATC continues to be "to develop theater which nourishes the community,
encourages dialogue and understanding, and inspires new generations of Asian Pacific Islander Americans to tell
their stories." (Adapted from the AATC website at: http://www.wenet.net/~aatc/)
Scope and Content
The Asian American Theater Company Archives consists of eleven series distributed among 56 archival boxes
that occupy approximately 25 linear feet of space. The archival materials include administrative/personnel records,
grant applications, production files, correspondence, flyers, audio and videotapes, photographs, and a few theater
artifacts. The AATC Archives cover the period between 1973-1997. Series and folder titles within them are
generally arranged in alphabetic order. Folders with the same subject are usually arranged alphabetically or