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Finding Aid for the East West Players Records, 1965-1992
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Collection Details
Table of contents What's This?
  • Descriptive Summary
  • Administrative Information
  • Biography
  • Scope and Content
  • Organization and Arrangement
  • Indexing Terms

  • Descriptive Summary

    Title: East West Players Records
    Date (inclusive): 1965-1992
    Collection number: 115
    Creator: East West Players (Los Angeles, Calif.)
    Extent: 113 boxes and 11 flat boxes (56 linear ft.)
    Abstract: As the first Asian American theater founded in 1965, East West Players and its history provide valuable account of Asian Pacific American experience. The collection spans 1965 to 1992 and includes administrative files, financial records, and production related files consisting of scripts, photographic material, programs, publicity, sound recordings and videos.
    Language: Finding aid is written in English.
    Repository: University of California, Los Angeles. Library. Performing Arts Special Collections.
    Los Angeles, California 90095-1575
    Physical location: Stored off-site at SRLF. Advance notice is required for access to the collection. Please contact the UCLA Library, Performing Arts Special Collections Reference Desk for paging information.

    Administrative Information

    Restrictions on Access

    COLLECTION STORED OFF-SITE AT SRLF: Open for research. Advance notice required for access. Contact the UCLA Library, Performing Arts Special Collections Reference Desk for paging information.
    Audio and moving image materials in this collection are restricted and require advance notice for use.

    Restrictions on Use and Reproduction

    Property rights to the physical object belong to the UCLA Library, Performing Arts Special Collections. Literary rights, including copyright, are retained by the creators and their heirs. It is the responsibility of the researcher to determine who holds the copyright and pursue the copyright owner or his or her heir for permission to publish where The UC Regents do not hold the copyright.

    Provenance/Source of Acquisition

    Gift of East West Players, 1992.

    Preferred Citation

    [Identification of item], East West Players Records (Collection 115). Performing Arts Special Collections, Charles E. Young Research Library, UCLA.


    The East West Players theater company (EWP), located in Los Angeles, CA, was founded in 1965. EWP provides Asian Pacific actors, writers, directors, and producers a forum for presenting their unique works from an Asian-Pacific-American perspective, with productions ranging from traditional Asian theater forms to the Asian American experience to mainstream drama and musical theater. The founders of EWP include artistic directors Mako, Rae Creevey, James Hong, June K. Lu, Guy Lee, Pat Li, Yet Lock, Soon-Tek Oh, and Beulah Quo. EWP's second artistic director, Nobu McCarthy, who served from 1989 to 1993, encourged the participation and inclusion of non-Asian actors in the theater group. The third and current artistic director, Tim Dang, started his appointment in 1993.
    As the first Asian American theater company in the United States, the foundation of EWP was a response to the lack of roles, especially authentic ones, for Asian American actors. Its original purpose statement indicated that "The East West Players departed somewhat from all the traditional Hollywood formulas, for the company shaped new and compelling images of its own and addressed a variety of problems connected with the Asian/Pacific American community and the art of theater."
    Rashomon, the first production of EWP premiered on April 3, 1965 at the University of Southern California. During it's early years, the company staged Asian and European classics, and rehearsed and held workshops at Bethany Presbyterian Church while searching for potential Asian American playwrights. In 1972, EWP moved to 4424 Santa Monica Boulevard, where it began its children's theatre tours and provided a base to stage original works by artistic talents such as Wakako Yamauchi, Momoko Iko, Dom Magwili, Jon Shirota, and Perry Miyake Jr.
    EWP expanded its outreach to immigrant communities with bilingual tours and musical theatre following the success of the production Pacific Overtures. EWP relocated in 1998 to the former site of Union Church in the Los Angeles neighborhood known as Little Tokyo where it still resides.

    Scope and Content

    The collection consists of production material, administrative files, and business and financial records, related to the East West Players theater company (EWP). The production material includes scripts, photographs, reviews, publicity material, sound recordings, videos, and a small amount of correspondence, financial records, and box office reports pertaining to EWP productions. The administrative records contains administrative files, board of director minutes, and newsletters. The business and financial records include files documenting grant applications with multiple foundations and/or organizations as well as general information about season budgets, donations, insurance, and ledgers.

    Organization and Arrangement

    Arranged in the following series:
    • Series 1. Administrative Records
    • Series 2. Business and Financial Records
    • Series 3. Correspondence and Research Materials
    • Series 4. Publicity, Development and Special Events
    • Series 5. Productions
    • Series 6. Tours
    • Series 7. (Summer) Workshops
    • Series 8. Script Submissions
    • Series 9. Photographs, Slides, Video Tapes

    Indexing Terms

    The following terms have been used to index the description of this collection in the library's online public access catalog.


    East West Players (Los Angeles, Calif.)--Archives
    Theatrical companies-California-Los Angeles--Archival resources
    Theatrical producers and directors --Archival resources

    Genres and Forms of Material

    business records.
    audio tapes.
    video tapes.