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Guide to the Asian American Theater Company Archives, 1973-1993
CEMA 9  
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Collection Details
Table of contents What's This?
  • Descriptive Summary
  • Administrative Information
  • Organizational history
  • Scope and Content

  • Descriptive Summary

    Title: Asian American Theater Company Archives,
    Date (inclusive): 1973-1993
    Collection number: CEMA 9
    Creator: Asian American Theater Company
    Extent: 45 Hollinger boxes, 3 Paige boxes, and 10 portfolio/print boxes.
    Repository: University of California, Santa Barbara. Library. California Ethnic and Multicultural Archives
    Santa Barbara, CA 93106
    Shelf location: For current information on the location of these materials, please consult the library's online catalog.
    Language: English.

    Administrative Information


    Donated by Asian American Theater Company, 1993



    Publication Rights

    Copyright resides with donor

    Preferred Citation

    [Identification of item], Asian American Theater Company Archives, CEMA 9, Department of Special Collections, University Libraries, University of California, Santa Barbara.

    Organizational history

    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- large.
    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 chronologically.