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A Language of Their Own

MediaRitesTheatre Diaspora presents 

ALOTOA Language of Their Own
by Award-Winning Playwright Chay Yew

at Portland Center Stage , Sept. 10 at 7:30pm
and Portland Actors Conservatory, Sept. 18 at 2pm

With funding support by a grant from The Equity Foundation, 

Chay Yew’s A Language of Their Own focuses on Oscar and Ming who had been together for four years. They break up after Oscar is diagnosed with AIDS, however, neither is able to let the other go completely. Both begin relationships with new boyfriends and find navigating these relationships just as complicated as when they were together – like learning and creating the nuances of a new language.

NOTE: The play contains strong sexual language and situations so parental discretion for minors is advised.

Theatre Diaspora will perform two staged readings of A Language of Their Own, directed by Andrew Klaus-Vineyard, co-artistic director at defunkt theatre) with associate director Samson Syharath, at Portland Center Stage  (128 NW 11th Avenue, Portland) on Saturday, September 10 at 7:30 p.m. and at Portland Actors Conservatory,(1436 SW Montgomery St., Portland) on Sunday, September 18 at 2:00 p.m.Tickets are $10 for general seating and $5 for Oregon Trail cardholders, students and AIDS Walk participants (provide registration).

Tickets are available for purchase now at PCS.org (https://www.pcs.org/blog/a-language-of-their-own-with-theatre-diasporathe Sept 10th show and at  www.brownpapertickets.com/ for the Sept 18th show.

The Portland production is produced by Wynee Hu with co-producers Samson Syharath and Alex Haslett, all producing ensemble members of Theatre Diaspora. The cast is comprised of local actors: Jess Ford, Ming Young, Samson Syharath, and Ken Tang. Paige Rogers is the stage manager for this production.

About Playwright Chay Yew

YewChay_288x375Chay Yew, playwright and artistic director of Victory Gardens Theater in Chicago, is a recipient of the Obie and DramaLogue Awards for Direction. His productions have been cited by the Los Angeles Times and New York Times as one of the “Ten Best Productions of the Year;” Seattle Times and Strangers’ Best Achievement in Theatre; and was named Best Director by Seattle Post-Intelligencer. He has directed world premieres by playwrights Jose Rivera, Naomi Iizuka, Kia Corthron, Julia Cho, David Adjmi and Jessica Goldberg, and performance artists Rha Goddess, Universes, Alec Mapa, Sandra Tsing Loh and Brian Freeman.

Yew is the recipient of the London Fringe Award for Best Playwright and Best Play, George and Elisabeth Marton Playwriting Award, GLAAD Media Award, Asian Pacific Gays and Friends’ Community Visibility Award, Made in America Award, AEA/SAG/AFTRA 2004 Diversity Honor, and Robert Chesley Award; he has received grants from the McKnight Foundation, Rockefeller MAP Fund and the TCG/Pew National Residency Program.

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After the War Blues at PSU Lincoln Hall Studio Theatre, June 4 & 5, 2016

ATWB2-cool300dpiMediaRites‘ Theatre Diaspora presents the Oregon premiere of After the War Blues by award-winning playwright Philip Kan Gotanda, co-directed by notable Portland actors and directors Bobby Bermea and Jamie Rea.

Two staged reading performances will be at 1:30pm on Saturday, June 4, 2016, and at 1:30pm on Sunday, June 5, 2016. Both at Portland State University’s Lincoln Hall Studio Theatre (1620 SW Park Avenue, Portland, OR 97201).

Tickets are $10 each for general seating and $5 each for students and Oregon Trail cardholders. Tickets available for purchase now at Brown Paper Tickets. Seating is limited to 90 per performance.

In addition to visiting Portland to attend both performances and post-show audience talkbacks, playwright Philip Kan Gotanda will teach a playwriting master class funded by The Dramatists Guild Fund on Friday, June 3, 2016, at Portland Center Stage. To register for the class, visit https://www.pcs.org/blog/playwriting-masterclass-with-philip-kan-gotanda. Attendance is limited to 80 people.

unspecified-3After the War Blues takes place in the aftermath of World War II in San Francisco’s Western Addition District where some Japanese Americans returned from internment camps. African Americans, white Southern migrants, and Russian Jews were also arriving to start new lives. All the characters struggle to get along with limited resources while trying to find their place in this mix of cultures.

Chet Monkawa, the play’s central character, is a jazz trumpeter who returned to his family’s rooming house after the internment, but his old neighborhood isn’t the same. The rooming house is filled with new transplants, and Chet and his boarders must find a new harmony in uncertain times.

The cast comprises Wynee Hu and Larry Toda, bunspecified-1oth core ensemble members of Theatre Diaspora, and local actors: Leo Lin, James Dixon, Ken Yoshikawa, Ashley Williams, Caitlin Fisher Draeger, Colin Kane, Adrian Baxter, Brooke Calcagno, and Isaiah Sims. Natasha Stockem is the stage manager for this production.

This Portland production is co-produced by Dmae Roberts, Samson Syharath, and Alex Haslett of Theatre Diaspora.

Following the performance on June 5th, the post-show talkback will include community members : Kara Carmosino (APANO), Michael Grice (Nothing But Quality education leader,) and Kimberly Moreland (author of African Americans in Portland.)

About the Directors

Bobby Bermea is the producing artistic director of The Beirut Wedding World Theatre Project, artistic director of BaseRoots Theatre, a founding member of Badass Theatre Company, and a long-standing member of Sojourn Theatre. He received a Drammy nomination for Outstanding Director for his work on unspecifiedWait Until Dark with Northwest Classical and recently directed The Blue Door f0r Profile Theatre Project. 

Jamie M. Rea, award-winning director, designer, and performer, has worked internationally, and is the executive artistic director for The Beirut Wedding World Theatre Project. Some of her local productions include The Devil and Billy Markham, Songs for a New World with Staged! and the Miracle Theatre Group, and The 1940’s Radio Hour with Enlightened Theatrics.

First read-through photos by Alex Haslett

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The Language Archive


MediaRites’ Theatre Diaspora presents staged readings of The Language Archive, a poignant comedy about dying languages and difficulties of love by award-winning playwright and television writer Julia Cho.

Screen shot 2016-03-27 at 3.38.22 PMDmae Roberts, executive producer of MediaRites, directs the cast: Tonya Jone Miller (previously in Breaking Glass), Leo Lin, Sofia May-Cuxim, Enrique E. Andrade, Wynee Hu (Theatre Diaspora producing ensemble member), and Alex Haslett is stage manager.

In The Language Archive, a language archivist is consumed by preserving and documenting dying languages from far-flung countries. Closer to home, however, he can’t communicate with his frustrated wife, nor deal with the deep feelings his lab assistant has for him.

The performance will open at 2pm on March 26th at Portland Center Stage (128 NW Eleventh Avenue, Portland, OR 97209) and will close at 2pm on April 2nd at the Milagro Theatre (525 SE Stark Street, Portland, OR 97214).

Tickets are $8 each. They can be purchased at http://securesite.pcs.org/single/SelectSeating.aspx?p=10017 for the 2pm March 26th show at Portland Center Stage, and at http://www.brownpapertickets.com/event/2510978 (service charge added) for the 2pm April 2nd show at the Milagro TheatreLA1

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The Sound of a Voice


MediaRites’ Theatre Diaspora, presents the last play of the 2015 season: The Sound of a Voice by noted playwright, David Henry Hwang at Portland Center Stage.  Directed by Samson Syharath and featuring Chisao Hata and Larry Toda, all Theatre Diaspora core ensemble members. Actor Mariko Kajita provides narration and shakuhachi (Japanese flute) music is performed by Larry Tyrrell, of Moonbridge music, a master shakuhachi player who performed with the Okayama Hogaku Ensemble and now performs in the Northwest. For tickets visit: http://www.pcs.org/blog/item/the-sound-of-a-voice/

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Theatre Diaspora is Oregon’s only professional Asian American/Pacific Islander (AAPI) theatre company, committed to portraying authentic AAPI cultural, historical, and social perspectives to reach broad audiences. By strongly advocating through compelling performances and post-show discussions, we are bridging communities to foster inclusion, social-awareness, and open conversations on race and cultural diversity – celebrating the AAPI experience. Theatre Diaspora is a project of MediaRites, an award-winning non-profit organization focused on cultural diversity by providing voices to the unheard.



Theatre Diaspora, a project of MediaRites is grateful for the support of our donors, sponsors and audiences who help to strengthen our communities by allowing us to offer stories that represent the AAPI experience in our community.

The Theatre Diaspora project

is made possible with generous support from




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In collaboration with our artistic partners…


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Past funders have included:





Contact Us:

Theatre Diaspora hopes to inspire dialogues and engagement as a platform for the AAPI community.
Please join the group and start the discussion.

Email: theatrediaspora@gmail.com

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