Samson Syharath (producing ensemble) earned his Theatre BA at the University of Arkansas Fort Smith and a certificate from Portland Actors Conservatory. He has worked with Portland Actors Ensemble, Imago Theatre, Portland Shakespeare Project, Shaking the Tree, Portland Actors Conservatory, Lakewood Theatre, and Anon it Moves. MediaRites’ Theatre Diaspora credits include The Dance and the Railroad , Breaking the Silence, Breaking Glass, and Theory of Everything.
Larry Toda (producing ensemble) earned his B.A. in journalism and communications, and is a corporate marketing manager for Mentor Graphics Corporation in Wilsonville. Previous professional roles include Henry in South Pacific (Lakewood Theater), Emperor and Sailor in Pacific Overtures (Keller Auditorium) and Mike in From Oregon With Love II (Fuji Television Japan).He has performed most recently in MediaRites’ Theatre Diaspora’s Breaking the Silence, The Theory of Everything, and The Sound of a Voice. He currently serves on the board of MediaRites.
Alex Haslett is a playwright, actor, and short-form monologist of admittedly minor repute, Alex Haslett followed the yellow brick road out west from the University of Kansas in 2013, after earning his Bachelor’s Degree in Film and Theatre there. He has since sunken his proverbial teeth ever deeper into the Portland performance arts scene, becoming a prominent member of the PDX Playwrights workshop group and, most recently, Theatre Diaspora. He works by day as the Development Assistant for local non-profit Guardian Partners, and by night as a starving artist and all-around masked vigilante.
Dmae Roberts has been the executive producer of MediaRites since 1991 and has managed numerous projects. Her Peabody-winning documentary Mei Mei, a Daughter’s Song is a harrowing account of her mother’s childhood in Taiwan during WWII. Last year MediaRites adapted this radio documentary into a film. Roberts and MediaRites won another Peabody-award for the eight-hour Crossing East, the first Asian American history series on public radio. Roberts received the Dr. Suzanne Ahn Civil Rights and Social Justice award from the Asian American Journalists Association and was selected as a United States Artists (USA) Fellow. As a theatre artist, she has won two Drammys, one for her acting and one for her play Picasso In The Back Seat which also won the Oregon Book Award in 1996. She has has performed in and produced dozens of stage plays in her career on Portland stages including the IFCC, Artists Repertory Theatre, OSF-Portland and Tygres Heart Shakespeare Company.
Toni Tabora-Roberts (administrative consultant) has worked for nearly 20 years in community engagement, communications, program management, development, and grants administration with a wide range of arts non-profits and media organizations. Her passion and work is rooted in social justice, diversity and equity. She recently founded Esper House, a consultancy and management service firm. She is a lifelong theatre, arts and media nerd and yes, has crafted a thing or two. And when she has a moment, she also writes about things like media, creativity, food, news and being an open adoption mama on her blog: ramblings of a dabbler. Recent clients and creative/community endeavors: Regional Arts & Culture Council, Theatre Diaspora/MediaRites, Unit Souzou, City Club Friday Forum Committee, Asian Pacific Network of Oregon’s Arts & Media Project (AMP), Partners in Diversity Program Committee. Other organizations Toni has worked with include Oregon Public Broadcasting, Business for Culture & the Arts, KBOO Community Radio, Interstate Firehouse Cultural Center, Young Audiences, The Asian Reporter, Center for Asian American Media, Museum of Contemporary Art Chicago.
Chisao Hata (founding ensemble member) is a performing artist and peace activist. Her parents were interned during WWII. Her maternal grandparents were from Hiroshima and settled in the Hood River Valley. Her original choreopoems focus on themes of Asian American identity and history. She works in the Portland Public Schools as a dance educator and has an extensive performance resume, including two of Nikki Nojima Louis’ Readers Theater shows, Breaking the Silence, and Mei Mei, A Daughter’s Song, a film by MediaRites. Recently, as a cultural artist, she visited Japanese-Cuban communities throughout Cuba.
Theatre Diaspora Welcomes Two New Associate Members
Theatre Diaspora has expanded its membership with two theater arts specialists.
Jennifer Seung Hancock is a performing artist, creator, and an arts advocate. After earning her B.A. in arts management and dance, she moved to Portland for an internship with Disjecta Contemporary Art Center. Currently, she works at Coho Productions as their box office assistant and bookkeeper.
Lila Yang is a senior at Portland State University and will graduate the fall of 2017 with her BA in theater with a focus in costume design. Lila is currently an intern with FashioNXT and also works part time at Northwest Children’s Theater and School.
Featured Artists 2016
Tonya Jone Miller
Enrique E. Andrade
Caitlin Fisher Draeger
Featured Artists 2014-2015
Chisao Hata (founding ensemble member)
Heath Hyun Houghton (founding ensemble member)
Tonya Jone Miller
Nikki Nojima Louis
Rusty Newton Tennant