National Asian American Theatre Company Collection

Date Range: 19892009
Survey Conducted: Wed, 2009-04-01
Creator: National Asian American Theatre Company

History: Founded in 1989 in New York City, the National Asian American Theatre Company, Inc. (NAATCO) seeks to demonstrate the important contributions of Asian American theatre to American culture. The company presents a repertory that includes classic European and American plays as written with all Asian/Pacific American casts, adaptations of these classics by Asian/Pacific American playwrights, and new plays – not necessarily written by, about or for Asian/Pacific Americans – premiered by an Asian/Pacific American cast. The company’s focus, therefore, is not on Asian/Pacific American authorship of plays, but rather on the cast. The organization feels that this points to broad areas of understanding, which create, as their mission statement says, “a rich tapestry of cultural difference bound by the American experience.”

In June 2007, NAATCO, along with Ma-Yi Theater Company and the Pan Asian Repertory Theatre, organized the first National Asian American Theatre Festival in New York City. Growing out of conversations at a 2003 Theatre Communications Group convening, the festival was also inspired by the first National Asian American Theater Conference in 2006, “Next Big Bang: The First Asian American Theater Conference,” which was hosted by East West Players of Los Angeles, and organized with the help of NAATCO, Ma-Yi Theater Company, Pan Asian Repertory Theatre, Second Generation (all of New York), Mu Performing Arts (MN), Pangea World Theater (MN), TeAda Productions (CA), Asian American Theater (CA), Asian Arts Initiative (PA), and New World Theater (MA). Mia Katigbak, Artistic Producing Director and Co-Founder of NAATCO, chairs the Strategic Planning Committee of the Consortium of Asian American Theaters & Artists (CAATA), the national organization that was formalized after the second conference which took place in Minneapolis in June 2008.

NAATCO has presented classic plays including A Midsummer Night’s Dream by William Shakespeare (1992), The Cherry Orchard by Anton Chekov (1993), School for Wives by Moliere (1995), Antigone by Sophocles (2004), Our Town by Thornton Wilder (1994) and The House of Bernarda Alba by Federico Garcia Lorca (2000, 2007). New plays presented include Cowboy v. Samurai by Michael Golamco (2005), Blind Mouth Singing by Jose Ignacio Cortiñas (2007), andLeah’s Train by Karen Hartman (2009). In 2006, NAATCO received the Rosetta LeNoire Award from Actors’ Equity Association in recognition of its contribution toward increasing diversity and non-traditional casting in American theatre.

Sources: “About NAATCO.” The National Asian American Theatre Company. Accessed February 4, 2015.

Pincus-Roth, Zachary. “National Asian American Theater Festival Planned.” Playbill. 12 March 2007. Accessed February 4, 2015.

“Asian American theatre.” Wikipedia, The Free Encyclopedia. 25 Sep 2008, 21:39 UTC. Accessed February 4, 2015.

Summary: The NAATCO collection totals 8 linear feet and spans in date from 1989 to 2009. It include 3 linear feet of subject files, 1 linear foot of stage manager books, 2 linear feet of files documenting the National Asian American Theatre Festival, 2 linear feet of financial and development files, and electronic files.

Within the subject files are files on each production, of which there are two annually. These files include programs, correspondence, publicity materials, set designs, and contracts. There are also files documenting NAATCO’s annual benefit fundraiser (1992-2000); Board minutes, reports, board membership lists (1989-2009); venues; artist files containing resumes and headshots; press materials; and documentation relating to NAATCO’s membership on Actors’ Equity. Documentation of milestones in NAATCO’s history include articles of incorporation and a position paper written in 1996 as a result of a kitchen cabinet evaluating NAATCO’s direction and why it should continue. NAATCO began consciously requesting to keep stage manager books as it transitioned to producing new works.

The files of the National Asian American Theatre Festival document the planning activities of a National Steering Committee that collaborated to institute the bi-annual festival. Mia Katigbak, the Artistic Producing Director and co-founder of NAATCO, was one of the organizers of the first and second National Asian American Theatre Festivals and thus its planning records reside within the NAATCO collection. Materials date from 2006 through 2009, with the bulk concentrated in 2007, the year of the first festival. Documentation includes staff meeting agendas, position papers, contracts, information regarding venues, festival application guidelines, applications (restricted private information), artists’ files containing correspondence regarding the festival, and financial files, including box office records.

Financial files date from 2000 to 2009 and include information about the company’s expenses, income, and bank statements. Development files date from 1989 to 2009 and include grant applications to Actors’ Equity Foundation, Mental Insight Foundation, New York Times Foundation, City of New York Department of Cultural Affairs, National Endowment for the Arts, and New York State Council on the Arts. Also included are tax documents dating from 1989 to 2009.

Electronic files include NAATCO’s grant applications and digital production photographs, which the company sometimes submits with its grant proposals. There are also files sent by artists applying to participate in the National Asian American Theatre Festival. CDs containing artists’ work samples accompany some applications. NAATCO also keeps sound keys and audition tapes.

Total Size: 8 linear feet, electronic files
APA-related Size: 8 linear feet, electronic files
Languages of materials: English
Arrangement: other
Location: National Asian American Theatre Company offices
Bibliographic Control: inventory
Conditions Governing Access: Currently inaccessible to the public.

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