We were shocked into the 21st century with 9/11 and recently welcomed it with the inauguration of our new president. Now is the moment that the arts will have their renaissance: loosen up that white knuckle grip, free up the hands. -- Alice Tuan
Valencia, CA, June 21--California Institute of the Arts (CalArts) President Steven D. Lavine announced that playwright Alice Tuan has been named Head of the Writing for Performance Program in the School of Theater.
Ms. Tuan's playwriting combines an innovative artistic perspective with keen observations of contemporary life. She has been living and writing in Shanghai for the past year and is working on a new play, Cocks Crow, which revolves around the super power dynamics between the United States and China. She blogs about her experiences in China at aliceinshanghailand.blogspot.com .
"Alice is an adventurous artist with an expansive vision for the future of theater," said Leslie Tamaribuchi, Co-Dean of CalArts School of Theater. "She is a superb match for the Institute--providing a global context as she challenges the boundaries of contemporary performance. At the same time, Alice offers practical and intellectual approaches to working successfully in the market environment. We are delighted that she'll be taking this leadership role."
A multifaceted educator, Ms. Tuan has taught playwriting in settings ranging from universities to the California Youth Authority. She was a visiting professor at CalArts and at the Michener Center for Writers at the University of Texas, Austin. For five summers, she worked with teen artists through Project 2050 at New World Theatre, a hip-hop-centric performance camp in Massachusetts. She was an artist in the Los Angeles-based ASK's Playwright-in-the-Schools Program. Before becoming a playwright, Ms. Tuan taught English as a Second Language in China and Los Angeles.
Of her role as a teacher, Ms. Tuan commented, "when I write I am experimenting, but when I teach I can share experiences, articulate discoveries and guide students towards their optimal process. I hope to provide a program where students can explore to the edges of their minds and write to their hearts' content."
In 2003, Ms. Tuan, represented the United States at the Women Playwrights International Conference in Manila, Philippines. Her most recently produced work, BATCH: An American Bachelor/ette Party Spectacle was commissioned by the Actors Theatre of Louisville and premiered at the Humana Festival of New American Plays in 2007.
She is the author of a wide range of plays, including Ajax (por nobody) which had a year run from 2001-2002 at New York's Flea Theater before traveling to the Melbourne Fringe Festival in Australia. The play is anthologized in Play: A Journal of Plays (2004) as well as New Downtown Now (2006). Other works include Last of the Suns (Ma-Yi Theater, Berkeley Repertory Theater), Ikebana (East West Players), Some Asians (Perishable Theater, University of Massachusetts Amherst), The Roaring Girle (Foundry Theater), Manilova (New Georges) and Iggy Woo (Brown Playwrights Repertory Theater).
Ms. Tuan received an MFA in playwriting from Brown University.
The Writing for Performance Program was launched by Pulitzer Prize-winning playwright Suzan-Lori Parks in 2000. The program facilitates the development of unique and original voices in playwriting and other forms of writing intended for performance. For the last three years, it was headed by acclaimed multidisciplinary artist Carl Hancock Rux. Under Mr. Rux's mentorship, students in the program have presented their work in sites ranging from Kigali, Rwanda and Edinburgh, Scotland to Havana, Cuba and throughout the United States. Mr. Rux facilitated both artistic development and professional relationships--introducing students to such nationally recognized artists as Pulitzer Prize nominated playwright Dael Orlandersmith, Obie Award winning actor/playwright Roger Guinevere Smith and Academy Award nominated actor Rosie Perez as well as pairing playwrights in the program with directors Laurie Carlos and Jon Lawrence Rivera.
California Institute of the Arts (CalArts) is recognized internationally as a leading laboratory for the visual, performing, media and literary arts. Housing six schools--Art, Critical Studies, Dance, Film/Video, Music, and Theater--CalArts educates professional artists in an intensive learning environment founded on artmaking excellence, creative experimentation, cross-pollination among diverse artistic disciplines, and a broad context of social and cultural understanding. CalArts also operates the Roy and Edna Disney/CalArts Theater (REDCAT) in the Walt Disney Concert Hall complex in downtown Los Angeles.