East West Players is committed to raising the visibility of the Asian American experience by presenting inventive world-class theatrical productions, developing artists of color, and providing impactful youth education programs.
Established in 1965, East West Players has since premiered more than 228 plays and musicals, along with over 1,000 diverse readings and workshops for actors, writers, and directors. By building bridges between East and West, we have cultivated a loyal audience of over 70% people of color. Our company continues to build platforms for artists of color while advocating for multi-faceted representations of the Asian Pacific American experience in the performing arts.
EWP was founded by nine Asian American artists (Mako, Rae Creevey, Beulah Quo, Soon-Tek Oh, James Hong, Pat Li, June Kim, Guy Lee, and Yet Lock) seeking to create roles beyond the stereotypical parts they were offered in mainstream Hollywood. In 1998, EWP Artistic Director Tim Dang led the company’s move from a 99-seat Equity Waiver “black box” theatre into a new 240-seat venue at an Actors Equity Association contract level. EWP’s main stage is the David Henry Hwang Theater, housed within the Union Center for the Arts in downtown Los Angeles’ Little Tokyo district. The theater serves more than 25,000 people each year, and has become a creative center in this historically significant setting. When Dang retired in 2016, his successor Snehal Desai was appointed to guide East West Players into a new wave of artistic leadership. Desai has committed to steering the work of East West Players with an intersectional focus that further unveils the diversity of Asian Pacific identities as portrayed on stage.