Playwright Philip Kan Gotanda Joins Faculty of UC Berkeley

Playwright Philip Kan Gotanda Joins Faculty of UC Berkeley

Prolific playwright Philip Kan Gotanda has been appointed a Professor in the Department of Theater, Dance and Performance Studies at the University of California, Berkeley. A groundbreaking figure in American Drama and a champion of stories of marginalized and under-represented communities in America, Gotanda's works are produced and studied throughout the US and abroad.

Gotanda's plays challenge notions of what the Asian is or is not in America and the world. He investigates themes of American intersectionality, transnationalism, and intergenerational and interracial conflicts.

He is also a filmmaker, screenwriter and musician. His films The Kiss, Drinking Tea and Life Tastes Good have all been screened at the Sundance Film Festival.

Gotanda has played an integral role in the Department of Theater, Dance and Performance Studies (TDPS) since 2009, when he was an Artist in Residence. Since then, he has taught playwriting, and generously served as a mentor for many students, particularly under-represented students hoping to pursue artistic careers. The department presented Gotanda's new play I Dream of Chang and Eng in 2011 thanks to a grant from the Creative Work Fund, directed by TDPS Professor Peter Glazer. After the War Blues, an updated version of After the War (which debuted at A.C.T. in 2007), was performed on the TDPS stage from March 7-16 of this year.

"We are so fortunate to have one of the most distinguished playwrights in America added to our fold," says Catherine Cole, Chair of TDPS. "Gotanda is an extremely nimble and sensitive interlocutor in terms of bridging scholarship and practice, which is a defining feature of our program. He is as comfortable with doing the meticulous and extensive historical research for his plays as he is collaborating with designers, choreographers, actors, musicians, scholars and costumers. Gotanda's creative work has included directing, acting, film and opera. His remarkable ability to move across forms, genres and media is quite rare, and it is something that we know will make Gotanda an invaluable leader in our department and on the Berkeley campus."

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