Pasadena Playhouse Welcomes Seema Sueko as Associate Artistic Director
The Pasadena Playhouse announced today that Seema Sueko has been appointed to be its new Associate Artistic Director. Sueko, who is the co-founder and Executive Artistic Director of the Mo`olelo Performing Arts Company in San Diego will assume her new role at The Playhouse beginning January 6, 2014.
Sheldon Epps, artistic director of The Pasadena Playhouse shared, "I am genuinely thrilled that Seema will be joining us here at The Pasadena Playhouse. Without doubt, she is one of the rising stars of the American theatre field. I believe that she is destined for great success in this new position and in other leadership capacities in the future. Her admirable intellect, passion for the work, and desire to engage the community have been a tremendous boon to her efforts at Mo`olelo. I know that those same qualities will be equally valuable to our very similar mission here at The Playhouse. She joins us at a time of tremendous vitality and great success. I have no doubt that this new partnership will keep that good energy going, and in fact I believe that her presence here will help to lead us to ever increasing theatrical vibrancy and new levels of artistry."
"I so admire all of the recent efforts of Sheldon, Elizabeth and their staff to really integrate The Playhouse into the community, as it resonates well with the goals and aspirations of Mo`olelo," said Sueko. "I hope to expand on all of this great work and in partnership with Sheldon, continue to bring exciting, energizing and unexpected programming to The Playhouse stage for many years to come."
Mo`olelo, which means "story" in Hawaiian, is a community-focused, socially-conscious, Equity Theater Company, and was co-founded by Sueko and Kim Palma Richmond in San Diego in 2004. Sueko, who is originally from Hawaii, held the artistic and managing leadership position at Mo`olelo since its founding. She developed Mo`olelo's greening initiative, consensus organizing methodologies, and led the Company through its selection as the Inaugural Resident Theatre Company at La Jolla Playhouse for the 2008-2009 season. She served as Artist in Residence at University of California San Diego's Thurgood Marshall College for 2008-2009 and taught Theatre & Society at University of San Diego in 2009. She holds an MA in International Relations from the University of Chicago, is a member of Actors' Equity Association, and was recognized with the 2010 Des McAnuff New Visions Award from the San Diego Theatre Critics Circle. Named for the former Artistic Director of La Jolla Playhouse, the honor recognizes inspired and risk-taking artistic vision. Seema received the 2012 Consensus Organizer of the Year Award and the 2012 NAACP San Diego Branch Lorraine V. Hansberry Performing Arts Award. American Theatre Magazine also recognized Seema as one of 25 artists from across the country who are "richly accomplished folks...All have demonstrated something special in their approach to the art and craft of theatremaking that convinced us they have not only vision and foresight about the field they've chosen, but the tenacity and commitment it will take to realize their aspirations over time. Our artistic future, we figure, belongs to people like these." Seema is a recipient of Theatre Communication Group's inaugural Leadership U[niversity] grant and is on a working sabbatical at Arena Stage in Washington, DC.
Sueko's directing credits include: Since Africa at The Old Globe and Mo`olelo (Patté Award Outstanding Ensemble); Kita y Fernanda (co-directed with Robert Castro), How I Got That Story, 26 Miles, Yellow Face, Good Boys, Permanent Collection, and The Adoption Project: Triad at Mo`olelo. Acting credits include: The Intelligent Design of Jenny Chow at Yale Rep and The Old Globe (Patté Award and Craig Noel Award for acting); A Christmas Carol at San Diego Rep; and A Chorus Line at Seattle's 5th Avenue Theatre among others. She is a three-time recipient of the Chicago's Jeff Award for her performances. Playwriting credits include: Centerstage's My America project, remains (McDonald Playwriting Award); commission from Mixed Blood Theatre in Minneapolis to co-write Messy Utopia (Ivey Award) and Hijab Tube, a play for young audiences on the theme of Islam in America.
"We are thrilled to have Seema join The Pasadena Playhouse at this time," added Playhouse Executive Director Elizabeth Doran. "She is known in our industry as 'one to watch' due to her great artistic achievements, innovative approach to the arts, and creative community engagement with diverse communities. Seema's vision as an artist aligns in key aspects with our own vision of the future of the Pasadena Playhouse, and we consider her entrance into our company now as a step forward for The Playhouse, our community and our art form."
According to Mo`olelo Board President Ilene Hubbs, "We couldn't be happier for Seema. She has really been a shining star in the local theatre community and we are not surprised that she has been specially selected for this newly created position at The Pasadena Playhouse. We are sorry to see Seema go, but she leaves Mo`olelo healthy and strong and poised for continued success. The board has implemented staff restructuring and will announce a national search for an executive artistic director soon."
For more information on The Pasadena Playhouse, visit www.PasadenaPlayhouse.org.