Velina Hasu Houston

Internationally acclaimed playwright Velina Hasu Houston has written over thirty plays including sixteen commissions in a career that began Off-Broadway with her play Tea at Manhattan Theatre Club and American Dreams at Negro Ensemble Company. Her plays have been produced at important theatres around the globe including Manhattan Theatre Club, Old Globe Theatre, George Street Playhouse, Pittsburgh Public Theatre, Smithsonian Institution, Whole Theatre (Olympia Dukakis, producer), NHK (Japan nationwide), Pasadena Playhouse, Goodman Theatre, Los Angeles Opera, Kennedy Center New Visions/New Voices, Silk Road Theatre Project, Los Angeles Theatre Center, Playwrights’ Arena, and others including in the People’s Republic of China, Japan, Singapore, Australia, and Malaysia. The recipient of many honors, Houston also writes opera, television, and film and is a published poet and essayist.

Her current projects include three commissions, one of them multi-national with Timberlake Wertenbaker and Judith Thompson; and four new plays in development: Glimmer, Cinnamon Girl, The Territory of Dreams, and Brown Girl in the Ring Tra-La-La-La, the latter being developed under the auspices of a grant. Houston also writes theatre for young audiences. A collection of her plays, Green Tea Girl in Orange Pekoe Country, will be published in 2013. Houston is a member of the Dramatists’ Guild, Writers Guild of America-West, League of Professional Theatre Women, and Alliance of Los Angeles Playwrights. She serves on the federal agency US-Japan Conference on Cultural and Educational Interchange. At the USC School of Theatre, she is founder and director of the Master of Fine Arts in Dramatic Writing, Professor of Theatre, Associate Dean of Faculty, Director of Dramatic Writing, and Resident Playwright.

In the past she has served on the faculty of the UCLA Master of Fine Arts in Screenwriting and Kyoto’s Doshisha University. Her archives are at The Library of Congress, Washington DC, and The Huntington Library, San Marino, California. Photo Credit: Ken Matsui. The Women’s International Center congratulates Velina Hasu Houston for a lifetime of writing and sharing consciousness-raising literature that promotes cross-cultural dialogue and understanding.