About AST

Our mission

Asian Story Theater celebrates our Asian heritage, multicultural awareness and understanding by dramatizing Asian and Pacific Island (API) stories, arts, and themes for family audiences.

General information

Asian Story Theater

Artistic Director: KL Brisby

Education Director: Gingerlily Lowe

Special Programs:

Kalí Kamaria (See the Elephant workshops)

Thelma Virata de Castro (Hand Under Hand reading)

Board of Directors

Edward You
Connie Viado
Suanne Pauley
Gil Ontai
Dwight Love
Alexander Khalil
Andy Lowe
Gingerlily Lowe
KL Brisby

History & Future

Asian Story Theater began in 1989, dramatizing Chinese folk tales as a project sponsored by the San Diego Chinese Center. The first production was The White Snake (1989-90), presented at the Lyceum Space Theatre and subsequently toured to county schools, libraries, and recreation centers. In 1991 the company staged it’s first adaptation based on the 16th century fantasy novel Journey to the West, featuring the Monkey King. Additional productions followed each year (see the History links on our homepage). In 1995 the company incorporated as the Asian Story Theater, independent of the San Diego Chinese Center, to diversify programming and expand touring operations to San Francisco and Los Angeles.

Each year since, we have produced at least one production in pursuit of our mission. Touring and scale of production has varied depending on funding, talent, and venue availability. Recent years have led to increasingly diverse programs, including a full-length musical about the artist Paul Gauguin (PRICK: The Musical Paul Gauguin, November 2011-May 2012), as well as partnering to produce a pilot television episode, based on our 2006 project SHAVE ICE (December 2013). We are also committed to continuing a series of annual touring theater productions related to the Lunar New Year Celebrations, presenting WHEN THE TIGER SMOKED A PIPE, for Year of the Tiger.

We continue to explore new production partners and collaborators, such as for WHAT ARE YOU? (2019) and THE GOLDEN RULE, 2020-2022, NOT WORKING 2022- a new original musical featuring songs from our BIPOC creative community about our shared experiences during COVID, THE COFFEE PLAYS 2023 celebrating coffee stories and coffee culture around the world, and our latest endeavors Asian SCARY Theater 2023/2024 a radio theater project with “chicken-skin” storytelling and TWO DRAGONS 2024 featuring a Balinese naga shadow puppet play and a radio theater style dragon story from China. WHERE WE LAY OUR SORROWS DOWN 2024 a Cultivating Joy project

In 2024 ASIAN STORY THEATER in collaboration with TEATRO MASCARA MAGICA and SAN DIEGO BLACK ENSEMBLE is developing a new program about the census, to be presented in 2025.