May 25, 2011

Thanks to everyone who joined us for the reading of SILA on May 24! We had a full house, an exciting reading, and a wonderful post-show talk. Mahalo to The James Irvine Foundation for supporting the commissioning and development of this play; and thank you to Diane Wade, Sue Guzik, Patricia Hazlett, Daniece Moden, Gerald Montoya, Garry Prather, Elaine Hiel, Janet Black-Yznaga, Emily Nuthall, Patricia McCoy, Lynne Jennings, Karen Begin, Felicia Shaw, The San Diego Foundation, Abel Silvas, Brian Bielawski, John Tessmer, Jacob Bruce, Linda Castro, Taylor Wycoff, and the talented playwright, Chantal Bilodeau.

Some photos from the evening:


On May 17, the Chairman of the National Endowment for the Arts, Rocco Landesman, announced the recipients of their FY2011 Round Two grants… Mo`olelo will receive $20,000 to support our upcoming production 26 MILES, its concurrent arts education program THREE PART ARTS, and our partnership with Kids’ Turn San Diego on this production!

An independent agency of the federal government, the National Endowment for the Arts advances artistic excellence, creativity, and innovation for the benefit of individuals and communities. NEA Chairman Rocco Landesman said, “NEA research shows that three out of four Americans participate in the arts. The diverse, innovative, and exceptional projects funded in this round will ensure that Americans around the country continue to have the opportunity to experience and participate in the arts.”

You can read more about the latest NEA arts grants here:

You can find state by state listings of all grants inFY2011 Round Two here:

The National Endowment for the Arts was established by Congress in 1965 as an independent agency of the federal government. To date, the NEA has awarded more than $4 billion to support artistic excellence, creativity, and innovation for the benefit of individuals and communities. The NEA extends its work through partnerships with state arts agencies, local leaders, other federal agencies, and the philanthropic sector.  To join the discussion on how art works, visit the NEA at

arts pecha-kucha!

May 17, 2011

The Voice of San Diego is hosting an arts “meeting of the minds” pecha-kucha style event on June 1. Mo`olelo’s Artistic Director, Seema Sueko, will be one of the six presenters along with:

Jennifer Luce, architect at Luce et Studio: The burgeoning contemporary furniture design scene in San Diego.

Jay Porter, restaurateur of The Linkery and El Take It Easy: Art installations in Tijuana’s Colonial Federal neighborhood.

• Evan Schumacher, co-founder of How Art of Elan is making local classical music hip.

Ben Strauss-Malcolm, gallery director at Quint Contemporary Art: Murals by internationally renowned artists spring up in La Jolla.

David Flores, community design and development at Casa Familiar: A new, renovated space for art in San Ysidro.

You can find all the details here.

Hope to see you there!

Dear Friends:

Thank you for all you have done to build Mo`olelo Performing Arts Company! We are now in our seventh year of operations, consistently selling out productions, engaging new and diverse audiences, and offering innovative arts education programs. Interest in Mo`olelo continues to grow!

To meet this community demand, the Mo`olelo Board of Trustees has developed a growth and sustainability plan, which includes:

•        Hiring a Part-Time Coordinator to ease some of the burden on Seema Sueko, our one-woman staff who works as Executive Artistic Director, producer, fundraiser, teaching artist, etc.;
•        Upgrading our website for better user accessibility and to more accurately reflect Mo`olelo’s mission;
•        Acquiring much needed computer equipment;
•        And positioning Mo`olelo to grow to producing three shows a year starting in 2012!

 We need help in moving Mo`olelo to this next level of success. The Parker Foundation liked our growth and sustainability plan so much that they already donated $25,000 toward its implementation. But we still need to raise an additional $20,000 to put it into operation. To that end the Mo`olelo Trustees are announcing a matching challenge! For every dollar we can raise from individuals by August 31, 2011, the board members will contribute another matching dollar up to $10,500.

We invite you to play an important role in the continuing success story of this Company that you helped to build, which audiences, artists, youth, and civic leaders all agree serves a unique and important purpose:

Mo`olelo really maintains the soul and passion of a niche community theater combined with the experienced talent and craftsmanship from a big theater. Director Seema Sueko and company are both an entertainment and cultural jewel of San Diego.
-Bennett Peji, Commission for Arts and Culture

I’ve seen my plays produced in theaters across the United States, and all too often I am one of a very few Black people in the audience. When I saw Stick Fly at Mo`olelo, I was astonished at how diverse the audience was generationally and racially. This is the type of audience I always dream of having. This is what all theater should be doing.
– Lydia R. Diamond, Playwright Stick Fly

I think I’m no longer considered ELL! (English Language Learner)
– A Student of Mo`olelo’s Bridges Arts Education Program, exclaiming at the end of the course.

There are three ways to donate:

1) Click here to make a donation online.

2) Call 619-342-7395 to donate over the phone.

3) Mail a check to

PO Box710564
San Diego,CA92171-0564

 Your donation is tax deductible to the fullest extent of the law.

 Thank you again for your continued support. Our ongoing success can’t be achieved without you.


Garry Prather
President, Board of Trustees

26 Miles visual id

April 30, 2011

Here’s what graphic designer Sarah Loffer is cooking up for the 26 MILES visual identity:

The painting, “Buffalo Crossing”  is by Jerry Lofaro. You can find more of his work here:

26 Miles Auditions

April 8, 2011

Mo`olelo Performing Arts Company is holding auditions for its 2011 production of 26 MILES by Quiara Alegria Hudes. Complete details are below.

Production: 26 MILES by Quiara Alegría Hudes

 Theatre: Mo`olelo Performing Arts Company

 Director: Seema Sueko

 Audition Date/Time:
Saturday, April 23, 2011 10:00 AM – 4:00 PM (Lunch break from 12:00 – 1:00 PM)

Production Info:
Rehearsals begin: August 30, 2011
Previews begin: September 28, 2011
Closing: October 23, 2011

 Contact Information:
Email by noon on 4/22 with your name, phone, email address and union status to request an audition time.

You may show up at the theater on the day of the audition, 4/23, starting at 9:00 AM to sign up for any remaining audition spots.

Pay Rate: Equity SPT Cat 5 Contract: $338/week, plus health and pension (NonUnion actors are also paid $338/week)

Location of Audition: The 10th Avenue Theatre
930 10th Avenue
San Diego, CA 92101

Please allow plenty of time to park, and bring quarters for the meters ($1.25/hour)

Description: Seeking Equity and non-Equity actors local to San Diego for Mo`olelo’s production of 26 MILES by Quiara Alegría Hudes. See character breakdown for details.

 Prepare: Please prepare a brief contemporary monologue and bring your current picture and resume.

Character Breakdown/Description:

OLIVIA: 15 years old. Half Cuban, half Jewish. Looks white.

 BEATRIZ: Olivia’s mother. 40s. Cuban, dark skin (doubles as Janet)

 AARON: Olivia’s father, 40s. Jewish (doubles as Joe, Attendant, and Reader 2)

 MANUEL: Beatriz’s husband. 40s. Cuban (doubles as Tamál Seller, Uemura, and Reader 1)

Two years ago, thanks to a grant from The James Irvine Foundation, Mo`olelo commissioned playwright Chantal Bilodeau to write a play that explores the intersection of race, class and climate change. Originally from Montreal, Ms. Bilodeau was already researching the impact of climate change on the Inuit communities of the Canadian Arctic. This commission supported that work. As she traveled to the arctic and did further research, she encountered the complexities and contradictions of climate change: ice versus maritime commerce, human rights and activism colliding with family obligations, sovereignty colliding with sustainability. The result was a new play, Sila. The title, Sila, is an Inuit word for the breath of life, the primary component of everything that exists.

Mo`olelo workshopped the first draft of this script last year; Ms. Bilodeau and Mo`olelo’s Artistic Director Seema Sueko journeyed to Montreal in January of this year to workshop the script at Playwrights Workshop Montreal with Inuit and Quebecois actors; and we will now host the third and final workshop reading of this script on May 24. We invite you to join us. For those who saw the reading in 2010, the script has gone through significant adjustments, with some characters “being fired,” and a tightening of the story.


What:                    a reading of Sila by Chantal Bilodeau

When:                   Tuesday, May 24, 2011
 5:15 PM Potluck reception & mingle with the artistic team
6:00 PM Reading

Where:         The 10th Avenue Theatre, 930 10th Avenue, San Diego, CA 92101

Reservations: Space is limited. Email: or call 619-342-7395 

Bring something to drink (bottle of wine, soda, whatever you fancy), food to share (cheese & crackers, hors d’oeuvre, or some other munchie), or make a $10 donation at the door.

About the play:     

The Arctic is melting and everyone wants a piece of it.

In the race to shape the future of the region, four characters – an ice scientist, an Inuit activist, an officer for the Marine Communications and Traffic Services and a polar bear – see their values challenged as their lives become intricately intertwined.

Mo`olelo is hiring!

March 31, 2011

Mo`olelo Performing Arts Company is looking for a part-time Coordinator. The job description is below.

Job Title:        Coordinator

Status:            Part-time (20 hours/week)

Reports to:     Executive Artistic Director

The Organization

Mo`olelo Performing Arts Company is a nationally recognized, community-focused, socially-conscious, Equity theater company. A nonprofit organization founded in 2004, our mission is to create new theatrical works based on research within diverse communities, produce lesser-known works by master and contemporary playwrights, and educate youth in all areas of theater. Mo`olelo, the Hawaiian word for story, reflects our vision to tell powerful stories as diverse as the islands of Hawaii and our goal to provide arts for all.

Currently, Mo`olelo produces two full theatrical productions each year, with a plan to grow this to three in 2012. Plays are selected to offer the opportunity to outreach to communities that do not traditionally attend the theater and to offer significant roles for actors of color. Using the script as the launching point, we develop strategic partnerships with community groups that are non-traditional theatergoers. We spend six to18 months prior to each production cultivating these relationships to build trust and identify how a partnership can be mutually beneficial. With these partners, we create community organizing activities and arts education outreach programs for middle and high schools to broaden access and diversify audiences. In addition, we offer acting and playwriting classes, host theater talks with recognized practitioners, and conduct research, implement and share eco-friendlier theater practices.

The Position

This is a newly created position at the organization, which currently operates with a year-round full-time staff of one. This is a part-time (20 hours/week), hourly position that reports to the Executive Artistic Director. The scope of the Coordinator’s job responsibilities and duties may include but are not limited to:


  • Database input and maintenance
  • QuickBooks input and maintenance
  • Office management, including working with vendors, ordering/maintaining supplies and equipment
  • Processing contracts and agreements
  • Scheduling and communications with Board, Committees and Volunteers, including Team Mo`olelo
  • Development of office manual
  • Posting website, blog and social media updates
  • Coordinating catering
  • Securing permits as needed
  • Communicating with facility manager regarding facility issues and scheduling
  • Filing
  • Phones
  • Stuffing and mailings

Development & Communications

  • Supporting Executive Artistic Director with website upgrade project
  • Processing donations, donor correspondence, receipts and thank you notes
  • Gathering copy for playbills
  • Online calendar postings
  • Production and event promotion activity, including postcard distribution, coordinating and attending grassroots community meetings, representing Mo`olelo at community fairs
  • Assembling press kits and Mo`olelo promo folders
  • Supporting the Executive Artistic Director with grants, proposals and project reports
  • Supporting Executive Artistic Director with drafting of press releases, E-News, Blog posts and other community outreach materials



  • Supporting the Executive Artistic Director by coordinating and staffing auditions
  • Prepping first day of rehearsal
  • Processing ticket sales, including:
    • Phone and Web orders
    • Single ticket reservations
    • Group Sales
    • Goldstar
    • Advance Ticket Vouchers
    • Media and VIP reservations
    • Company and Industry comps
    • Preparing Box Office Reports
  • Creating and cultivating relationships with community groups, businesses, organizations and individuals to engage as audiences
  • Coordinating school bookings, including invoicing, scheduling and communications
  • Coordinating photography and videography
  • Interfacing with and supporting Stage Management, Directors and Design Team
  • Interfacing with audiences
  • Serving as box office staff, usher, house manager, vendor or other event staff as needed
  • Coordinating and participating in load-ins, event set-up and strike

Qualifications and Skills

The successful candidate will:

  • Have a minimum of 2 years administrative experience
  • Be very organized, detail-oriented, results-oriented, highly self-motivated with exceptional customer service skills and a demonstrated ability to handle multiple tasks simultaneously
  • Have previous experience creating a position and/or developing new office processes
  • Possess excellent written and verbal communication skills
  • Be experienced with database management, MS Word, Excel, Access, and website content management systems
  • Have the ability to work on time and to a high standard
  • Have an Associates Degree at minimum
  • Be able to work cooperatively with the public, management and production participants
  • Experience working for a nonprofit organization is a plus


Salary commensurate with experience.
As required by law, the Company contributes to workers compensation, unemployment insurance, social security and Medicare for the employee. The Company currently does not provide medical, life, disability insurance nor a retirement plan.

How to Apply

Please submit a cover letter, resume, and list of three references to by Friday, April 15, 2011, 5:00 PM PST.

In alignment with Mo`olelo’s greening initiative, electronic submissions are preferred. However, if you are unable to email your application, please mail the required documents to:

Mo`olelo Performing Arts Company
Attn: Coordinator Search
PO Box 710564
San Diego, CA 92171-0564

Company website:

The talent at SCPA

March 23, 2011

Mo`olelo had the opportunity to work with students from the San Diego School for the Creative and Performing Arts as part of our Three Part Arts education program for Stick Fly, funded by Qualcomm, Inc.

For Part 3 of the program, we asked the students to write a next scene for the play. It could take place directly after the last scene of the play or years later. The students wrote wonderfully creative and insightful pieces… in only 10 minutes!! Here are just a couple of their pieces. Huge kudos to all the students, faculty and staff at SCPA!

By Danielle Levin:
Joe walks back into the house, 5 months later for Christmas vacation. Mrs. LeVay is walking on the beach outside. Cheryl is stocking the cabinets and starting the coffee. There is an undecorated Christmas tree in the corner.  Mrs.LeVay comes in.

MRS LEVAY: Joe, be a darling and go fetch our bags and set them in the room.

She enters the kitchen. Cheryl and Mrs.LeVay see each other and share an awkward face off. This is the first time they have seen each other since the news came out.

By Anita Lewis:
MS ELLIE: We need to talk about this Mrs. LeVay.
MRS LEVAY: I don’t wana talk to you right now Ellie.
MS ELLIE: Look, I’m sorry okay. I never meant for you to be hurt like this I really —
MRS LEVAY: ELLIE! Just stop okay, stop apologizing. I hear “I’m sorry” everyday Ellie, so unless you wanna make things clear to me, I think you need to leave.
MS ELLIE: (Sees the hurt)  Mrs.LeVay I —
MRS LEVAY: Save it, it’s okay. This is what I get for marrying one of the most respected neurosurgeons of our time. You know, I always wondered what he saw when he looked at you, or that baby girl. I told myself what a generous man I married, no one would ever think to send their maid’s daughter to  one of the best schools in the country. He was being a Father to that child, and here I was thinking he was just being generous… Look Ellie, it’s getting late. you should get to bed.

By William Corkery:
At Joseph LeVay’s funeral.
FLIP: Hey Kent. (Kent slightly nods to Flip). So I heard you’re a best seller.
KENT: Can we not? Just today don’t mess with me.
FLIP: Mess with you? I’m just asking about your life man.
KENT: I know you’re only asking because I’m a writer. I’m not a real man to you.
FLIP: Sorry.
Kent is taken aback.
KENT: Sorry?
FLIP: Yeah. I just don’t feel like fighting at dad’s funeral.
KENT: Where’s Kimber?
FLIP: She’s in the car. She said the rain will… defrizz her hair or some shit like that. Where’s Taylor?
KENT: She’s in the Amazon catching a new type of fly…My book’s doing well.

They stand there in silence as lights fade to black.

98% audience capacity!

March 23, 2011

Thank you to everyone who attended Stick Fly!
The production and education program were huge successes thanks to everyone behind the scenes, the talent on stage and the fabulous audiences! Here are some of the results of Stick Fly by the numbers:

** 14 of the 20 performances were sold out by the time advance online sales were closed for the day

** There were 1,993 audiences served (that’s advance reservations plus walk-ins), and an achievement of 98% audience capacity

** 5% of the audience were tourists from outside of San Diego County

** 324 high school students attended the show and the Three Part Arts Education Outreach workshops.

** Playwright Lydia R. Diamond spoke following 2 performances, and marveled at how diverse our audiences are.

** You can read the reviews here.