NW Asian American Theatre comes back to life in digital project

(February 12, 2019)

Enveloped in a windowless office in City Hall, the history of Asian American Theatre in the 1990s in Seattle is being preserved. In conjunction with the Wing Luke Museum, the Moving Image Preservation of Puget Sound (MIPoPS) are digitizing recordings from the Northwest Asian American Theatre (NWAAT).

The Wing Luke Museum received a grant from 4Culture, the cultural funding agency for King County to catalogue the NWAAT materials, and the Seattle City Archives invited the museum to be part of its MIPoPS’ project. MIPoPS received a grant from the National Endowment for the Humanities to digitize the tapes.

It was identified that the Wing Luke Museum had a unique, rare collection of tapes from the NWAAT. MIPoPS is digitizing the whole collection, in addition to 100 oral histories from the Wing Luke Museum. The collection includes a wide variety of videos. In addition to plays, there are dances, conferences about the status of Asian American theatre and musical performances. They range from the traditional, such as a revival of West Side Story, to modern interpretive dance.

According to Ari Lavigne of MIPoPS, there are 198 tapes and around 400 hours of tape time. The Wing Luke Museum had curated the tapes and inventoried the tapes for MIPoPS to convert.

Northwest Asian Weekly