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Lava Alapai.

Artists Rep Names Lava Alapai Associate Artistic Director

Alapai will take part in a year-long leadership residency program.

PORTLAND, ORE.: Artists Repertory Theatre (ART) has named Lava Alapai to be their new associate artistic director. Alapai, a resident artist at the theatre, will participate in a one-year leadership residency with artistic director Jeanette Harrison as part of Artists Rep’s DNA: Oxygen program.

“Lava was a key part of why I was so excited to come to this community and get involved,” Harrison, who joined Artists Rep last fall, said in a statement. “Lava is an inspiring emerging leader, and I am so thrilled to foster her growth and have her join the artistic leadership team.”

The residency was designed by Harrison and the original DNA: Oxygen group members to address inequities and and provide a home for Black artists within the ART community. Harrison stated that DNA: Oxygen’s purpose is to “disrupt systemic pipelines to power and creation by centering BIPOC artists as leaders, as thinkers, and as generators.”

Alapai is a multi-ethnic playwright, director, and photographer born in Okinawa, Japan, and raised in Honolulu, Hawaii. Alapai has toured the country as a puppeteer and has been creating theatre in the Portland area for over a decade, including with Willamette University, Portland Center Stage, Artists Rep, Anonymous Theatre Company, and Oregon Children’s Theatre. She has directed multimedia and filmed theatre projects, and her short film T.I.N.A. screened at the 48 Hour Film Project’s Portland festival. Alapai’s play Middletown Mall is currently in development and received funding support from the Regional Arts and Culture Council. A graduate of the California Institute of the Arts, Alapai is a proud member of the Stage Directors and Choreographers Society and the Dramatists Guild.

“I’m excited to go on this journey with Artists Repertory Theatre, which has been my artistic home for the past few years as a resident artist,” Alapai said in a statement. “I look forward to connecting with the Portland community in my new role.”

Established in 1982, Artists Repertory Theatre is Portland’s oldest professional theatre company. The company aims to produce intimate, provocative theatre and provide a home for a diverse community of artists and audiences to take creative risks. As of 2021, Artists Rep had an approximate budget of $2 million.

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