Ellen Sebastian Chang, Artistic Director
Ellen Sebastian Chang, an accomplished director, writer, and a creative consultant, was a cofounder and artistic director of LIFE ON THE WATER, an internationally known presenting and producing organization at San Francisco's Fort Mason Center from 1986 through 1995. She continues to direct numerous creative productions and premieres throughout the San Francisco Bay Area and beyond. They include: the 2009 world premiere of "Stateless," a hip-hop and vaudeville performance at The Jewish Theatre, San Francisco, the west coast premiere of the Philip Glass opera "Ahknahten" for Oakland Opera Theater (Joshua Kosman's top ten classic events of 2004); the premiere of "Walkin Talkin Bill Hawkins" (about the first black DJ in Cleveland, Ohio) at the Dobama Theater in Cleveland; and an East Coast tour of "KALI YUGA: The Age of Chaos," her 2006 collaboration with Gamelan Sekar Jaya, Indonesian poet Goenewan Mohammed, and spoken word/B-boy dancer Rashidi Omari Byrd. Early in her career, she served as the technical director and lighting designer for The Blake Street Hawkeyes from 1979-1983.
In 1982 her directorial and writing debut, "Your Place Is No Longer With Us" told the story of the coming of age of a ten year old biracial girl. The play won a Bay Area Critics Circle Award for New Directions in Theater and marked the beginning of Ellen's ongoing interest in and extensive experience working with children. Ellen serves as the Creative Director of the Rex Foundation's human rights education program, "The World As It Could Be- A Declaration of Human Rights," where she uses drama, movement, and spoken word in her work with youth to create a dramatization about human rights and opportunities to advance positive change.
Ellen is a recipient of funding from the NEA, Ford, Rockefeller and LEF Foundations, Arts Matter of New York, Zellerbach Family Fund, and the California Arts Council.