SEEMA SUEKO grew up in Honolulu, with a Pakistani father and a Japanese American mother. Conversations about the arts, politics and community wove through her upbringing, stitching the tapestry of her core belief: theater is transformative and can contribute to building successful communities when we intentionally activate this art form for the public benefit. Now based in the Washington, D.C. region, Seema directs stage, film, consensus organizing and R&D projects and productions for theaters, think tanks, and the greater good.
Seema currently serves as director of the new musical in development called Land of Smiles by Erin Kamler. In addition, she is a consultant to Arena Stage, focused on strategic thinking, the Theater Artists Marketplace and the Artistic Director Intensive, two programs she created when she served as Deputy Artistic Director of Arena. She recently directed the film Veterans Day 2020 for the Atlantic Council think tank and Arena. Also at Arena, she directed the world premiere of Sharyn Rothstein's Right to be Forgotten, revivals of The Heiress and The Price, Lydia Diamond's Smart People and spearheaded the Power Play Summit. R&D projects include using theater to improve empathy, compassion and well-being in older adults, the Green Theater Choices Toolkit, and adapting Consensus Organizing to theater. Past leadership positions include Associate Artistic Director of Pasadena Playhouse and Co-Founder & Executive Artistic Director of Mo`olelo Performing Arts Company in San Diego. In addition, she has directed or acted in plays and musicals at theaters across the U.S. including Denver Center, Ford’s Theatre, Pasadena Playhouse, People’s Light, The Old Globe, Yale Rep, 5th Avenue Theatre, Mo`olelo, Native Voices, among others.
Recognition and awards include: SDCF Zelda Fichandler Finalist, Chicago Jeff Awards, NAACP San Diego Lorraine Hansberry Award, American Arab Anti-Discrimination Committee Artistic and Cultural Achievement Award, Asian Pacific American Friends of the Theater Artist of the Year, San Diego Craig Noel Awards, and the California State Assembly Shirley N. Weber Award.
Seema earned her M.A. in International Relations from the University of Chicago and she serves on the Board of the Stage Directors and Choreographers Society.
Podcast: (January 14, 2021) Hindsight 2020, a virtual salon
Interview: (January 11, 2021) Thomas S. Kenan Institute for the Arts Art Restart Podcast
Broadway World: (December 30, 2020) Sharing Their Stories- An Interview with Seema Sueko
American Theatre: (June 24, 2020) Arena Stage Launches Artist Marketplace