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. Today, Seema directs stage, film, consensus organizing and R&D projects and productions for theaters, think tanks, and the greater good.
Current/Upcoming projects include:
Adapting Kiana Davenport's novel Song of the Exile, People's Light, The Kiln, 2023
Something Moving: A Meditation on Maynard by Pearl Cleage, Ford's Theatre, 2023
Solidarity Economy Learning Circles for the Theater Community
Seema previously served as Deputy Artistic Director of Arena Stage where she created the Theater Artists Marketplace, drove the season planning process, led the commissioning and new play development work, ran the resident artist program, managed the artistic development budget, staff and fellows, and spearheaded the Power Play Summit. At Arena, she directed the film Veterans Day 2020 in partnership with the Atlantic Council think tank, the world premiere of Sharyn Rothstein's Right to be Forgotten, revivals of The Heiress and The Price, and Lydia Diamond's Smart People.
Other 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.
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.
Recognition and awards include: TCG Alan Schneider Director Award 2022, 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 Boards of the Stage Directors and Choreographers Society and the Stage Directors and Choreographers Foundation. Seema has served as a panelist for the Horton Foote Prize, Yale Drama Prize, the Susan Blackburn Smith Prize, Creative Lab Hawaii, Playwrights' Center, National Endowment for the Arts, and other grants and prizes.
Photo Credit: Jerry Mayer
Seema's directing work is represented by:
Partner, A3 Artists Agency