Local Hero: Ova Saopeng, Elevating the Refugee and Immigrant Experience | Local Heroes

Local Hero: Ova Saopeng, Elevating the Refugee and Immigrant Experience | Local Heroes

Nominee Name: Ova Saopeng
Title: Co-Artistic Director
Organization/Business: TeAda Productions

Ova has been facilitating workshops with youth in Long Beach since April. He is energetic and all about bringing a new way of building capacity. He encourages young, emerging leaders to learn some theater skills that can be applied in daily life.

Wenli Jen, nominator

About Ova Saopeng

Ova Saopeng is co-artistic director, producer and theatre-maker with Los Angeles-based TeAda Productions.

Born in Savannakhet, Laos, and raised in Hawaii, Saopeng received a B.A. in Theater from the University of Southern California. He is a Lao’d and Proud refugee artist passionate about elevating the refugee and immigrant experience onto the American stage.

Alongside his partner, Leilani Chan, Founding Artistic Director of TeAda Productions, the creative duo has collaborated on and created “Refugee Nation,” “Global Taxi Driver” and “Masters of the Currents” and is currently developing “Nothing Micro About Micronesia.” These devised ensemble based plays provide perspectives from global refugee and immigrant communities.

The critically acclaimed plays received numerous awards including NEFA, NEA, MAP Fund, National Performance Network’s Creation Fund, and California Council For the Humanities.

Saopeng is an experienced teaching artist, facilitating workshops and creating performances with youth and adults from all over the world. He is one of six playwrights selected to write for Our American Voice, a part of the Smithsonian Institutes’ exhibit I Want the Wide American Earth at the Japanese American National Museum exploring Asian American immigration.

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