School of Humanities and Sciences
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Ellen Sebastian Chang
BioEllen Sebastian Chang(she/her), whose creative practice spans 45 years, is a storied figure in the performing arts, as a multi-disciplinary director(theater, opera, dance, and installation) arts educator and lighting designer. Between 2013-2017, she was the co-owner and events planner for the award winning West Oakland restaurant FuseBOX, with co-owner and Chef Sunhui Chang. She is currently serving as Resident Owner Board Member for East Bay Permanent Real Estate Cooperative/Advisor for Esther’s Orbit Room Project/Artist Housing.
She is a recipient of awards and grants from Creative Capital, MAP Fund, A Blade of Grass Fellowship in Social Engagement, Art Matters, Kenneth Rainin Foundation, NEA, MAP Fund, Creative Work Fund, California Arts Council, Sam Mazza Foundation and Zellerbach Family Community Arts Fund.
"I create as a director, producer, writer and teaching artist. I began my theater practice as a lighting technician(Berkeley Stage Company) and designer. In 1981, I shifted to directing/writing/creating devised experimental performance with the premiere of Your Place is No Longer with Us which followed a ten year old biracial girl throughout a Victorian Mansion in SF. In 1986, I was the co-founder/co-artistic director of LIFE ON THE WATER, a national and internationally known presenting and producing organization at San Francisco’s Fort Mason Center. In the 21st century, with Deep Waters Dance Theater I have co-created 14 Episodes of House/Full of Blackwomen, in 2020 episode 14 called New Chitlin Circuitry: a reparations vaudeville; “How to Fall in Love in A Brothel” interactive installation, performances and short film with Sunhui Chang and Maya Gurantz commissioned by Catherine Clark Gallery; “A Hole In Space(Oakland Redux) created with Maya Gurantz connecting to Oakland neighborhoods via 24 hour video portal; Consulting Producer for “Whoopi Goldberg Presents Moms Mabley” HBO and interviewee; “Fabulation” by Lynne Nottage Lorraine Hansberry Theater with Margo Hall and Daveed Diggs. Lost and Found Sound with The Kitchen Sisters. Since 2006 as the ongoing Creative Director and Teaching Artist for The World As It Could Be Human Rights Education Program (TWAICB) I co-created curriculum and a series of successful initiatives employing the creative arts to deepen learning about the Universal Declaration of Human Rights (UDHR) and its principles. My perspective is an ongoing desire to engage creatively and collaboratively, to make works that connect us across disciplines, cultures, class and breakthrough our fears by challenging our learned beliefs. I have collaborated with and directed the works of : KITKA, Gamelan Sekar Jaya, Eisa Davis, Youth Speaks, Holly Hughes, Word for Word, Center for Digital Story Telling, Fauxnique, Magic Theater, Lorraine Hansberry Theater, The Kitchen Sisters, Bill Talen, Anne Galjour, Felonious with One Ring Zero, Robert Karimi and George Coates Performance Works."