• Velina Hasu Houston

Velina Hasu Houston

Distinguished Professor of Theatre in Dramatic Writing

Resident Playwright


Velina Hasu Houston’s literary career began Off-Broadway at Manhattan Theatre Club, expanding globally. Her play Tea is designated as a classic in the American theatre canon by Roundabout Theatre, New York, and its Refocus Project. With over 30 commissions, Houston has been honored by institutions such as the Rockefeller Foundation, Japan Foundation, Doris Duke Foundation, the Kennedy Center, Smithsonian Institution, and Theatre Communications Group. She’s written for Sidney Poitier, Columbia Pictures, PBS, Eleven Arts, and other film entities. She founded graduate playwriting and co-founded the study of Asian American culture at the University of Southern California in the early 1990s; and is a presidentially appointed USC Distinguished Professor of Theatre in Dramatic Writing, USC Resident Playwright and School of Dramatic Arts/Iovine Young Academy faculty. She is Affiliated Faculty with East Asian Studies and American Studies & Ethnicity, and an Associated Faculty Member of the USC Shinso Ito Center for Japanese Religions & Culture. In the early 1980s, she founded the first LGBTQ student organization at her undergraduate institution and the first national community organization for mixed race Asians. A Fulbright scholar, she served on the State Department’s Japan-U.S. Friendship Commission for six years. In Japan, she has been a guest artist at several institutions including Aoyama Gakuin Daigaku, Osaka Daigaku, Kyoto Daigaku, Doshisha Daigaku, Keio Daigaku, Nihon Women’s University, Tokyo Metropolitan Culture Foundation and others. She is Writers’ Odyssey Associate Artist, Odyssey Theatre Ensemble, Los Angeles, and a member of its Writers’ Odyssey writers’ group; a member of New Circle Theatre Company, New York, and its NCTC Writers’ Group; on the Board of Trustees of Berklee College; on the Advisory Council of Hero Theatre, and on the Advisory Boards of Directors’ Lab West and of the Chicago-based Polycultural Institute. Her archives are based at The Huntington Library.