Aya Ogawa is a Brooklyn-based playwright, director, performer and translator whose work reflects an international viewpoint and utilizes the stage as a space for exploring cultural identity, displacement and other facets of the immigrant experience. Cumulatively, all aspects of their artistic practice synthesize their work as an artistic and cultural ambassador, building bridges across cultures to create meaningful exchange amongst artists, theaters and audiences both in the U.S. and in Asia. They challenge traditional notions of the American aesthetic and identity by creating performances infused with a multiplicity of perspectives and languages, and by incorporating influences from outside the U.S. – of style, form, and content. As a theater-maker, they frequently use a collaborative creative process with performers and designers and pushes the form with an eye not only on spoken text, but physicality, musicality, and interactivity.
They wrote and directed oph3lia at HERE (hailed by The New York Times as “great theater”); Journey to the Ocean, commissioned by The Foundry Theatre; and Ludic Proxy, commissioned by The Play Company, which the NY Theatre Review described as “enchanting and poetic, deeply in tune with the spirit of many different cultures.” Most recently they wrote, directed and performed in the ensemble of The Nosebleed which was presented at the 2019 Under the Radar Festival's Incoming! Series at the Public Theater. They also directed Haruna Lee's Suicide Forest at The Bushwick Starr and at A.R.T.-N.Y. Theater for Ma-Yi Theatre Company.
They have translated numerous Japanese plays into English, including works by Toshiki Okada, Yudai Kamisato, Takeshi Kawamura, Yoji Sakate, and Satoko Ichihara, among others. Her translations have been described as “fluid and delicious” by American Theatre Magazine, published by Samuel French among many others, and produced in the U.S. and U.K.
They are the recipient of the MAP Fund grant; President’s Award for Performing Arts, WorkSpace grant and three Swing Space grants from the Lower Manhattan Cultural Council; an Artistic Fellowship at New York Theater Workshop (where she is now a Usual Suspect); the Van Lier Fellowship and 2017-2024 Resident Playwright at New Dramatists; a HERE Artist Residency; Artist in Residence 2017-2019, Parent Artist Space Grantee and Space Grantee at Brooklyn Arts Exchange (BAX); recipient of support from NYSCA and the Urban Artist Initiative, and The Women's Film, TV and Theatre Fund by the City of New York Mayor's Office of Media and Entertainment (MOME). They have been a guest artist/lecturer at Fordham University, UT Austin, Brown University, Mount Holyoke College, Yale School of Drama, and Stony Brook University, as well as a mentor at The Orchard Project.