Leslie Ishii (Les-lee EE-she) (Artistic Director, Perseverance Theatre), Yonsei, fourth generation Japanese American, debuted in Northwest Asian American Theater’s Breaking The Silence, by Nikki Nojima Louis, that raised legal defense funds for, US Concentration Camp Resister, Gordon Hirabayashi and his Supreme Court Case. Through this experience, Ishii witnessed the start of her community’s healing from mass incarceration in WWII US Concentration Camps. Since then, Ishii has felt called to advocate for historical truth, healing, and the storytelling of Black/Indigenous/People of Color (BIPOC) artists and communities.
As theatre-maker, voice practitioner, activist, and community builder, Ishii is deeply grateful to build solidarity, to decolonize/re-indigenize, and to liberate spaces in service of justice on behalf of artists and their storytelling in every initiative and creative process with which she curates and engages. As Board President of the Consortium of Asian American Theaters & Artists that hosts the National BIPOC/BITOC Theatre Commons/Coalition, Board Member of the National New Play Network, artEquity National Faculty, Co-Chair of the Coalition Building Subcommittee of the Professional Nonprofit Theater Coalition, and Steering Committee Member of the Anchorage Arts Alliance, Ishii works synergistically with Tsuru For Solidarity, a nonviolent, direct action project of Japanese Americans to end inhumane immigration policies. Grateful for the wisdom of her Elders and Ancestors, Ishii lives on the cutting edge to courageously co-conspire for the collective liberation of BIPOC artists. Ishii is deeply honored to be recognized by the United States Artists organization.