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Mo’olelo Founding Director Leaving For Pasadena

Seema Sueko, co-founder of Mo'olelo Performing Arts Company departs for new post at The Pasadena Playhouse.

Aired 9/6/13 on KPBS News.

The San Diego theater community is losing one of its innovative leaders. Seema Sueko will leave Mo’olelo Performing Arts Company at the end of the year.

Seema Sueko, one of the San Diego theater scene's more recent pioneering leaders, is leaving for Pasadena.

She has accepted a job as the associate artistic director at the Pasadena Playhouse, a brand new position for the celebrated and historic theater. She has served as executive artistic director of Mo’olelo, a theater company she co-founded nine years ago.

From the start, Sueko’s mission at Mo’olelo was to bring more diversity to the San Diego theater scene with a focus on new plays.

"I’m really proud of the transformational impact we’ve had in diversifying whose stories are told on stage, by whom and for whom," said Sueko by phone from Washington, D.C. where she's completing a leadership residency at the Arena Theater.

Under Sueko’s guidance, Mo’olelo reached out to communities across San Diego and built a diverse audience for the company’s annual three-play season.

Sueko said though it was a tough decision to leave, Mo’olelo has grown into a solid organization ready for new leadership. The theater's board of directors will conduct a national search for her replacement.

Sueko begins her post in Pasadena in January of 2014. Her last day at Mo'olelo will be Dec. 13.

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Avatar for user 'Peking_Duck_SD'

Peking_Duck_SD | September 7, 2013 at 9:07 p.m. ― 3 years, 6 months ago

Of course she is.

Why would anyone good want to work in a city that shuns and underfund the arts ?

Our city is more geared towards military housewives who make the news for finding cutesie ways to announce they are with child on YouTube than it is for any significant artistic or cultural achievements.

I wish her well and I'm sure she will find a more art-friendly environment up there!

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Avatar for user 'SunnyDiego'

SunnyDiego | September 10, 2013 at 2:49 p.m. ― 3 years, 6 months ago

California "..has ranked 50th since 2003, except for a brief escape in 2011 when Kansas temporarily eliminated all arts funding.".

"California's new state budget reduces arts funding 7.6%".

Hey Duck, I'm not sure if you've heard, but California has an issue with it's budget and it's affecting fire depts, police, parks, transportation and probably arts also. It's unfortunate but you can't fund something if the money isn't there.

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Avatar for user 'Peking_Duck_SD'

Peking_Duck_SD | September 10, 2013 at 9:48 p.m. ― 3 years, 6 months ago

Hey Sunny, in case you haven't noticed our governor wants to spend billions on more prisons.

The money is there, it's how we choose to spend it.

A country that spends more on prisons and military than it does on education, arts, and science ends up being - well, do I really need to say it??

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Avatar for user 'Peking_Duck_SD'

Peking_Duck_SD | September 10, 2013 at 9:51 p.m. ― 3 years, 6 months ago

North Korea doesn't spend much on the arts either - it all goes to their military-prison-industrial complex.

We imprison even more people per capita than North Korea.

Maybe that's the vision anti-arts folk have for our future?

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Avatar for user 'Missionaccomplished'

Missionaccomplished | September 11, 2013 at 10:17 a.m. ― 3 years, 6 months ago

Pray tell, anyone who a knows ANYTHING about theater, how is it "innovative" when Mo'ololeo is only interested in accepting new work that involves "women of color"???

Those were her exact words at a Q & A session following a play in Old Town in 2011.

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