Loretta Seto is an award-winning playwright, screenwriter, and children’s book author. Her play Dirty Old Woman was a smash hit at the 2014 Vancouver Fringe Festival, enjoying a completely sold-out run, and winning the Pick of the Fringe and The Cultchivating the Fringe awards. The play was remounted in April 2016 at The Cultch, again selling out its entire run and garnering more positive reviews. Her latest play, The Ones We Leave Behind, was developed and produced by Vancouver Asian Canadian Theatre, and had a successful run at The Cultch in 2018.
Loretta is also the author of the children’s book Mooncakes (Orca Books), which is now in its 5th print run and has a 5-star review on Amazon.ca. She is a co-founder of Wet Ink Collective, an non-profit organization that supports the creation, development and production of new stage- and screenplays written by women.
As a playwright, I’m inspired to create stories and characters that reflect my experiences as a Chinese Canadian. One of my proudest moments was when actress Alannah Ong won a Jessie Richardson award for her performance in my play The Ones We Leave Behind (The Cultch, 2018). Seeing Alannah walk across the stage in her beautiful evening gown and comfy sneakers, and proudly announce that she was winning her first Jessie at age 79 (the same age as my own mother) was as thrilling as it gets.
The role Alannah performed was one I wrote as a tribute to the tough but loving spirit embodied by my mother and grandmother, both who immigrated from China to Canada in the 1950s. That was an era when Asians faced a level of racism and discrimination that I thought we’d long left behind. But with the spike in incidents of Asian hate, especially during the pandemic, I realize that our work is far from over.
Now, more than ever, as Asian Canadians working in the performing arts we need to speak up and speak loudly to share our unique and common stories. Together with our allies, we can drown out the hateful voices that have no place in our communities.