Director, dramaturg, and teacher, directed over fifty productions in NYC, LA, and nationally with a focus on new work for the American theatre. She is currently the Senior Program Associate-International with the Sundance Institute Theatre Program. Her present focus is the development of a Sundance Institute Middle East North Africa initiative. For over 12-years, she co-initiated, co-designed and co-implemented the Sundance Institute East Africa (SIEA) initiative: a series of peer-to-peer exchange and exposure activities between high-level U.S.-based artists and East African artists living in Kenya, Uganda, Rwanda, Burundi, Tanzania and Ethiopia. In 2004, she co-founded and now directs Theatre Without Borders, www.theatrewithoutborders.com, a grass-roots volunteer network of individual theatre artists around the world. In 2005, she co-initiated, with Cynthia Cohen of Peacebuilding and the Arts at Brandeis University, the TWB/Brandeis Theatre & Peace Building Dialogue and is a co-founder of The Acting Together Project: www.actingtogether.org. In September 2010 at La MaMa E.T.C., she co-produced Acting Together on the World Stage: A Conference on Theatre and Peace Building in Conflict Zones. She began working in Africa in 2001 as leader of the East African Theatre Workshop (Kenya, Uganda & Tanzania) followed by the 2002 The Three Continents Workshop at the Warsaw Theatre Academy, Poland (sponsored by the Center for International Theatre Development and IIE/Ford Foundation East Africa Office). Additional work and travel in East Africa includes Erik Ehn’s 2007 Interdisicplinary Genocide Studies Center study-tour of Rwanda; workshop leader, New Writing in East Africa, TCG/ITI New Generations International Fellowship, Oct 2007; co-producer, Eti! East Africa Speaks!, Dartmouth College/651 ARTS/Martin E. Segal Theatre Center, Graduate Center CUNY, July 2008. Other international work includes: Member of the Creative Team that created BENEDICTUS by Motti Lerner – a Collaboration of Iranian, Israeli and US artists; Project Director, After the Fall: Reality and the New Romanian Theatre NYC, July 2006; Co-coordinator of the first CalArts symposium Arts in the One World, Jan 2006; Awards and honors include being named the American Honoree at the 15th Cairo International Festival for Experimental Theatre in 2003 and the Alan Schneider Award in 1992 for directorial excellence. She has received Fulbright Specialist assignments at Makerere University (Kampala, Uganda 2007), the National University of Theatre & Cinematography (Bucharest, Romania 2005), and the Chinese University of Hong Kong (2003) and she is currently a Fulbright Ambassador Emerita. Her accomplishments and writings are featured in The New York Times, American Theatre Magazine, Theatre in Crisis?: Performance Manifestos for a New Century, The South Atlantic Quarterly, Writing the World: On Globalization and ROUNDUP, a publication of the League of Professional Theatre Women in New York City. She has had writing residencies at both Hedgebrook and Ucross. Participation in national service organizations includes Advisory Board, Coexistence International at Brandeis University; Board of Directors, The IGSC – Rwanda (Interdisciplinary Genocide Studies Center); Peer Panel for the N.E.A., the Executive Board of SSDC (The Society of Stages Directors and Choreographers) and the Executive Board of TCG (Theatre Communications Group); International Committee of the League of Professional Theatre Women. A graduate of Stanford University, she has been on faculty at UCLA and Bennington College.
Quote from Roberta Levitow:
“I first got to know Deborah Asiimwe in 2001. She, along with 14 other extraordinary artists from Uganda, Kenya and Tanzania, participated in our “East African Theatre Workshop,” Back in Santa Monica, California, I had coffee with Philip Himberg, Artistic Director of the Sundance Institute Theatre Program. We couldn’t stop talking about all the exciting artists we’d met during our travels in East Africa. Philip said, “let’s find a way to create more connections.” Now, after 13 years with the Sundance Institute’s East Africa initiative, I’ve witnessed real and deep interactions between so many gifted U.S. and East African artists. Bayimba’s Kampala International Theatre Festival is the perfect evolution. I’m sending a cheer to Deborah Asiimwe, Faisal Kiwewa, all the SIEA artists and the entire team!”