Amplifying Marginalized Voices through Innovative Performances, Community Partnerships and Educational Workshops



Memory War Theater  is a Seattle-based theater company founded by Tikka Sears and Manuel Castro. Devoted to exploring contested sites of memory, Memory War Theater connects diverse global stories to local communities in original multidisciplinary performance pieces.  Performance pieces are drawn from oral history interviews conducted with community members, and use physical theater, kinetic projections, animation, puppetry and shadow imagery.  We create community-based arts projects, foster public dialogue, and generate public space for marginalized voices and stories to be heard.  Our educational workshops fuse oral history and community-based performance, and are held in partnership with non-profit organizations, universities and local public schools.

Memory War Theater - Tikka Shadow

 Memory War Theater has collaborated with many local organizations, including UW School of Social Work, UW Ethnic Cultural Theater and Center, Wing Luke Asian American Museum, Arts Corps, VIVA, and UW Center for Teaching and Learning.


We offer capacity building in arts-based practices to social service and community organizations, schools and institutions.

Our vision is to reach scholars, educators, social workers, administrators, parent groups, etc.— particularly those who do not necessarily see themselves as “artists”. Through our professional development workshops and leadership trainings, we make the arts accessible, building creative skills that promote participatory education, community building, social justice, and personal and social transformation.  The multimedia arts practices we utilize center around stories from often-marginalized groups, and include oral histories, dance, Theater of the Oppressed, Photovoice, dialogue facilitation, and international performing arts traditions and contemporary practices.

Because accessibility to our services is paramount, we provide workshops and training for a nominal fee.  Our goals are to create sustainable community-based performing arts projects, foster public dialogue, and generate public space for marginalized voices and stories to be heard.  In doing so, we hope to cultivate the roots of creativity with, and in, diverse communities so that they are able to carry on artistic innovations in the future.


Interactive theater is a theater form that blurs the traditional divide between actors and audience. We use interactive theater as a tool for personal empowerment and social transformation, and as a means to convert passive observation into social action.


Memory War Theater offers dynamic workshops on the living performance traditions of Indonesia, India, West Java and beyond. Students learn about mask dance, puppets, traditional dance, storytelling and character types of Southeast Asia.


Theater artist Tikka Sears works with teachers to introduce interviewing skills and ethics to workshop participants. Participants then interview members of the community.  Topics can be based on a theme chosen in collaboration with each group.

The process guided by Memory War Theater reaffirmed for me the wisdom of the collective–how in a well functioning group what emerges in the process is always so much richer and valuable than what any of us could have arrived at on our own.  I’m taking away so many creative and compassionate ideas for addressing challenging situations.

Ethnic Cultural Theater

Watching the Interactive Theater Project performances helped me understand the difference between a tense or uncomfortable exchange (where a performer was being oppressed) vs. interactions that were inclusive and supportive. Participating in this “discussion” on these topics also helped me understand the negative impact of this kind of exchange in a more lasting and real way.

Ethnic Cultural Theater



Tikka Sears

Tikka Sears

Artistic Director

Tikka Sears is a Seattle-based theater director, performer and educator.  Tikka has been studying and performing Indonesian arts for 15 years and weaves mask, dance, and puppetry traditions into her work. In 2004, Tikka spent two years in Indonesia as a Fulbright Artist-in-Residence, collaborating with the internationally acclaimed Black Umbrella Theater. Along with Manuel Castro, Tikka created the multimedia play, Work Created Under Compulsion, which was selected to appear at Bumbershoot and On the Boards Northwest New Works Festival. Tikka has received grants from the US Embassy, the American-Indonesian Exchange Foundation, Artist Trust, the Mayor’s Office of Arts and Cultural Affairs and 4Culture.

Manuel Castro

Manuel Castro

Lead Writer, Designer

Manuel Castro is a Seattle-based glass blower and theater artist. Manuel’s was introduced to glassblowing in 1997 at Pratt Fine Arts Center in Seattle. He later worked at Manifesto , one of Seattle’s premiere glass studios, and was also part of the Lino Tagliapietra Seattle glass blowing team. In 2002 Manuel moved to Indonesia for two years and collaborated with visual artists and modern theater artists. With help from the Visual Arts Department of the Bandung Institute of Technology in Indonesia, Castro helped to open one of the first hot shops in West Java. Castro and Sears perform and teach Indonesian dance and drumming workshops to audiences of all ages. View Manuel’s glass art.

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