Acknowledge and celebrate one another without questions.
Lighting Designer for Stage and Environment
Brooklyn, New York
Cha is a Freelance Lighting Designer for Stage and Environment, born and raised in Manila, Philippines. She is currently based in Brooklyn, New York where she moved to pursue her Masters in Fine Arts in Lighting Design. She is the first-ever Filipino woman to obtain MFA in New York University for Lighting Design.
She fell in love with the craft when she enrolled herself in the Theatre program for her undergrad. She recalls, “When I was in Manila, the least students were the theatre department. I enrolled myself not knowing what was in store for me. Not until the first day of class when I discovered how I love it. I never stopped until 17 years later.”
Cha expresses her connection with her heritage and culture through her craft, “Lighting is so abstract and universal. It’s like music. It’s a language that everyone understands but not everyone knows how to speak. I connect my practice with my culture- just by being.” She further explains the struggles and challenges she meets in her practice in the industry, “I am swimming in a big ocean. There is a lot of assumptions that as an Asian woman I know or do not know certain things even when they do not know me.” Furthermore, as she narrated the disposition that she faces, we asked her if there was an instance that being an Asian became a disadvantage, Cha said: “All of the time- because lighting design world is a white male-dominated industry. Me walking in as an Asian lighting designer who is a woman is a surprise to everyone.”
Moving forward, we asked Cha about how she sees a more inclusive theatre practice for Filipinos, she gave us inspiring words to remember: “Acknowledge and celebrate one another without questions.” And her advice for aspiring Filipinx who will arrive after her, “You will work 3x harder than everyone. Do not give up.”
Cha has upcoming theatre shows that we should all watch out for: “Exception to The Rule” by Dave Harris- Roundabout Theatre Company and “Once Upon A (Korean) Time” by Daniel K. Isaac- Ma-Yi Theatre Company.
Currently, Cha is leading a fundraising effort for immigrant theatre artists who are financially impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic. Their website reads: "Since June, we have received 1049 donations through our website totaling in $69,545.85 AND $30,000 from Broadway Cares. The support we have received is phenomenal and we cannot thank you enough. Your money has directly impacted the lives of immigrant theater artists and we have made our books public to prove that. ... It is hard to ask for more help, but we still need it. We still need over $80,000 to reach our initial goal of 180K . Please consider signing up for a monthly donation again through our website. We also can now receive donations through Venmo! @cha-see (The SLF bank account is connected through Cha’s personal Venmo account so don’t worry, it will go to SLF directly)"
To donate, show your support and get more details, you may visit their website at SEE LIGHTING FOUNDATION or their Instagram at @seelightingfoundation. To follow Cha’s journey, you can find her on Instagram at @seethruuu or visit her website: http://seelightingdesign.com/