Meg Hanna Tominaga
Meg Hanna-Tominaga is the resident scenic designer in the Department of Theatre & Dance at Converse University, where in addition to a variety of design-related courses, she also teaches Puppetry, Playwriting, and Intro to Asian Theatre. She received her MFA from the University of Hawaii – Mānoa, where her thesis design was for the English premiere of Lady Mu and the Yang Family Generals, under the artistic supervision of Chinese Living National Treasure Madam Shen Xiaomei. She has designed for theatres and opera companies in Hawaii and across the mainland, from California to Florida. She has worked for Sony and Nickelodeon Animation Studios as a color stylist on shows such as Spongebob Squarepants, Hey Arnold!, and Invader Zim, and she has worked as production designer on several independent films. Meg lived and worked in Japan for ten years, where she was able to deepen her interest in a number of theatrical and handcraft traditions.
Some of her award-winning work has been sponsored by grants from the Hawai’i Board of Tourism, the Int’l Assoc. of Natural Textile, the Asian Theatre Endowment Fund, and the Consulate General of Japan in Honolulu. In 2014, Meg won a fellowship at the Eugene O’Neill Theatre Center where she worked directly under Tony Award Winner Rachel Hauck (Best Scenic Design for a Musical – Hadestown, 2019).
Her photo essay “It Died Before It Bloomed: Terror Unable to Sweep the Nation as Terror Sweeps the Nation” can be found at the Etudes Online Theatre & Performance Studies Journal for Emerging Scholars. This issue seeks to highlight designs that were not brought to fruition due to COVID 19 cancellations; Meg’s submission details her half-completed scenic and puppetry designs for Theatre Converse’s derailed Spring ’20 production of Little Shop of Horrors.
Scholarly & Research Activity
As a theatre practitioner, each of Prof. Meg Hanna-Tominaga’s freelance and university engagements brings a new field of research, from true crime in the Wild West for her play Knock Off to Japan in the 1930s for the American and English language premiere of Kishida Rio’s Thread Hell (partially funded by grants from the Asian Theatre Endowment Fund and the Consulate General of Japan in Honolulu, and for which she won the KC-ACTF National Honorable Mention in Design Excellence, the NaPAT Alternate for Korean Study Exchange and Design Excellence Award, the Stagecraft Institute of Las Vegas Scholarship in Design Award, and the Hawai’i State Theatre Council’s Po’Okela Award for Scenic Design).
Etudes Online Journal recently published Hanna-Tominaga’s photo essay “It Died Before It Bloomed: Terror Unable to Sweep the Nation as Terror Sweeps the Nation.” Summer 2022 will see the publication of her chapter, “A Case Study in the Hybrid Stage Management Classroom,” in the book Teaching Performance Practices in Remote and Hybrid Spaces (Routledge Publishing).
Hanna-Tominaga’s current project is an exploration of the relationship between audience and actor in the nearly post-pandemic world, and reimagines space and story as directly influenced by the coronavirus.