Rick Shiomi has been a leader in the Asian American theater movement for over thirty-five years, as a playwright, director and artistic director. He was a founding member of Theater Mu in 1992 and the artistic director there from 1993 to 2013. Then he co-founded Full Circle Theater in 2014 and has been the co-artistic director with that company since then. For his work in Minnesota, Shiomi has received the McKnight Foundation Distinguished Artist Award in 2015, the Ivey Award for Lifetime Achievement in 2012 and the Sally Ordway Irvine Award for Vision in 2007.
As a playwright, he has written over twenty plays, including the award-winning Yellow Fever, which has been produced across North America and in Japan. His other plays include Rosie’s Café, Play Ball, Mask Dance and most recently Fire In The New World which is slated for production in September 2022 by Full Circle Theater at Park Square Theater. His plays have been published by Playwrights Canada, Rutgers University Press, The Alexander Street Press and Temple University Press where he was a co-editor for Asian American Plays for a New Generation published in 2011. And his own version of The Mikado has been produced by a collaboration of Theater Mu and Skylark Opera and by the Gilbert & Sullivan Very Light Opera Company.
As a director he has worked for Theater Mu, InterAct Theatre in Philadelphia, Theatre Esprit Asia in Denver and the Asian American Theater Company in San Francisco. For Mu, he directed Into The Woods set in Asia, The Mikado set in Edwardian England and Yellow Face by David Hwang at the Dowling Studio of the Guthrie Theater. For Interact Theatre he directed You For Me For You by Mia Chung and the world premiere of Caught by Christopher Chen in 2014 for which he received a Barrymore Award nomination for Outstanding Direction.
Since 2014 he has received three Doris Duke Charitable Foundation grants in the Building Demand For The Arts program to develop Asian American theater in Philadelphia. He was one of the co-founders of CAATA (Consortium of Asian American Theaters and Artists) and he has served on many MN State Arts Board, TCG and NEA panels and has been a member of the Metropolitan Regional Arts Council board. He played taiko (Japanese style drumming) for thirty years and founded Mu Daiko in 1997, leading the group until 2010 and he is currently an artistic associate with the Park Square Theatre Artist Leadership Cohort.