Like every good Chinese kid, Desdemona Chiang was destined to be a doctor. She was a straight-A student who went got into UC Berkeley as a biology major. But then she took an unexpected “Intro to Acting” drama class her freshman year of college, and ended up crushing her mother’s hopes and dreams.

Today, Desdemona is a stage director working nationally in regional theatre. She directs in a variety of genres, including new plays, Shakespeare, and musicals. She is known for her visceral, no-nonsense approach to storytelling, with her distinct point of view as an immigrant and Asian American woman, and a specific interest in international and multilingual stories. Her directing credits include Oregon Shakespeare Festival (Ashland, OR), The 5th Avenue Theatre (Seattle, WA), Guthrie Theater (Minneapolis), Alley Theatre (Houston), South Coast Repertory (Costa Mesa, CA), Pittsburgh Public Theatre, Baltimore Center Stage, Seattle Repertory Theatre, Studio Theatre (Washington DC), Long Wharf Theatre (New Haven, CT), Seattle Children’s Theatre, and ACT Theatre (Seattle), among others. Her stage adaptation of Amy Tan’s novel THE BONESETTER’S DAUGHTER received its world premiere in the summer of 2022.

Desdemona was part of the inaugural cohort of the Sundance Institute | The Asian American Foundation Fellowship, which aims to improve AAPI representation in the film and television industries over the long-term by cultivating AAPI talent and elevating their stories. Her TV pilot MADE IN USA was developed with the Sundance Episodic Program, The Orchard Project, The Writers Lab, and was a winner of the WeScreenplay Diverse Voices Lab. Most recently, Her TV pilot ZHIZHA! was developed as part of Film Independent’s Episodic lab in February 2024.

Awards/Affiliations: AFI DWW+ class of 2024, Princess Grace Award, Vilcek Prize for Creative Promise, Drama League TV/Film Fellowship.
MFA Directing: University of Washington.

Photo by Peter Hurley.

Photo by Bahareh Ritter

Ongoing / Upcoming


Seattle Repertory Theatre
Seattle, WA
Mar 1 – 31, 2024