William and Mary

Francis  Tanglao-Aguas

Associate Professor

Office : PBK Hall 224
Email : [[fjtang]]
Office Phone : 757-221-2684


Francis Tanglao-Aguas is a playwright, performer, director, producer, and teacher of theatre, film, and dance. He was born and raised in Pampanga, Philippines until his family left for Nigeria, West Africa where he completed his primary education. He graduated top of his class from the University of California, Los Angeles receiving both his B.A. in Theater, Magna Cum Laude, and his Master of Fine Arts in Dramatic Writing. At UCLA, he was Founding Artistic Director of Theater Underground, the university's undergraduate resident theater company.


Professor Tanglao-Aguas work explores the dramatic intersections, convergences, and divergences inherent in American diversity. World theatre traditions steeped in indigenous and folklore form the core of his international creative research work, taking him to field work and workshop training in Indonesia, Japan, Thailand, The Philippines, Malaysia, Cambodia, Hong Kong, and Singapore.

He is the author of "When the Purple Settles," winner of the Don Carlos Palanca Award in Literature, the Philippines most prestigious Literary Award. His other plays include "Abuja Woman" (Audrey Skirball Kenis Playwriting Award), "Where the Carabao Sleeps" (A.S.K. Theater Projects Award), and "Ramayana La'ar" (Virginia Gazette's Best Play of 2007). He has performed his solo show "The Sarimanok Travels" (James Pendleton Prize) in California, Ohio, New Jersey, Hawaii, Malaysia, and the Philippines.

He is the founding Artistic Director of IPAX, International Performance Arts eXchange, an arts community with a view to a more diverse creative landscape. Since its inception from the African American Theatre Club and “Ramayana La’ar” cast in 2007, IPAX has produced Betty Shamieh’s “ROAR!” (the first Arab American play on the William & Mary campus), Ntozake Shange’s “for colored girls who have considered suicide when the rainbow is enuff,” Anna Deavere Smith’s “Twilight: Los Angeles 1992,” and Michael Golamco’s “Cowboy VS Samurai.”

For William and Mary Theatre, he has directed "Ramayana La'ar," Suzan-Lori Parks' Pulitzer Prize winning "Topdog/Underdog” (Honorable Mention Award in Directing and Acting, Kennedy Center American College Theatre Festival), and “when the purple settles.” He recently directed the world premiere of Amanda Andrei’s “Every Night I Die” at the 2011 Capital Fringe Festival in Washington DC. In 2012, he will direct the regional premiere of Keralino Sandorovich’s “Disappearance” for the William and Mary Second Season, followed by the premiere of “Sitayana” in 2013 on the main stage.


In 2009, Professor Tanglao-Aguas became the first person of color to be awarded tenure at the College of William and Mary’s Department of Theatre, Speech, and Dance. He previously held teaching positions at Georgetown University, Kenyon College, and Ateneo de Manila University, and has given lectures and workshops nationwide at UCLA, UC Irvine, Virginia Tech, University of Maryland, Drexel University, DuPaul University, California State University San Bernardino, Ramapo College; and internationally at Singapore Management University, City University of Hongkong, and the International Islamic University of Malaysia.

At William and Mary, Professor Tanglao-Aguas is an affiliated faculty of Africana Studies and Asian & Middle Eastern Studies. He was the first Director of the Asian Studies Initiative funded by the Freeman Foundation, which paved the way for the College’s new Asian & Middle Eastern Studies program. In 2007, The William and Mary Image Awards accorded him the Outstanding Professor Award.

Courses Taught

Theatre 200: Introduction to Theatre (GER 6)

Theatre 317: Playwriting (GER 6)

Theatre 332/Africana Studies 332: Sex & Race in Plays & Films: Dramatizing Diversity (GER 4C & 6)

Theatre 333: South & South East Asian Folklore Performance (GER 4B & 6)

Theatre 334: Classical Asian Theatres (GER 4B & 6)

Theatre 340: Asian Pacific American History in Theatre & Film

Theatre 460: Theatre as Revolution: Decolonization of Latin Americans & Filipinos (GER 4B & 6)

Theatre 460/Africana Studies 306: Hip-Hop Theatre & Solo Performance for Social Change (GER 6)

Student Advising

Majors in Theatre, Literary & Cultural Studies, Black Studies/Africana Studies, Asian & Middle Eastern Studies, Asian Pacific American Studies in Film & Theatre. Faculty Adviser for WM S.U.R.E. (William and Mary Scholars’ Undergraduate Research Experience).

Faculty Advisor

MSA: Muslim Students Association, FASA: Filipino American Students Association, SASA: South Asian Students Association, ASC: Asian Student Council, and IPAX: International Performance Arts eXchange.