Find Your Tribe

A. Rey Pamatmat has been a member of the Writers Lab since 2004 and is now the Co-Director alongside Mike Lew. He is a recipient of multiple honors including the Princess Grace Award for Playwriting.



twitter: @AReyP

instagram: @A_Rey


HOUSE RULES | Photo: Web Begole


Define “Asian American.”

A person with East or South Asian heritage currently living in the Americas.


What is “diversity?”

Reality. Liberation from homogenous delusion.


Describe an obstacle you have faced and/or overcome as an Asian American theatre artist.

I’ve gotten theatres around the country to find Asian/Asian-American performers where they didn’t think they existed.


What was the most inspirational or motivational thing someone has told you?

The head of my department in grad school once said to me, “I understand now: your plays don’t make sense until they’re staged,” and I knew I was onto something.


Any words of wisdom for young aspiring Asian American artists?

Find your tribe — whatever that means to you — and do everything you can to support them.


What are you currently working on?

I’m working on a three-play cycle about someone navigating the change in the gay rights movement from queerness to marriage equality that’s both intimate and epic all at once. WISH ME LUCK. 

Carving Out A Space For Our Work

Mike Lew has been a member of the Writers Lab since 2005 and is currently the Co-Director alongside A. Rey Pamatmat.  His play Bike America was a part of our 2013 – 2014 season. More recently his play Teenage Dick, an adaptation of Shakespeare’s Richard III, was a part of the Public Theater’s Public Studio series.



twitter: @mikelew4



Bike America | Photo: Web Begole


“Diversity” has become a buzz word in the theatre community. What does it mean to you?

“Diversity” is a bone-deep commitment to honoring experiences from a multitude of viewpoints, empowering artists from disparate backgrounds to tell their own stories on their own terms.


What was the most inspirational thing someone has told you?

At the TCG Conference, TCG gathered a group of Young Leaders of Color and I remember Dominic Taylor advising us, “Be Heard.” Which sounded so striking to me as someone who was still young in my craft and coming from a cultural context that prizes deference and respect for authority. But I get it now. Artists and audiences of color are underserved in the theater, and nobody’s carving out space for us – we have to carve out that space. Which means that we have to be heard.


Any words of wisdom for young aspiring Asian American artists?

It’s not our responsibility to write narratives that serve up our culture or water it down for a general audience. Rather it’s our responsibility to address our culture only when we’re artistically moved to do it (and not pressured into it), and when we do, we must write full-throated stories that reflect our experience in all its complexity and nuance… and trust in the fact that we’ll find a smart audience who will want to go on that journey with us.


What are you currently working on?

Mike’s play “Tiger Style!” will be produced at La Jolla Playhouse in September and at the Huntington in October. His play “Teenage Dick” will be workshopped at the O’Neill and Hudson Valley Shakespeare this summer and at OSF in the fall.


Kimber Lee New Play Reading @ The Lark


Writers Lab member Kimber Lee will be having a reading of her new play to the yellow house as part of The Lark’s Studio Retreat Reading series from June 06 – 07, 2016.

to the yellow house

1888. Paris and Provence.
A failing artist in desperate pursuit of a new way of seeing, haunted by his past, and hoping to remake his future in the color and light of the south. At what point in an endless cycle of failures does faith and persistence become delusion and foolishness? A meditation on love, art, and not being popular.


New Plays. Free Readings.

FINALSummerLabFest2016 banner + Kyoung

Ma-Yi Studio

260 West 35th Street, #203
New York, NY 10018


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 *Actors appearing courtesy of Actors’ Equity Association



by Dustin H. Chinn
Directed by Moritz von Stuelpnagel

Featuring Denny Dale Bess*, Curran Connor*, Dylan Dawson*, Sasha Diamond*, Shawn Randall*, Risa Sarachan


Saturday, June 04 at 3PM


Seattle, 1983. Something is haunting the waters of the Ballard Locks, and it’s hungry for endangered steelhead trout. Can the intrepid scientists of the Department of Fish and Wildlife stop this remorseless predator?




by Cate Yu
Directed by Kevin R. Free

Featuring Daniel K. Isaac*, Lauren Currie Lewis*, José Leon
Stage Directions: Nissy Aya.


Sunday, June 05 at 3PM


Three youths at the end of the world. The trauma of being the last of human civilization.





by Nandita Shenoy
Directed by Jen Wineman

 Featuring Mahira Kakkar*, Siho Ellsmore*, Yeauxlanda Kay*, Carmen Zilles*, and Daniel Velasco*  

Saturday, June 11 at 7PM


For 4 women raised in the era of women’s rights and ERA, having it all may be harder than it seems.
SATISFACTION examines how hard it can be for women to get what they want.




by Naveen Bahar Choudhury


Sunday, June 12 at 3PM


A team of female videogame developers create a violent new game geared toward young girls, implicating themselves in a crime spree.





by Kyoung H. Park
Featuring Veracity Butcher, Mieke D, Ale Díaz Scharager, Daniel K. Isaac*, Jesse James Keitel, Yanghee Lee, Will Shaw*, & Nandita Shenoy*


Saturday, June 18 at 11:30AM*


A diptych of two new plays exploring the spiritual journey for peace.

*invitation only

“Create Your Own Work”

Nandita Shenoy has been a member of the Writers Lab since 2007. Her romantic comedy Washer/Dryer recently had its New York premiere by Ma-Yi Theater Company earlier this year.



twitter: @NanditaShenoyNY

Johnny Wu, Nandita Shenoy, and Jamyl Dobson in Washer/Dryer | Photo: Isaiah Tanenbaum


Do you have a #MyYellowFaceStory?

“That time I was told I wasn’t womanly enough to play an Indian woman.”


Define “Asian American.”

An American of Asian descent – from anywhere in Asia, including the Indian subcontinent.


What does “diversity” mean to you?

When there are many different viewpoints represented within a group of people which is often recognized visually by variety in races or genders.


What obstacles have you faced as an Asian American theatre artist?

The expectation that how I write about my experience will conform to how white America sees me.


Any words of wisdom for young aspiring Asian American artists?

Create your own work and don’t take no for an answer.


What are you currently working on?

A new play for LabFest in June! And I’m doing a storytelling project with the The Group Lab for their “Where Project” on May 25th.


See a FREE reading of Nandita’s new play SATISFACTION in Ma-Yi’s SUMMER LABFEST 2016!

Reserve your tickets

FINALSummerLabFest2016 banner + Kyoung


Courage can be Contagious

Catherine Yu is the winner of the 2014 FringeNYC Award for Excellence in Playwriting for her play THE SUN EXPERIMENT, which was also featured as one of Time Out NY’s Top Ten Music and Nightlife Events of the Week.


twitter: @cate_yu


What does “diversity” mean to you?

An inclusion of disparate ethnicities from regions all over the world.



What was the most inspirational thing someone has told you?

Courage can be contagious and hope can take on a life of its own.


Any words of wisdom for young aspiring Asian American artists?

Imagine beyond the best you can.


What are you currently working on?

I’m working on a play set in a museum with Baroque interludes. There are over 35 roles for 10 actors. I’m also working on a contained three character post-apocalyptic play that will hopefully find its way to college students.


See a FREE reading of Cate’s new play STARGAZE in Ma-Yi’s SUMMER LABFEST 2016!

Reserve your tickets

FINALSummerLabFest2016 banner + Kyoung

Be Brave, Inclusive, & Empathetic

Jason Kim upcoming K-Pop musical will be produced at Ars Nova Theater with Woodsheed Collective & Ma-Yi Theater Company during their 2017-2018 season.



twitter: @waytooserious

instagram: @jasonkimny


Define “Asian American.” 

American person who also identifies as Asian.


The term “diversity” has become a hot topic in the theatre. What does it mean to you?

Diversity to me is a state of inclusion — a choice to be aware of the vast and profound range of identities in this world.


What is one challenge to being an Asian American theatre artist?

Half the people google “Jason Kim” and assume I am a dentist.


Do you have any words of wisdom for young aspiring Asian American artists?

Make the choice to be brave. Make the choice to be inclusive. Make the choice to be empathetic.


What are you currently working on?

Currently, I write for HBO’s Girls. My opera, LEGENDARY, about the underground drag scene in 1980s New York, will be at Fort Worth Opera in May. My musical, KPOP, an immersive show following the story of a Korean pop label, will have its world premiere at Ars Nova Theater in 2017.


Congratulations to Mia Katigbak, Rehana Lew Mirza, and NAATCO!


Last night The Lilly Awards honored extraordinary contributions in American Theater by women including National Asian American Theatre Company (NAATCO) Artistic Producing Director Mia Katigbak and Ma-Yi Writers Lab member Rehana Lew Mirza.

Congratulations to all of the honorees!

See photos at



NAATCO received The 2016 Ross Wetzsteon Award and Grant at the 2016 OBIE Awards last night! Congratulations to our longtime friends!

See the full list of award recipients at

New Partnership with NYC Center for Youth Employment

The Wong Kids in the Secret of the Space Chubacabra GO! | Photo: Dan Norman


Last week NYC First Lady Chirlane McCray announced internship partnerships with numerous companies in New York City. Over 120 companies in various industries have signed up as partners in this program. Out of the companies in the Media/Entertainment Industry, Ma-Yi Theater Company is one of the few theatre companies participating in this initiative to provide unique work experiences for young people.

During the summer, Ma-Yi Theater Company will host two young professionals interested in learning about and working in the not-for-profit theatre industry. We are thrilled for this opportunity to shape young leaders in arts administration and provide a strong foundation for their careers. Previous interns at Ma-Yi Theatre Company have found full-time employment within and beyond the theatre industry in New York City and,with the help of the Mayor’s Fund to Advance New York City and leaders, we will continue putting our interns on a path towards success.

Read the full announcement here


Reading of New Play by Resident Ma-Yi Playwright

Rehana Mirza_sq
Rehana Lew Mirza, one of Ma-Yi Theater Company’s new playwrights in-residence, will be having a reading of one of her new plays as part of Primary Stages Fresh Ink Reading Series 2016.


All readings are free and open to the public.



by Rehana Lew Mirza, directed by Lucie Tiberghien
Thursday May 26th at 4:00PM


Local Michigan lit prof seeks out famous Muslim-American novelist to find out if he’s an Islamophobe, a rube, or a really good lay.

@Primary Stages Studios, 307 West 38th Street, Ste 1510

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