“The largest resident company of Asian American playwrights ever assembled.”
MA-YI WRITERS LAB
Founded in 2004 by Sung Rno in connection with the TCG/NEA residency program, the Ma-Yi Writers Lab is the largest resident company of Asian-American playwrights ever assembled. Currently led by Co-Directors Michael Lew and Rehana Lew Mirza, the Lab is a professional peer-based workshop in permanent residence with the OBIE and Drama Desk Award-winning Ma-Yi Theater Company, designed to nurture and showcase Asian-American playwrights in New York City.
Ma-Yi is deeply committed to its Lab artists. The Lab is a community resource, braintrust, and place of artistic growth for its members. In many cases the Lab is our writers’ primary outlet — their home — the place where they first share a draft of a new play (regardless of whether the play has outside support), and the place where they continue refining work until it’s production-ready. The Lab has also become Ma-Yi’s primary resource for production material, and in many cases work that begins in the Lab has gone on to production within Ma-Yi as well as at major theaters in NYC and nationally.
WRITERS LAB NEWS
- Congratulations to Kimber Lee for winning the Lark Fellowship! Kimber is the second Ma-Yi Labbie to win the fellowship after A. Rey Pamatmat in 2011-12. Additionally, her play DIFFERENT WORDS FOR THE SAME THING will be produced by Center Theatre Group in Los Angeles at the Kirk Douglas Theatre, May 4 – June 1, 2014.
- Congratulations to Lauren Yee, whose play SAMSARA was among eight chosen as part of the Eugene O’Neill Theater Center’s 2013 National Playwrights Conference.
- Jiehae Park has been selected as the winner of the 2013 Leah Ryan Fund for Emerging Women Playwrights, for her play HANNAH AND THE DREAD GAZEBO. Jiehae was recognized at the Lily Awards on June 3rd in New York City, and will also be given a public reading of her play around that same time.
- Rehana Lew Mirza has been awarded the $10,000 commission from the National New Play Network to write and develop her play NEIGHBORHOOD WATCH at the InterAct Theatre in Philadelphia this season. Additionally, Rehana will be in residence at Tofke Lake in September 2013 as part of the Emerging Artists Program, a subsidized residency for the collaborative development of new work.
- Susan Soon He Stanton‘s play FURBALL was selected by the Kumu Kahua Theatre as the winner of the 2013 Playwrighting Contest’s Resident Prize winner.
- Ma-Yi Labbie Carla Ching‘s play FAST COMPANY received a workshop production by South Coast Repertory at the Julia Argyros Theater, April 26-28, as part of SCR’s 16th Annual Pacific Playwrights Festival, and will receive a full production in October 2013. Additionally, Carla has recently been accepted as a member of the New Dramatists, joining Labbies Clarence Coo, Mia Chung, and Qui Nguyen.
A NATIONAL PRESENCE
If accepted for Lab membership, we ask you to:
*be a New York City resident
*attend biweekly Lab meetings from September – June (as many as possible but at least 70%) *participate in and see ALL of the LabFest readings (which occur on a quarterly basis) *support members outside of Lab activities, when possible *complete a first draft of at least one new full-length play every year
To apply for the Lab, please submit the following:
* a cover letter with all relevant contact information
* an artistic resume including production experience, publications, and/or training history, as applicable
* a one-page artist’s statement describing your interest in the Lab and how you hope it will benefit your work and your further development as a writer
* One full-length play in standard American play format, as a PDF or Word doc. Please note that we may only consider the first 25 pages of each submission (depending on submission volumes), but would still like to have an entire full-length for reference.
Applications are accepted year-round but we only evaluate materials just prior to finalist interviews, which are conducted in the summer in NYC. To ensure that your materials are being considered in a timely fashion, please check the Lab website (or join our email list) in anticipation of our annual call for applications in the spring.
Application materials may be sent to email@example.com. Electronic submissions are greatly preferred. However, hard-copy materials can be mailed to:
Ma-Yi Writers Lab
520 8th Avenue, Suite 309
New York, NY 10018
HARD-COPY MATERIALS WILL NOT BE RETURNED
Rehana Lew Mirza
The Ma-Yi Lab has been an integral part of my growth as a writer.
The fact that Ma-Yi is so open to risk-taking is something that I learned is a rarity, but something that is so urgently needed in theater today. As I developed my work through the Lab, I also developed something that is equally important — a community of peers and a network within the Asian American theatre world. My work is inspired by the incredibly talented yet under-utilized Asian American actors that Ma-Yi draws in. There is no other place like Ma-Yi. Our fellow writers are making huge waves in the national theater world. And we hope to continue to do so. Because something magical happens in that office as we gather round. We have a community. We have a home. And we have the strength from one another to continue making an impact on the world.
Lately the work that has come out of the Ma-Yi Writers Lab has exploded on the national scene – from awards for our writers to productions across the country. This isn’t just kismet; it’s the product of several years of hard effort. What makes the Lab so special – other than being the largest collective of Asian-American playwrights in the country – is that the Lab offers two things that most other theaters don’t: sustained multiyear support and a concrete pathway between development and production. Ma-Yi gave me a place to begin my work and keep crafting it. Ma-Yi gave me my very first off-Broadway production, which was an absolutely invaluable milestone as an emerging writer. Ma-Yi gave me a rich community of artists to work with and grow with. The Ma-Yi Writers Lab took me in as a fledgling, unproduced writer and gave me a family in every sense of the word.
The Ma-Yi Writers Lab is unlike any organization in the world, and has been of crucial and unique importance to my life and my work. Because it is truly artist-driven group, it provides a safe, commercial-free forum for writers to imagine, experiment, generate and hone their work on their own terms and on their own time. What’s even more unique about the Lab is that, as an organization specifically dedicated to the work of Asian American playwrights, it doesn’t only provide process and/or product – it represents a movement. In the spirit of Ma-Yi’s mission to challenge popular prescriptions of what Asian American theater can (or should) be, the Lab’s greatest strength lies in its focus on empowering individual artists to explore their personal idiosyncratic voice, within a group setting. Given the dismaying statistics with respect to opportunities for Asian American artists in the maintstream American theater, the Lab’s focus – to provide time, space and holistic support to the individually-tailored needs of each member – is crucial. The explosive recent success of plays and writers cultivated through the Lab in recent years is evidence of its effectiveness, its importance, and its relevance to Asian American communities and beyond.