“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
- THIS WEEK! Readings of 3 new plays by Mike Lew, Don Nguyen, and Lauren Yee!
- THE TIGER AMONG US by Lauren Yee – Thursday, Dec. 6 @ 7pm
- THE COMMENCEMENT OF WILLIAM TAN by Don Nguyen – Friday, Dec. 7 @ 7pm
- COLLIN by Mike Lew – Sunday, Dec. 9 @ 3pm
- Announcing the new members of the Ma-Yi Writers Lab! Naveen Choudhury, Damon Chua, Clarence Coo, Kimber Lee, Jiehae Park, and Lauren Yee. Welcome to the Ma-Yi family!
- Nora Chau, along with writers Ed Lin and Kai Ma, will present SEQUELS: a staged reading at the Museum of Chinese in America (MOCA) on Friday, Dec. 14 @ 8pm. More information here.
- Mike Lew’s new play BIKE AMERICA was workshopped at the Kennedy Center in July and at Juilliard in September. The play is receiving its world premiere at the Alliance Theater in Atlanta, GA in February 2013.
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.