Clarence Coo

Labbie Clarence Coo participated in JAW FESTIVAL where he presented “an unusual, yet entirely understandable, preference for jays, sparrows and warblers over humans with “The Birds of Empathy.””

The 20th annual event gave playwrights venue to fine-tune works at The Armory, along with  Meghan Brown,  Emily Feldman and Matthew Paul Olmos. JAW Festival was spurred on by a partnership with the New York Theater Workshop and eventually plays became part of the regular Portland Center Stage lineup. The Festival BIG WEEKEND took place Friday through Sunday, July 27-29, at The Armory.

more from From DramaWatch Weekly: time to JAW:

“And in a small bit of research into this year’s playwrights, I did come across this simple exchange that I liked from an interview Clarence Coo did with Ma-Yi Theatre, where his JAW submission Birds of Empathy previously was workshopped in 2015:”

“Why do you write plays?

Clarence Coo: To increase the amount of empathy in the world.”



Damon Chua

Damon Chua

Labbie Damon Chua‘s play THE EMPEROR’S NIGHTINGALE is part of

PANASIAN REPERTORY’s new season announcements.

“Launching our new Theatre for Young Audiences (TYA) Initiative
and reaching out to the younger generation”


Clarence is a winner of 2017 The Whiting Award, established by the Whiting Foundation in 1985, which bestow $50,000 on emerging writers, based on the criteria of early-career achievement and the promise of superior literary work to come.


Kyoung Park_sq

Kyoung Park

Kyoung Park’s Pillow Talk will be featured at CONFESTS, CAATA’s  Consortium of Asian-American Theaters and Artists “Radical Acts Festival” in Victory Gardens in Chicago. Read this THEATER FEATURE INTERVIEW  ‘Pillowtalk’ a love story for post-marriage equality world by Catey Sullivan.


Following a successful New York City World Premiere this January, which received a rave review from the New York Times, PILLOWTALK will tour to Chicago and perform on Friday, Aug. 17th and Saturday, Aug. 18th at 8pm.



Mike Lew and Rehana Lew Mirza do “double time” as Resident Playwrights at Ma-Yi and La Jolla Playhouse


Ma-Yi’s Melon Funded Resident Playwrights Mike Lew and Rehana Lew Mirza were awarded playwrights in residence at La Jolla Playhouse this season. Even before the recent closing of Ma-Yi’s highly acclaimed production of TEENAGE DICK at The Public Theater, the couple left to work on the trilogy “The Colonialism Project” (co-commissioned by the theater), as well as a new musical called “Bhangin’ It.”

“’The Colonialism Project’ is an ambitious time-spanning trilogy about colonialism and its aftermath. Through three interconnected full-length plays that together comprise an epic evening of theater, this work seeks to trace the scars of colonialism across nations and centuries, from British Raj in India, to plantation labor in the Caribbean, to the ripple effects of colonialism in America today.” The pair’s musical project, “B hangin’ It,” has a book by Mirza and Lew, with music and lyrics by Sam Willmott.


Rehana Lew Mirza

Rehana Lew Mirza

Rehana was recently selected for the 2018 Johnny Mercer Writers Colony At Goodspeed where a total of 38 established and emerging composers, lyricists, and librettists converged on the Goodspeed campus from mid-January through mid-February 2018 to participate in the Johnny Mercer Foundation Writers Colony at Goodspeed Musicals.

Rehana’s play, “Ladybits“, about an aspiring comedian who finds solace within a group of other female comedians feeling marginalized in an industry-and world-dominated by men, was part of Local Theater Company‘s Boulder New Play Festival April 20-22, 2018.

watch the video: by HOWLROUND : Rehana Lew Mirza and Mike Lew at Ma Yi Theater Company, New York, NY — National Playwright Residency

Carla Ching_sq


Atlantic Theater Company announced Ma-Yi Writers Lab Member Carla Ching’s play NOMAD MOTEL was commissioned through the Virginia B. Toulmin Foundation and will play May 22 – May 23, 2019 at The Atlantic Theater Company “In the not-so-sunny side of California, Alix bounces between motel rooms, taking care of her brothers for her mostly MIA mother. Her classmate Mason is a budding songwriter trying to keep off the radar of his absent father in Hong Kong. Together, they must learn to scrape by without giving up their dreams. “

On television, Carla has written on USA’s Graceland, AMC’s Fear the Walking Dead and is currently writing on Amazon’s I Love Dick.



Both Carla and Labbie, Kimber Lee were chosen to participate in Summer Residency (Ground Floor) Lab at Berkeley to work on projects in June 2018. Artists are selected based on a combination of existing relationships with Berkeley Rep and an application process. Interaction with other artists, staff, board and, when appropriate, the public are highly encouraged to identify where the project is in its development path, and to move it to the next stage, whatever that stage may be.

During the Residency “Toast Talk “Kimber Lee was featured in this humorous piece by The Daily Californian.


 Jon Kern_sq

Lab Member Jon Kern’s play BROKEN, directed by Carolyn Cantor, played at The Cape Cod Theater Project in late July.

“There’s a lot scientist Davis Musler, PhD, would like to change about his college-age daughter Amée. Foremost, he wants to restore her ability to walk. But Amée would just like to chill on her break with Dad’s grad student Olu, without feeling like a perpetual patient and science experiment, and without getting caught. BROKEN is a funny, acerbic clash over how others perceive us, how we define ourselves and how we claim our bodies.”

Jon has written for TV and theater, including THE SIMPSONS where he was a staff writer for four seasons. His plays include Modern Terrorism, or They Who Want to Kill Us and How We Learn to Love Them (Second Stage Theatre; CATF), We in Silence Hear a Whisper (Red Fern Theatre Co.), and Hate the Loser Inside (2013 Marathon at Ensemble Studio Theatre). Awards: 2010-2011 Van Lier Fellowship from New Dramatists, 2012 Laurents/Hatcher Prize


Jon is married to Labbie, Samantha Chanse, whose play, FRUITING BODIES will be part of Ma-Yi’s Mainstage 2018-2019 Season at Theater Row in April 2019, Directed by Shelley Buttler. The play recently had a June 2018 workshop at New Dramatists.

Sam’s “The Opportunities of Extinction” played at Broken Nose Theater in Milwakee and Cherry Lane Theater Mentor’s Project in NYC, and a production of her play “Trigger” with Leviathan Lab, and a residency at SPACE on Ryder Farms in 2017.




As anticipated, the Sundance Theatre Lab in Morocco was amazing, and productive. It was also completely exhausting — in the good, “I did so much work while also learning about a whole new culture/country” way.It’s a good thing I had another residency right afterward so I could recover from that one.

As announced while I was on the other side of the ocean, I will be a Working Farm resident at SPACE on Ryder Farm for summer 2018. I’m working on a whole new piece that’s all kinds of ambitious, which I hope to tell you more about when more of it is done. With all the large cast pieces I’ve done before (Out of Joint, A Spare Me, A Power Play; Or, What’s-its-name), this one breaks even more boundaries, so wish me luck.


Ma-Yi Receives NEA $15,000 Grant for Deepa Purohit’s Elyria


Deepa Purohit

New YorkNational Endowment for the Arts Chairman Jane Chu has approved more than $80 million in grants as part of the NEA’s second major funding announcement for fiscal year 2018. Included in this category is an Arts Work Grant of $15,000 to Ma-Yi Theater Company to support the development of Elyria,” a play with music by Ma-Yi Writers Lab member Deepa Purohit and director Stephen Brown-Fried. The Art Works category is the NEA’s largest funding category and supports projects that focus on the creation of art that meets the highest standards of excellence, public engagement with diverse and excellent art, lifelong learning in the arts, and/or the strengthening of communities through the arts.

“The variety and quality of these projects speaks to the wealth of creativity and diversity in our country,” said NEA Chairman Jane Chu. “Through the work of organizations such as Ma-Yi in New York City, NEA funding invests in local communities, helping people celebrate the arts wherever they are.”


On Stage
The Labbies
Ma-Yi Theater Company 520 Eighth Avenue, Suite 309 New York, NY 10018 212.971.4862 info [at]