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Ralph B. Peña. (Courtesy of Ma-Yi Theater Company)

Ma-Yi Offers New Programs, Initiatives for AAPI Heritage Month

Included in the announcement are the recipients of $24,000 in micro-grants from the New York City company as well as an upcoming benefit reading.

NEW YORK CITY: Ma-Yi Theater Company, in celebration of AAPI Heritage Month, has announced several programs and initiatives aimed at strengthening Ma-Yi’s role in leading the national conversation about what it means to be an Asian American today as well as to expand the diverse communities Ma-Yi champions and supports. Included are a benefit reading of Daniel K. Isaac’s Once Upon A (korean) Time, the streaming of Ralph B. Peña’s Vancouver, and $24,000 in micro-grants awarded to creatives who identify as trans, disabled, and/or people of color.

A benefit reading of Isaac’s Once Upon A (korean) Time will stream May 20-23, with tickets ranging from $5 to $50. The play mixes traditional Korean fables with the horrors of the Korean war as it traces the legacies of trauma that are passed from one generation to the next.

“Ma-Yi has continually championed my voice and nurtured my writing,” said Isaac in a statement. “When I feared that the theatre industry would be dormant for an indefinite period of time, I watched Ma-Yi adapt and reinvent itself—creating a studio space, commissioning projects, and hiring out-of-work artists—so they could continue to tell stories by Asian American voices, but now for a global audience. Ma-Yi has never stopped supporting the community whose livelihoods were put into extreme uncertainty. Ma-Yi has truly been a lifeline.”

Streaming through May 31, in association with the Chicago International Puppet Theater Festival, is Vancouver, a puppet play about a mixed-race family that moves from Japan to the Pacific Northwest. The play is written and directed by Ma-Yi producing artistic director Ralph B. Peña and created in collaboration with puppetry director Tom Lee.

Additionally, Ma-Yi has announced 48 recipients of the company’s micro-grant program. The program, which offered recipients $500 grants, was established in response to the continuing pandemic and prolonged theatre shutdown and it was open to New York City-based artists. The program was initially announced as a $5,000 program, but a groundswell of support and unsolicited donations allowed the pool to grow to $24,000.

The recipients of these micro-grants include multidisciplinary artist Sienna Aczon; multidisciplinary theatre and digital content maker Nikomeh Anderson; choreographer Rohan Bhargava/Rovaco Dance Company; multidisciplinary theatre artist Chanel Blanchett; actor and songwriter Jason Bowen; circus sideshow artist and choreographer Arrie Fae Bronson-Davidson; writer Ruth Minah Buchwald; freelancer Isabelle Carnot; performer/playwright Pablo Aaron Catenza Rubin; poet Catherine Chen; pianist-violinist Gabrielle Chou; director Nelson T. Eusebio III; pianist and composer Melinda Faylor; performer, director, designer, and educator Emily Anne Goes; cinematographer Dylan Golden; fiction writer Logan Hoffman-Smith; photographer Yolanda Hoskey; writer and curator Coach Tea; musician Kambaba Jasper; Maggie Keenan-Bolger, founder of Honest Accomplice Theatre; writer, director, and actor Katelynn Kenney; multidisciplinary artist Piliojos Magnificos; 3D artist Nelson Mai; actor, writer, and producer Danny Marin; visual artist, dancer, and drag performer Marisol; dance artist Bianca Medina; actor, dancer, and drag performer Alex Might; actor, manager Gregg Mozgala; actor and playwright Youlim Nam; actor, writer, and multidisciplinary artist Nina Naval; photographer and mixed media artist Tyler-Andrew “6” Nelson; choreographer and interdisciplinary artist Christopher Núñez; actor, writer, and director Chuk Obasi; musician, actor, and photographer Reuben Reuel; jeweler and painter Kenya Reynolds; actor, singer, writer, and dancer J Riley Jr.; writer Abigail Savitch-Lew; visual artist Hanna Sheehan; interdisciplinary artist, actor, and activist Futaba Shioda; multilingual vocalist, composer, producer, multi-instrumentalist, and dancer Jen Shyu; actor, singer, and film producer Brandon C. Smith; actor, musician, and writer Anna Stacy; storyteller and writer Tracey Starin; actor and stage combatant Alex Taylor; choreographer @ddy Tomby; sculptor Hong-Ling Wee; choreographer Nami Yamamoto; and an anonymous artist.

Ma-Yi is also planning to host two public symposiums, with the first focusing on the New York Health Act and Medicare For All. Jesse Jae Hoon will moderate the first panel. The second panel with center housing and the eviction crisis. Participants and further details will be announced at a later date. More information is available on Ma-Yi’s website.

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