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The Song Collective Assembles Six Vietnamese Writers From Across North America For The Launch Of The Viet Writers Lab

The writers will spend six months meeting digitally to participate in story sharing circles.

The Song Collective Assembles Six Vietnamese Writers From Across North America For The Launch Of The Viet Writers Lab

Taking this pandemic as an opportunity to incubate new works, The Song Collective is engaging with six playwrights in an effort to inject new perspectives into the American Theatre canon. The inaugural cohort for the Song Collective's Via??t Writers Lab brings together a community of dynamic Vietnamese artists from across the United States and Canada.

The writers will spend six months meeting digitally to participate in story sharing circles; attend panel discussions with theatre professionals; and will receive time, resources and support to write new works which will culminate as readings to be presented in June.

"The goal is to provide a space for writers to uncover inspiration from within our community during a time of isolation and distance," says Song Collective co-founder, Jonathan Castanien (he/him). "As we live through a prolonged pause in our industry, it is vital for us to come together and uplift one another."

The cohort of writers include Tom Dang (he/him), Katie Do (she/her), Diana Ly (she/her), Nam Nguyen (he/him), Nghia xuan ai Nguyen (she/they) and Jessica Luu (she/her).

Tom Dang (aka Dang Tien Trung) was born in Saigon, Vietnam and immigrated to San Diego, CA for a brief three years before relocating to Seattle, WA. He is currently based in Los Angeles and works as an actor, writer and director. As a writer, Tom's full length plays include NIGHT PARADE (commissioned and produced in partnership with Pork Filled Productions; Gilbert and Sullivan Society Seattle grant; co-authored with Kendall Uyeji), Cafe Dante and Rashomon: Reloaded. Additionally, Tom is an artistic associate with Rogue Artist Ensemble (LA, CA), an invitee of Directors Lab West (Pasadena, CA), and Artistic Director of REBATEnsemble Theatre Group (Seattle, WA).

Katie Do is a Vietnamese-American writer/actor from New Jersey, now based in Brooklyn, NY. Her plays include love you long time (already). She is also currently a member of The Public's Emerging Writers Group (2020-2022). Do was also a finalist for the Greenhouse Residency at SPACE on Ryder Farm (2020 & 2021). She is a graduate from Rutgers' Mason Gross School of the Arts with a BFA in Acting. Acting credits include: "To All the Boys I Loved Before 3," "Manifest," "Mrs. Fletcher" and "The God Committee."

Diana Ly is a Vietnamese-American screenwriter and playwright based in Los Angeles. She studied Computer Science at Stanford University and subsequently worked at Google and the YouTube Space LA. Diana began writing in UCLA's Professional Programs in Screenwriting and TV Writing. She was a 2017 Project Involve Fellow at Film Independent and a writer on Season 2 of GodComplX, a funded web series about diverse LA techies. She was selected as a 2020 Ragdale Artist Resident and the runner-up for Nantucket Film Festival's Feature Screenplay Competition. Diana writes stories about dysfunctional families, immigrants, nerds and women who defy stereotypes.

Nam Nguyen is a playwright & lyricist from Mississauga, Ontario. He was named one of NOW Magazine's breakthrough Toronto stage artists of 2019 following the premiere presentation of his musical A Perfect Bowl of Pho with fu-GEN Asian Canadian Theatre. Current projects include tidying his desk and completing the National Dex on Pokémon HeartGold.

Nghia xuan ai Nguyen walks the tightrope of inter-sectional identities such as woman, transgender, Vietnamese, refugee and she fights as a survivor, artist and activist. She was born in Vietnam, raised in Southern California and sharpened her political teeth in Portland, OR. Nghia writes and acts to break the silence and chains that have been enforced on her community through colonization, sexism, racism and transphobia. Her work challenges our notion of identities, relationships and journeys. She comes from a long line of shamanism spirit medium-ship of the Đa??o Ma??u. She is working to disrupt, dismantle and disarm oppressive structures for an equitable future.

Born in Ha Noi, Viet Nam and raised in Guam, Jessica Luu is a Brooklyn-based biracial Vietnamese-American writer and actress, trained at NYU's Tisch School of the Arts. Fueled by a need to understand her place in the diaspora and a longing to see pieces that reflected it, Jessica took to writing. In her work, she strives to create counter-narratives and represent her communities wholeheartedly, encouraging those around her to unashamedly be themselves. Most recently, Jessica worked at the Williamstown Theatre Festival, where she took part in Mona Pirnot's Writer's Group and co-wrote the semi-autobiographical play Home, workshopped by director Jason McDowell-Green.

The Song Collective was founded by Viet Theatre artists: Carolina Do (she/her), David Lee Huynh (he/him), and Jonathan Castanien (he/him), in the spring of 2019 as a response to the United States' sharp cuts to refugee resettlement in the face of a global refugee crisis. The Song Collective's mission is to reclaim the Vietnamese American narrative by creating development and performance opportunities for emerging artists of color. They nurture a community of artists whose work explores questions of identity, race, intersectionality, immigration, and the refugee experience. They are dedicated to telling stories that dare to subvert preconceptions of Asian Americans.

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