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Ma-Yi Theater Company Celebrates AAPI Heritage Month with New Programming and Initiatives

Programming will feature a benefit reading of Daniel K. Isaac’s Once Upon a (korean) Time, Ralph B. Peña’s Vancouver and more.

Ma-Yi Theater Company Celebrates AAPI Heritage Month with New Programming and Initiatives

In celebration of AAPI Heritage Month, Ma-Yi Theater Company has announced several programs and initiatives that not only strengthen Ma-Yi's role in leading the national discourse about what it means to be Asian American today, but expands the diverse communities that Ma-Yi champions and supports.

From May 20-23, Ma-Yi will present a benefit reading of Daniel K. Isaac's Once Upon A (korean) Time. Mixing traditional Korean fables with the horrors of the Korean War, Isaac's new play is a funny and deeply moving analog for the experiences of the Korean American diaspora. Isaac deftly moves his characters through time, tracing the legacies of trauma that are passed from one generation to the next, and the various coping mechanisms each one uses to soldier on. The cast includes Diana Oh, Jon Norman Schneider, James Seol, David Shih, Shannon Tyo, Jeena Yi, and Isaac as the Narrator.

"Ma-Yi has continually championed my voice and nurtured my writing," says Isaac. "When I feared that the theater 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."

Once Upon A (korean) Time will stream from 7 PM ET on May 20 until 7PM ET on May 23. Tickets, priced $5-$50, can be purchased at

Currently streaming at Ma-Yi Studios through May 31, Ma-Yi, in association with The Chicago International Puppet Theater Festival, is proud to present the online premiere of Vancouver, a puppet play centered on a mixed-race family that relocates from Japan to the Pacific Northwest. Written and directed by Ma-Yi Producing Artistic Director Ralph B. Peña and created in collaboration with puppetry director Tom Lee, Vancouver confronts anti-Asian aggressions through the experiences of one family hoping to find more stability. Or, maybe, acceptance? But where is home exactly?

Ma-Yi Theater Company is also pleased to announce the recipients of Ma-Yi's new $500 micro-grant program, which was open to New York City-based BIPOC, transgender and disabled artists and creatives. The micro-grant was established in response to the continued COVID-19 crisis and the prolonged shutdown of live theater and events. Originally announced as a $5,000 program, the news of the micro-grants was met with an unprecedented groundswell of public support and unsolicited donations allowing the pool of money to grow fivefold to $24,000.

The 48 recipients of Ma-Yi's micro-grant program include multidisciplinary artist Sienna Aczon; multidisciplinary theater & digital content maker Nikomeh Anderson; choreographer Rohan Bhargava/Rovaco Dance Company; multidisciplinary theater artist Chanel Blanchett; actor & songwriter Jason Bowen; circus sideshow artist & 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 & composer Melinda Faylor; performer, director, designer, educator Emily Anne Goes; cinematographer Dylan Golden; fiction writer Logan Hoffman-Smith; photographer Yolanda Hoskey; writer & curator Coach Tea; musician Kambaba Jasper; founder of Honest Accomplice Theatre Maggie Keenan-Bolger; writer, director, & actor Katelynn Kenney; multidisciplinary artist Piliojos Magnificos; 3D artist Nelson Mai; actor, writer, producer Danny Marin; visual artist, dancer, & drag performer Marisol; dance artist Bianca Medina; actor, dancer, & drag performer Alex Might; actor, manager Gregg Mozgala; actor & playwright Youlim Nam; actor, writer, & multidisciplinary artist Nina Naval, photographer & mixed media artist Tyler-Andrew "6" Nelson, choreographer & interdisciplinary artist Christopher Núñez, actor, writer, & director Chuk Obasi; musician, actor, & photographer Reuben Reuel; jeweler & painter Kenya Reynolds; actor, singer, writer, & dancer J Riley Jr.; writer Abigail Savitch-Lew; visual artist Hanna Sheehan; interdisciplinary artist, actor, activist Futaba Shioda; multilingual vocalist, composer, producer, multi-instrumentalist, & dancer Jen Shyu; actor, singer, & film producer Brandon C. Smith; actor, musician, & writer Anna Stacy; storyteller & writer Tracey Starin; actor & stage combatant Alex Taylor; choreographer @ddy Tomby; sculptor Hong-Ling Wee; choreographer Nami Yamamoto, and Anonymous.

Ma-Yi is also planning to host two public symposiums. Moderated by Jesse Jae Hoon, the first panel will focus on the New York Health Act and Medicare For All while housing and the eviction crisis will be the subject of the second panel. Details and participants will be announced at a later date.

Please visit for more information.

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