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Ma-Yi Theater Opens Ma-Yi Studios, State-of-the-Art Digital Streaming Center and Recording Studio

Ma-Yi Theater Opens Ma-Yi Studios, State-of-the-Art Digital Streaming Center and Recording Studio

Ma-Yi Theater Company has announced the opening of Ma-Yi Studios, a digital streaming center and live capture studio that enables theater artists to produce new work for the screen. Equipped with state-of-the-art recording devices and following strict social distancing and safety guidelines, Ma-Yi Studios empowers playwrights, directors, and actors to envision and produce a new kind of online theater. With live performance venues across New York closed, Ma-Yi deepens its commitment to artists and craftspeople by putting them to work, despite the coronavirus pandemic.

A digital tour of Ma-Yi Studios can be seen below:

Ma-Yi Studios will not only produce Ma-Yi's soon to be announced 2020-2021 digital season, but equally important, Ma-Yi Studios aims to be a home for artists across New York struggling to create high-quality digital theater. Affordable rental packages include a complete audio, visual, and lighting package; a suite of editing tools and computers, a technician; personal protective equipment; and the ability to both digitally capture or live-stream events. Ma-Yi Studios follows the strictest of safety protocols including overnight UV air scrubbers, commercial-grade air purifiers, and activated carbon filtered air conditioning.

In addition to serving as the streaming platform for Ma-Yi's 2020-2021 season, the online home of Ma-Yi Studios,, will also host works of digital theater by like-minded artists. First up is "Sophocles in Staten Island" by Obie award-winning, Ma-Yi affiliated artist Ron Domingo which is currently streaming for free. It centers on a Filipino-American family quarantined in Staten Island who, thanks to an overbearing homeschool father, decides to make a film of Oedipus Rex and Antigone that will surely impress the College Board.

Ma-Yi is one of the leading incubators of new work shaping the national discourse about what it means to be Asian American today. Immediately following the outbreak of the coronavirus, Ma-Yi quickly embarked on a bold plan to transform the company's midtown rehearsal space into Ma-Yi Studios. The six-figure renovation was supported by lead funding from The New York Community Trust.

"When the coronavirus pandemic first broke out in Asia and Europe, I knew it had the potential to wreak havoc in the U.S.," says Ralph B. Peña, Ma-Yi's Producing Artistic Director. "When the government shut down on March 12 forcing Ma-Yi to cancel two-thirds of our 30th anniversary season, my fears were confirmed, and I began to think of ways we could continue to work. That was how the idea for Ma-Yi Studios came about. Artists were going to be out of work, and we had to find a way to create employment opportunities for them.

"Ma-Yi Theater Company was founded because we didn't want other people to solve our problems. It's the same impetus that animates Ma-Yi Studios. Some will say this is not theater, or it's contributing to the demise of the art form. We have to set aside that kind of existential pearl clutching to focus on employing artists and craftspeople. First, let's give them work, the artistry will follow. Our instinct to secure the means of production and distribution comes from knowing that artists and communities of color are historically left out of institutional responses to crises. We want to return the power to create and disseminate back into the hands of artists. What might happen if we had fewer obstacles, fewer gatekeepers? That is a proposition worth exploring."

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