MAY LEE-YANG is a playwright, poet, prose writer, and performance artist. She has been hailed by Twin Cities Metro Magazine as “on the way to becoming one of the most powerful and colorful voices in local theater.” Her theater-based works have been presented locally at organizations like at Mu Performing Arts, the Center for Hmong Arts and Talent (CHAT), and Intermedia Arts as well as nationally at Out North Theater (Anchorage) and the National Asian American Theater Festivals in Los Angeles and Philadelphia. Her plays include The Divorcee Diaries, Confessions of a Lazy Hmong Woman and Ten Reasons Why I’d Be a Bad Porn Star. In 2012, her company produced a Hmong-language version of Confessions of a Lazy Hmong Woman to create accessibility for people who spoke little/no English, were new Americans, or had never seen theater before. She is the author of the children’s book The Imaginary Day (MN Humanities Center) and has been published Bamboo Among the Oaks: Contemporary Writing By Hmong Americans, Water~Stone Literary Journal, and others. She has received grants from the Minnesota State Arts Board, the National Performance Network, the Midwestern Voices and Visions Residency Award, Intermedia Arts’ Beyond the Pure Writing Fellowship, the Playwright Center, the Loft Literary Center, and is a winner of the 2011 Bush Leadership Fellowship. She also teaches creative writing and theater to teens and elders. In 2014, she launched Letters to Our Grandchildren, a theater/food/storytelling/video project with Hmong elders.
Learn more about May Lee-Yang and her works here.
SAYMOUKDA VONGSAY is an award-winning Lao American poet, playwright, and cultural producer who lives for miscombinations. She brings 10+ years of experience working in the non-profit sector and at the state and national level within the Asian American community in various capacities. She has worked as a programs coordinator (ex: State Council on Asian Pacific Minnesotans) and consultant (ex: Smithsonian Institute) on community-based projects, research analysis, grant writing, program planning and evaluation, and community assessment.
Her artmaking and community work has been possible due to funding from organizations such as the Jerome Foundation, Metropolitan Regional Arts Council, MN State Arts Board, and the Joyce Foundation. Her writings can be found in the Hmong Women Write Now! Anthology, Poetry City USA Vol. 4, Lao American Speculative Anthology, Lessons For Our Time, Journal of Southeast Asian American Education and Advancement, and The Asian American Literary Review.
Her plays have been presented by Mu Performing Arts, The Unit Collective, Minnesota Fringe Festival, and the Consortium of Asian American Theater Artists. Her critically acclaimed play KUNG FU ZOMBIES VS CANNIBALS was named "Best Production of 2013" by L’Etoile Magazine. She is a recipient of a theater fellowship from Mu Performing Arts (2011, 2012) as well as a fellowship to study traditional Lao storytelling supported by the Minnesota State Arts Board's Folk and Traditional Arts grant (2013, 2015). She's a recipient of the 2010 Alfred C. Carey Prize in Spoken Word Poetry (NY), and has been recognized as a Change Maker by Intermedia Arts (2011) and the office of Governor Dayton for her contributions and leadership in the state's Lao arts movement.
She is Chair of the Twin Cities World Refugee Day festival planning committee, is a COMPAS and East Side Arts Council teaching artist, and serves on the board of directors for Intermedia Arts, Saint Paul Almanac, and Ananya Dance Theatre.
Vongsay believes in creating tools and spaces for amplification of refugee voices and continues to explore and share these narratives through poetry, theater, and storytelling. Check her out on Minnesota Public Radio News' The Interpreters podcast and get to know her here.
SCOTTY GUNDERSON is a theatre director, visual artist, and designer residing in Minneapolis, MN. His visual art has been exhibited in New York City, Minnesota, and Wyoming. His recent directing credits include Frog Belly Rat Bone, FLUFF, and Littler Women with The Buoyant Group, The Best Songs You Ever Heard, Part 1: Proxis at FringeArts in Philadelphia, PA, and There’s a Boy in the Girls’ Bathroom at Stages Theatre Company. As a director and designer, he has worked with The Buoyant Group, Red 40 & the Last Groovement, FringeArts, Stages Theatre Company, Red Eye Theatre, Lazy Hmong Woman Productions, Mixed Blood Theatre, Walking Shadow, VocalEssence, Mu Performing Arts, Rachel Jendrzejewski and Theo Goodell, Ifrah Mansour, The FAIR School, Lake Harriet Players, and St. Olaf College, among others. Scotty is the Artistic Director of The Buoyant Group, a Twin Cities performance group, and a teaching artist and director at Stages Theatre Company. Born and raised in Wyoming, he graduated from St. Olaf College with a Bachelor of Arts in Theatre and Studio Art.