Saymoukda Duangphouxay Vongsay at Theater Mu


Saymoukda Duangphouxay Vongsay is a Lao American writer. She was born in a refugee camp in Nongkhai, Thailand and immigrated to Minnesota in 1985. Because of her unique background, her work is focused on creating tools and spaces for the amplification of refugee voices through poetry, theater, and experimental cultural production.

CNN’s United Shades of America host W. Kamau Bell called her work “revolutionary.” She’s recognized by Governor Mark Dayton with a “Lao Artists Heritage Month” Proclamation. She’s a recipient of a Sally Award for Initiative from the Ordway Center for the Performing Arts which “recognizes bold new steps and strategic leadership undertaken by an individual or organization in creating projects or artistic programs never before seen in Minnesota that will have a significant impact on strengthening Minnesota’s artistic/cultural community.”

Her plays have been presented by the Smithsonian Asian Pacific American Center, Theater Mu, Consortium of Asian American Theater Artists, Lazy Hmong Woman Productions, and Theater Unbound. She is a Playwright's Center and Theater Mu fellow in playwriting, a Loft Literary Center fellow in poetry, a Loft Literary Center fellow in children's and young adult literature, a Twin Cities Media Alliance fellow in public art, and an Aspen Ideas Bush Foundation fellow.

She is the author of the picture book When Everything was Everything (Full Circle Publishing) and her poetry, essays, plays, and short stories can be found in the Asian American Literary Review, Massachusetts Review, Jungle Azn Magazine, Rubin Museums' Spiral Magazine, Journal for Southeast Asian American Education and Advancement, Saint Paul Almanac, and other fun places.

She's received creative grants and fellowships from the Jerome Foundation, Bush Foundation, John S. and James L. Knight Foundation, Open Meadows Foundation, Forecast Public Art, Metropolitan Regional Arts Council, MN State Arts Board, and elsewhere. Her work has been mentioned by the NY Times, Pioneer Press, City Pages, Mpls/St. Paul Magazine, TPT/PBS, Mn Original, Minnesota Public Radio, KFAI Radio, and more.

She holds a Master in Liberal Studies degree where her thesis was on creative cultural production and memory work of Laotian American artists. She co-hosted a podcast on Minnesota Public Radio, is a roster artist for COMPAS and Springboard for the Arts’ Artist Career Consultant program.

She is currently a Mellon Foundation National Playwright in Residence at Theater Mu.


Theater Mu produces great performances born of arts, equity, and justice from the heart of the Asian American experience.

More from the Residency

Two people with speech bubbles, one saying "Can we talk about elitism in American theater" and the other responding "Um, yes please."
Get Off Your High Horse

Get Off Your High Horse

Why Elitism doesn't work for BIPOC Theatremakers

Monday 11 January 2020
United States

Ambiance Theatre Company presented the conversation Get Off Your High Horse livestreaming on the global, commons-based, peer produced HowlRound TV network at on Monday 11 January 2021 at 4 p.m. PST (San Francisco, UTC -8) / 6 p.m. CST (Chicago, UTC -6) / 7 p.m. EST (New York, UTC -5).

A Mu Variety Show

A Mu Variety Show

A Mu-medley of music, dance, and poetry brought to you by Theater Mu

Friday 22 May 2020
United States

Theater Mu presented A Mu Variety Show livestreamed on the global, commons-based, peer produced HowlRound TV network at on Friday 22 May 2020 at 5 p.m. PDT (San Francisco, UTC-7) / 7 p.m. CDT (St. Paul, UTC-5) / 8 p.m. EDT (New York, UTC-4).