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.”
She's best known for her "epic and ambitious" (Cherry and Spoon) plays Kung Fu Zombies vs Cannibals, Kung Fu Zombies vs Shaman Warrior, and The Kung Fu Zombies Saga: Shaman Warrior & Cannibals. Minnesota Playlist wrote, "Duangphouxay Vongsay has made a historical and theatrical artifact in the Kung Fu Zombies Saga." Her plays have been presented by the Smithsonian Asian Pacific American Center, Theater Mu, Consortium of Asian American Theater Artists, Lazy Hmong Woman Productions, Theater Unbound, Walking Shadow, Lower Depth Theater, and elsewhere.
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 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 and is a consultant at Springboard for the Arts’ Artist Career Consultant program.
She is currently a Mellon Foundation National Playwright in Residence at Theater Mu, a Bush Foundation Leadership Fellow, a Jerome Foundation Jerome Hill Artist Fellow, and a Center for Cultural Power Narrative Change Lab Fellow. She was a recent McKnight Foundation Fellow in Community-Engaged Practice Art and a writer-in-residence at Hedgebrook.
Theater Mu (pronounced MOO) is one of the largest Asian American theater companies in the nation and the largest in the Midwest. Founded in 1992, Mu tells stories from the heart of the Asian American experience. Theater Mu’s continuing goal to celebrate and empower the Asian American community through theater is achieved through mainstage productions, emerging artist support, and educational outreach programs. Theater Mu is a member of the Consortium of Asian American Theaters & Artists as well as a member of the Twin Cities Theatres of Color Coalition, proudly standing alongside New Native Theatre, Pangea World Theater, Penumbra Theatre, and Teatro Del Pueblo. | theatermu.org