RELAY RELAY was an artist-to-artist interview marathon for and by Twin Cities contemporary performance makers and took place on March 24 + 25, 2018. Twenty artists working in dance, theater, music, and performance art engaged in public dialogue at the Red Eye Theater, in wide-ranging conversations that draw from Red Eye’s core values of collaboration, experimentation, and critical discourse as a starting point.
Initiated by Red Eye Artistic Leadership team members Emily Gastineau, Jeffrey Wells, and Rachel Jendrzejewski, this gathering provided a forum for dialogue around artistic practice for Twin Cities performing artists and evidences the breadth and rigor of artistic practice happening in the Twin Cities.
The interview participants for RELAY RELAY wer selected through a chain curation process: the event organizers selected five initial participants, those five picked another artist to interview, and so on.
RELAY RELAY resulted in a publication that includes selected transcripts from the interviews as well as written responses by additional local artists and writers Charles Campbell, Danielle Jackson, Sun Yung Shin, Anna Marie Shogren, and Alessandra Williams.
Red Eye Theater is fully wheelchair-accessible. To request ASL interpretation or audio description, please contact firstname.lastname@example.org or call 612.870.7531 by March 14.
RELAY RELAY was made possible, in part, thanks to Equal Exchange, Fox Tax, Kariel Staging & Decor, Metropolitan Regional Arts Council, and Seward Community Co-op.
Emily Gastineau is a fiscal year 2017 recipient of an Artist Initiative grant from the Minnesota State Arts Board. This activity is made possible by the voters of Minnesota through a grant from the Minnesota State Arts Board, thanks to a legislative appropriation by the Minnesota State Legislature; and by a grant from the National Endowment for the Arts.
Saturday, March 24, 2018
9:30 am-1 pm
Chantal Pavageaux interviewed Sonya Berlovitz
Sonya Berlovitz interviewed Kimberly Richardson
Kimberly Richardson interviewed Trevor Bowen
Trevor Bowen interviewed Chantal Pavageaux
2:30 pm-6 pm
Maia Maiden interviewed Alan “A+” Mure
Alan “A+” Mure interviewed Anjanie Da Artist
Anjanie Da Artist interviewed Ben Obi
Ben Obi interviewed Maia Maiden
7:30 pm-11 pm
Karen Sherman interviewed Samantha Johns
Samantha Johns interviewed Emmett Ramstad
Emmett Ramstad interviewed Martin Gonzales
Martin Gonzales interviewed Karen Sherman
Sunday, March 25, 2018
10:30 am-2 pm
Masanari Kawahara interviewed Akiko Ostlund
Akiko Ostlund interviewed E.G. Bailey
E.G. Bailey interviewed Rebekah Crisanta de Ybarra
Rebekah Crisanta de Ybarra interviewed Masanari Kawahara
3:30 pm-7 pm
Eric Larson interviewed Rosy Simas
Rosy Simas interviewed Chitra Vairavan
Rosy Simas interviewed Rhiana Yazzie
Rhiana Yazzie interviewed Saymoukda Duangphouxay Vongsay
Saymoukda Duangphouxay Vongsay interviewed Eric Larson
Chantal Pavageaux is a writer, director, and interdisciplinary artist (keepthepants.com). Her original performance works include Relics (Guthrie Theater), The Breezy Pines (Mabou Mines/Suite), The Game Show (Ars Nova, NY Live Arts), The T.A.C.T. (Talking About Complicated Topics) Force (Bryant Lake Bowl), The Love Party: REVIVAL (Red Eye Theater), The Love Party (Bedlam Theatre), and The Dinner Party (Dixon Place). She is the co-founder and artistic director of The In[heir]itance Project, and the director of all of the company’s plays (inHEIRitance.org). Directing work also includes Lisa Clair’s What’s YOUR Problem? (Ars Nova, Cloud City), Erin Search-Wells’ Masha 3000 (Intermedia Arts) and GIRLZ: A Reckoning (Bedlam Theatre), and Billy Noble’s sci-fi radio show The Gone (89.1 FM WNYU). Adaptations of classic texts include tres bitches -or- i wanna go to moscow (Twin Cities Chekhov Festival), and Beggar on Horseback -or- Nelly Sunshine’s Journey to Hell (Hangar Theater Lab) and an interactive installation called THE HUNT (Chicago Sketchbook X). Chantal holds a BFA in Directing from NYU/Tisch, and was a Drama League Directing Fellow in 2010 and Resident Artist in 2011. She was the assistant director at Theatre de la Jeune Lune in Minneapolis, and Target Margin Theater Co., Witness Relocation Co., and Mabou Mines in NYC. She is a teaching artist at the Guthrie Theater, a writing mentor at the Jungle Theater, and the co-founder and artistic director of LALA, an experimental art festival in July at the Red Eye (lalafestival.com).
Sonya Berlovitz designed 54 productions for the Tony Award winning Theatre de la Jeune Lune between 1980 and 2008 including Carmen, The Miser, Hamlet, Cosi Fan Tutti, The Magic Flute, Tartuffe, Medea, Circus of Tales and The Three Musketeers. She currently designs costumes for The Moving Company, collaborating with them on productions at The Guthrie Theatre, Playmakers Repertory Company, Actors Theatre of Louisville, South Coast Repertory and Berkeley Repertory Theatre. Productions elsewhere have been at Skylight Music Theatre, The Children’s Theatre Company, The New Victory Theatre, American Repertory Theatre, La Jolla Playhouse, History Theatre, Interact Center for the Performing Arts, Ten Thousand Things, and The Jungle Theater. Ms. Berlovitz is a graduate of both La Chambre Syndicale de la Couture Parisienne and The School of the Art Institute of Chicago after which she worked as a textile designer for fashion designer Yohji Yamamoto in Tokyo, Japan. She has been the recipient of many grants and awards, including The Bay Area Theatre Critics Circle Best Costume Design award, Costume Society of America award, Minnesota State Arts Board Initiative Grant, McKnight Theatre Artists Fellowship (1998 & 2016). In 2007 and again in 2011 her designs for The Miser and The Deception were chosen for exhibition at the Prague Quadrennial. In 2015 her designs were selected for the exhibit Costume Design at the Turn of the Century 1990 – 2015 at the Bakrushin Museum in Moscow, Russia. www.sonyaberlovitz.com
Kimberly Richardson is an actor, dancer, choreographer, and theatre maker with 17 years on the Twin Cities performance scene. A member of Ten Thousand Things Theatre’s Artist Core, Kimberly has appeared frequently with the company since 2008, in productions including Othello, Music Man, As You Like It, and Dirt Sticks. Also a regular performer/collaborator at Open Eye Figure Theatre, Kimberly originated roles in To the Moon, My Life as a Fairytale and The Clumsy Man with Michael Sommers and The Red Shoes with Joel Sass. Other credits include: Workhaus Collective, Children’s Theatre Company, Jungle Theater, TigerLion Arts, Interact Center, Live Action Set and Sodhouse Theater. Kimberly received a 2016-17 McKnight Theatre Artist Fellowship and a 2006 Sage Award for dance performance.
Trevor Bowen (Costume Designer): Five Points, All is Calm, The Tour, Ragtime, Lullaby, Steerage Song: The Tour and Our Town (Theater Latte Da); Girl Shakes Loose (Penumbra Theatre); 365 Plays (Full Circle Theater Company); Corduroy (Children’s Theatre Company); Fly By Night, Bars and Measures (The Jungle Theater); Scapegoat, Bright Half Life, Prep, The Gospel of Lovingkindness, Death Tax, and the road weeps, the well runs dry (Pillsbury House Theatre); Barbeque, Charm, DJ Latinidad’s Latino Dance Party, An Octoroon, Pussy Valley, HIR, Colossal and Passing Strange (Mixed Blood Theatre); Nina Simone: Four Women, My Children! My Africa! The Color Purple and The House on Mango Street (Park Square Theatre); Good Person of Szechuan, Park and Lake, Fiddler on The Roof, Intimate Apparel, Pericles, Electra, Intimate Apparel, Fiddler on the Roof, Pericles, Henry IV, Part 1, Romeo and Juliet (Ten Thousand Things Theatre); The Glass Menagerie, Statements After an Arrest Under the Immorality Act, In The Blood (Macalester College); U/G/L/Y, Choir Boy (Guthrie Theater). Regional credits include: BLKS (Steppenwolf), Ragtime (5th Ave), Welcome To Fear City, Byhalia, Mississippi, pen/man/ship, We Are Pussy Riot, The Exceptionals, Inana, Dead and Breathing, Race, We Are Here, A History of Light (Contemporary American Theatre Festival). 2016 recipient of the Emerging Artist Ivey Award. Trevor has an M.F.A. in Costume Design from West Virginia University.
Scientist by day, dancer by night, Maia Maiden has been a pillar in the dance community for over 20 years. Born and raised in South Minneapolis, she has studied all genres of dance primarily focusing on West African, Hip Hop, and Step. Her work has been featured in Momentum: New Dance Works 2008, the Hip Hop Theater Festival and Fringe Festival 2008 in Washington D.C., Snapshots: Reflections of Women 2010 and the Catalyst Series 2012. In 2015, she was featured in the CHANGEMAKERS Profile Series presented by Intermedia Arts. Her passion for cultural representation in the arts has led to the creation of innumerable powerful performances including ROOTED: Hip Hop Choreographers’ Evening, the first and only choreographers’ evening dedicated to Hip Hop dance and its roots in the Twin Cities, showcasing high school to professional choreographers and the multidisciplinary Sistah Solo | Being Brothas, which features solo performances by women and men of color. With sold out shows since their inception (2009 and 2011, respectively) and on the Minneapolis City Pages A-List (2009, 2010, 2013 and 2014), ROOTED received a Sage Dance Award for Outstanding Performance in 2014. In 2017, Maia Maiden Productions received the Cultural STAR grant and the MRAC Community Arts grant. In 2018, The McKnight Choreographer Fellowship program and The Cowles Center for Dance & the Performing Arts announced Impilo Mapantsula as the 2018 McKnight International Choreographers and selected Maia Maiden Productions as their residency partner. The pantsula group Impilo Mapantsula, consisting of choreographers Vusi Mdoyi, Sicelo Xaba and Sello Modiga, of South Africa, will premiere new work as part of ROOTED: Hip Hop Choreographers’ Evening on June 15 and 16, 2018.
Alan “A+” Mure is an experienced dancer, performer and two-time Sage Award Nominee from the Twin Cities. Ranging from acting to choreography, Alan does it all. Dancing for a lil over 14 years, Alan has been sculpting his craft in multiple areas as well as others he’s taken under his wing. He is the leader of Immortal Dance Team and Head Choreographer for LegacyLive Entertainment, Creative Team Member and a Choreographer for SHAPESHIFT MPLS Dance Company, and Choreographer for rising star recording artist Anjanie and international recording artist RajiTheOne. His dream is to be one of the greatest entertainers alive and also become a pioneer for ushering in a huge dance movement and environment in Minnesota. To also change lives and help shift the culture in a positive manner. Hoping one day to become a revolutionary figure through his art. His passion for performing is what keeps him on his path and journey to victory. Blood, sweat, tears, spirit and heart he lives, he loves, he is…an artist.
Anjanie (pronounced an-juh-nee) is a gifted R&B/Pop/Dancehall/Reggae singer, songwriter, dancer, actress and choreographer. Born in Trinidad & Tobago and raised in the USA, her sound is a unique blend of her Caribbean and American influences. Her critically acclaimed debut single, “My Time” (featuring Dancehall MC Prince Jabba), is a club banger that seamlessly combines R&B, Pop, Dancehall, Indian rhythms and Reggae. DJ Big Daddy of Bacchanal Radio (The World’s #1 Online Chutney Soca Station…Period!) says, “… not all the time (do) you meet (an) artist that just totally blows you away as soon as you hear their first release, but this is definitely one of those artists…” Twitter: @AnjanieDaArtist
An internationally accredited music producer and engineer of several music genres including indigenous African genres; British born Nigerian, Ben Obi has produced, engineered and/or mixes over 1000 commercially released songs and has worked with several of the urban music artists to emerge from the Twin Cities of Minneapolis and St. Paul, USA. Ben Obi is the founder of Savannah Street Music, an artist development and music production company, that works with a diverse group of artists from around the world. In addition to working with most of the major music labels, Ben Obi has negotiated and facilitated performance deals with major Twin Cities based corporations such as General Mills Foundation, Minneapolis Urban League, Boy Scouts of America, UNCF, and the Minneapolis Downtown Council. He also was an adjunct instructor/music educator at the Minneapolis Media Institute, located in the former Flyte Tyme Studio facilities in Edina, MN. Currently as chief engineer for Savannah Street Music, Ben Obi concentrates his efforts on mixing, music production, developing and breaking new artists. In 2014, Ben Obi had two #1 hits on the UK Soul Charts. IG: @SavannahStreetMusic www.savannahstreet.com
Karen Sherman makes dances, writes, and builds thing. Her most recent show, Soft Goods, examined work, death, disappearance and the occupational self-obliteration of stagehands. It was co-commissioned by Walker Art Center, P.S. 122, and Center for the Art of Performance UCLA and is currently touring. Her work has also been presented by PICA/TBA Festival, Fusebox Festival, The Chocolate Factory Theater, The Southern Theater, American Realness, Diverseworks, Movement Research, ODC, Red Eye Theater, and many others. Her honors include a 2007 “Bessie” Award for her performance in Morgan Thorson’s Faker, multiple McKnight Foundation Fellowships in Choreography and Dance, a Bush Artist Fellowship, SAGE Awards for her work as a choreographer, performer, and scenic designer, and residencies with the MacDowell Colony, Vermont Performance Lab, Movement Research, LUMBERYARD, and the Bogliasco Foundation program in Liguria, Italy. She was a 2016-2017 Hodder Fellow in The Lewis Center for the Arts at Princeton University and is an inaugural Caroline Hearst Choreographer-in-Residence in its dance program. Her writing has been featured in such forums as e-flux journal, Movement Research Performance Journal, Criticism Exchange, and The Triumph of Poverty: Poems Inspired by the Work of Nicole Eisenman. She is currently working on a multi-part, interdisciplinary project exploring blood donation, fugue states, heat waves, laboratory animals, violence, family, and astronomy to reveal the consanguinity between humans, events, animals, objects, and beliefs. Part one is on view March 8-31, 2018 at Hair + Nails Gallery in South Minneapolis. https://www.karenshermanperformance.org/
Samantha Johns is a Minneapolis-based director and designer working in contemporary performance. She is also a poet. With other humans, she builds worlds that are often in response to theatre, modernity, and love. She holds a B.A. in Theatre Arts and Dance from the University of Minnesota. Currently, Johns is writing a letter to every person she has ever known, 2,583 people and counting, these letters will culminate in a visual installation to debut (ideally) in 2019. She is looking for a large institution to fund and premiere this work. At the core of Johns work are themes of nostalgia, love, and mass-consumed culture. She uses truth-telling and first-person revelation to access sincerity, and often plays with exhaustive or durational processes. Intimacy and feelings of abandonment or isolation are also common in her work. She is looking for the edge of theatre. Her work has been presented at 1419, Walker Art Center, Fresh Oysters, White Page, Red Eye, Bedlam, Open Eye, University of Minnesota, BLB, Southern Theater, Jungle, SooVAC, and nationally at Panoply Performance Laboratory, Center for Performance Research (New York, NY), 621 Gallery (Tallahassee, FL), Anam Cara (Asheville, NC), Z Below (San Francisco, CA), Whartscape, The Annex (Baltimore, MD), North Carolina State University (Raleigh, NC), and Alfred ve Dvoře Theatre (Prague, CZ). www.samanthajohns.carbonmade.
Emmett Ramstad’s sculpture and participatory works investigate the infrastructure of daily life by modifying the scale and function of household objects. Ramstad lives in Minneapolis, Minnesota and has exhibited artworks nationally and internationally, including solo exhibitions at Minneapolis Institute of Arts and Rochester Art Center. He is a recipient of several grants and fellowships including a Jerome Foundation Fellowship for Emerging Artists, an Art and Change grant through The Leeway Foundation, and a Professional Development Grant from the Arizona Commission on the Arts. He has performed in productions by The BodyCartography Project, made costumes and sets for five touring contemporary dance productions and has curated and organized numerous gallery shows. His work is in collections at The Weisman Art Museum, MCAD and Second State Press. He is a lecturer in the Department of Art at University of Minnesota. www.emmettramstad.com
Martin Gonzales makes videos, performance, illustrations, and sculptural work that are informed by his interest in rhythm, healing, and the unseen. Through his artistic practice, he examines the bend and warp in lived experience. His work explores the fiction of personal narrative in order to reweave it. Moving to Minneapolis in 2014 to pursue a degree in fine art, he recently graduated from the University of Minnesota in May of 2017 and now lives in Powderhorn Park.
Masanari Kawahara is a performer, educator and Butoh practitioner who incorporates puppetry, mask and movement into his work. His most recent stage work, for which he was a co-creator and performer, was The Story of Crow Boy (2018/17/16) for In the Heart of the Beast Puppet and Mask Theatre (HOBT) where he is a core associate artist. Other notable collaborative works with HOBT include Make Believe Neighborhood (2018), Queen (2016), A Path Home: A story of Thich Nhat Hanh (2009) and Gotama: A Journey to the Buddha (2006). Other recent works include Speechless (2018/17) with The Moving Company as an actor and The Oldest Boy (2016) at Jungle Theater, in which he was a puppeteer as well as the designer and creator of the title character, which was a puppet. He was also the performer, writer, and designer of the solo performance piece Little Boy (2014) which was commissioned and developed by Pangea World Theater’s Alternate Vision series. Masanari is currently a resident teaching artist at Pillsbury House + Theatre and teaching artist for Upstream Arts working with preschoolers to elders. He is a member of the Butoh group Nenkin Butoh Dan, which received a 2015 Sage Award for outstanding dance ensemble for Fu.Ku.Shi.Ma. Masanari Kawahara is a Playwrights’ Center McKnight Theater Artist Fellow (2010-2011). www.welovemasa.com
Akiko Ostlund is a multidisciplinary artist whose work directly reflects her experience as an immigrant woman of color, with an emphasis on community engagement and social justice. As a dancer, she first began in the style of tribal fusion belly dance and continues to cross-study in salsa, bachata, hula, and tutting. Since 2014, Ostlund has been training in classical Indian dance; Bharatanatyam, and is also a student of Ragamala school. In addition to her appearances in Black Market Brass, Sarah White, and Jonathan Tolliver music videos, some of her more notable performances include the following: Stromboli’s Medicine Show (Heart Of The Beast Theatre), Neither (Public Functionary), The Blacker The Berry (Intermedia Arts), Choreographers Evening (Walker Art Center), Parabras Project (Park Square Theatre). As a visual artist, Ostlund’s detailed and prolific collage work has been featured in I Am at Southern Theatre, Queertopia at Intermedia Arts, and is currently on display in downtown Minneapolis as a prominent part of Made Here’s extensive installation. Ostlund’s work also expands into the curatorial world. Co-curating Puppet Cabaret at Heart Of The Beast Theatre and The Funny at Open Eye Figure Theatre. She was the former curatorial assistant at Intermedia Arts and is presently a member of the Catalyst Art team lead by Sha Cage. With a passion for art rooted in community, she is involved yearly in the creation of Barebones Halloween Extravaganza, Mayday Parade, and Northern Spark.
E.G. Bailey is an award-winning spoken word artist, thespian, filmmaker, and producer. He is the recipient of a regional Emmy, LIN travel grant, and the Hughes, Diop, Knight Poetry Award from the Gwendolyn Brooks Writers Conference. His work is featured in the Target Art Connects commercial, now archived at the Museum of Modern Art (NYC). He was an editor for the film, Petting Zoo, which debuted at the 65th International Berlin Film Festival. Bailey has directed plays for well-known production houses, such as: The Guthrie, Pillsbury House, and Children’s Theatres. Titles include: Othello, Amiri Baraka’s Wise Why’s, Juno and the Paycock, The Brother Size, and Sha Cage’s N-Word and U/G/L/Y. He is the co-founder of Tru Ruts Endeavors and the MN Spoken Word Association. Bailey’s written works have been published in Solid Ground, the millennial issue of Drumvoices Revue, Warpland, a publication by the Gwendolyn Brooks Center, and Blues Vision: African American Writing from Minnesota, an anthology. Bailey’s latest work includes the co-curation of America Now!, a special film project which has taken place at the Tampere Short Film Festival in Finland, Latvia and others; and his film, New Neighbors, was a 2017 Sundance Film Festival Official Selection, and as been selected for nearly 100 film festivals worldwide.
Rebekah Crisanta de Ybarra, a Salvadoran-Norwegian-American (enrolled Xinka-Lenca of the Royal Jaguar House of El Salvador), is an emerging Indigenous anti-disciplinary public artist, curator, and civic artist working in the intersections of art, culture, community, and equity. Her practice includes visual art, music (Lady Xok), dance, puppetry and experimental performance with an emphasis on Latinx/Indigenous art methods, the experimental, and the political. Rooted in traditional artesanias of Mesoamerica, her work seeks to shift consciousness about Latinx immigration and connect Indigenous Peoples of the Americas. Her practice lives in the Nepantla or in-between of Christianity and Indigeneity and explores iconography, propaganda, storytelling, Decolonization, and Liberation Theology of El Salvador. Rebekah is co-founder and artistic director of Electric Machete Studios, a Twin Cities Latinx Art & Music collective and gallery. She is self-taught, family-taught, and studied studio art at St. Olaf College and Holtekilen Folkehøgskole in Oslo, Norway. Recent work includes Art Shanty Projects, Penumbra’s My America project, Puppetlab fellowship with In the Heart of the Beast, and a Lady Xok EP. http://www.mnartists.org/rebekahcrisanta www.electricmachete.com Musically inspired by the original Maya queen, Lady Xok bleeding from the tongue, pulls from folk roots in Latin American Nueva Cancion and American Blues layered with distortion, minor tones, and storytelling. Lady Xok experiments with a mixture of Pre-Columbian Indigenous instruments, rock kits, digital sounds, projections and performance installations. See her recent live performance on PBS-TPT MN Original: https://youtu.be/jPtsG8yoAnQ.
Eric Larson creates performances, situations, and digital works about the ways institutions encourage people to think, feel, and act. He graduated from the University of Minnesota with a degree in theatre in 2016. Currently Eric is touring a show he co-wrote and directed, called Theatre Arts, to college theatre groups around the country. In addition to his artistic creations, which he has shown at venues like The Soap Factory, The Southern Theater, and Red Eye Theater, Eric also curates events and a publication about internet memes. Eric curated Meme Town, a pop-up event at the Walker Art Center through Mn Artists, and recently received a grant from the Visual Arts Fund/Midway Contemporary Art to create Intermediate Meme Museum, a thrice-yearly publication that commissions Twin Cities artists to create work about memes. Eric is currently compelled by theatrical acting conventions, awkwardness, and conspiracy theories. Additionally, Eric also works in arts administrative and technical capacities for individual artists and organizations. Through these roles he is able to witness the processes of other artists, and experience and propose changes to the often-invisible, back-end procedures that shape how artists interface with the world. www.ericlarson.club
Rosy Simas is an enrolled member of the Seneca Nation of Indians. She grew up in Minneapolis in an intertribal urban Native community. Her youth was spent dancing around a drum and in play with other Native bodies. The living architecture of her body was formed by movements deeply connected to the earth. And thus, culture, history, and identity stored in her body are the underpinning of all of her work. Rosy is primarily a dance artist; she also designs sets, creates time-based media, and visual art. As a choreographer she has been awarded a Native Arts and Cultures Foundation Fellowship (2013), Guggenheim Fellowship (2015), McKnight Fellowship (2016), and a Joyce Award (2018). Weave, her newest dance, will premiere in 2019 at the Ordway Center for the Performing Arts in St. Paul and is co-commissioned by the Maui Arts & Cultural Center, Dance Place in Washington D.C. and the Alabama Dance Council. Weave is supported by a Joyce Award, a Knight Arts Challenge Award, MAP Fund, and New England Foundation for the Arts National Dance Project. Rosy has been honored with a 2015 Sage Award for outstanding design for the set and film for We Wait In The Darkness. She solo exhibited her visual artwork at: Abrons Arts Center in New York City (2018); Edge Center for the Arts in Big Fork, MN (2016); Gimaajii-Mino-Bimaadizimin in Duluth, MN (2015); Mitchell Museum of the American Indian in Chicago (2014-2015); and All My Relations Arts in Minneapolis (2014).
Rhiana Yazzie is a Navajo playwright and filmmaker. She’s the 2017 Sally Award winner for Vision and the artistic director of New Native Theatre, www.newnativetheatre.org. She’s been a Playwrights’ Center fellow (McKnight and Jerome), and has just completed QUEEN CLEOPATRE AND PRINCESS POCAHONTAS, a play commissioned by the Oregon Shakespeare Festival and the Public Theater for American Revolutions: the United States History Cycle. This past January, Rhiana completed principal filming on her her first feature film, A WINTER LOVE in which she has written, directed and starred.
Saymoukda Duangphouxay Vongsay is a Lao American writer. She was born in a refugee camp in Nongkhai, Thailand and immigrated to Minnesota in 1984. 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. Her plays have been presented by the Smithsonian Asian Pacific American Center, Theater Mu, Consortium of Asian American Theater Artists, and Theater Unbound. She is a Many Voices fellow in playwriting, Loft Literary Center Spoken Word Immersion fellow, a Theater Mu New Performance fellow, a VERVE Grant for Spoken Word Poets recipient, an Emerging Artist grant recipient from Forecast Pubic Art, and an Aspen Ideas Bush Foundation scholar. Her work has been possible due to support from the Jerome Foundation, Bush Foundation, Joyce Foundation, Metropolitan Regional Arts Council, and the MN State Arts Board. She holds a Master in Liberal Studies degree. Get to know her at www.SaymoukdaTheRefugenius.com and keep up with her @REFUGENIUS.