Artist photo by John Schaidler

Saymoukda Duangphouxay Vongsay is an award-winning Lao American poet, playwright, essayist, children's book author, cultural producer, consultant, and philanthropist. 

 

NATIONAL RECOGNITION

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

 

LITERARY AND THEATER WORK

She's the author of the children's book WHEN EVERYTHING WAS EVERYTHING and is best known for her award-winning play KUNG FU ZOMBIES VS CANNIBALS. Other plays include: KUNG FU ZOMBIES VS SHAMAN WARRIOR,  and HMONG LAO FRIENDSHIP PLAY. Her work has been presented by the Smithsonian Asian Pacific American Center (NY), Theater Mu (MN), Lower Depth Theater (LA), Asian Improv Arts (IL), and elsewhere.

She's currently working on the plays THE LITTLE MEKONG MURDER MYSTERY OR THE DEAD COPS IN LITTLE MEKONG PLAY, BURIED BY THE GARDEN, and A LAO PANDEMIC PLAY; and the nation's first Lao musical, IN THE CAMPS: A REFUGEE MUSICAL. 

 

AWARDS

Other awards include grants/fellowships from the John S. and James L. Knight Foundation, Jerome Foundation, Bush Foundation, Andy Warhol Foundation, MAP Fund, Playwrights' Center, Forecast Public Art, and dozens more.

 

Saymoukda is currently a Bush Foundation Leadership Fellow in playwriting, a Mellon Foundation Playwright in Residence at Theater Mu, a McKnight Foundation Fellow in Community-Engaged Practice Art, and a Jerome Hill Artist Fellow in playwriting.

COMMUNITY CONTRIBUTIONS

Saymoukda currently serves as an advisory board member at the nonprofit More Than A Single Story and Asian Pacific Islander American Film Collective. In her philanthropic work, Saymoukda's family is a member of the giving circle, Building More Philanthropy with Purpose

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