MAY LEE-YANG is an award-winning 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 Mu Performing Arts, the Center for Hmong Arts and Talent (CHAT), 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 Hmong-Lao Friendship Play or Lao-Hmong Friendship Play, Confessions of a Lazy Hmong Woman and Ten Reasons Why I’d Be a Bad Porn Star. In 2012, her company, Lazy Hmong Woman Productions, 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. In 2014, she launched Letters to Our Grandchildren, a theater/food/storytelling/video project with Hmong elders.
She is the author of the children’s book The Imaginary Day (MN Humanities Center/Council on Asian Pacific Minnesotans) and has been published Bamboo Among the Oaks: Contemporary Writing By Hmong Americans, Water~Stone Literary Journal, The Saint Paul Almanac, and others.
She is a 2016 recipient of the Ordway Sally Award for Arts Access and a 2011 Bush Leadership Fellow. She has received additional support for her artwork from the Minnesota State Arts Board, the MRAC Next Steps Grant, the Jerome Travel Grant, the National Performance Network, the Midwestern Voices and Visions Residency Award, the Playwright Center, and the Kundiman Retreat.
She also teaches creative writing and theater to teens and elders through COMPAS, St. Paul Conservatory for Performing Artists, and Mu Performing Arts. In other parts of her life, she is a co-founder of Community Artist Leadership Initiative (C.A.L.I.), an organization whose mission is to build the leadership capacity of marginalized artist and is a co-founder of F.A.W.K. (Funny Asian Women…K), a collaborative to empower Asian women through comedy.