The theater was founded in 1989. Ma-Yi Theatre is a professional, award-winning, non-for-profit organization whose motto is to produce fresh plays made and produces by Asian American writers. Since it was founded, Ma-Yi has earned a mark as the country’s largest incubators of new, innovative and creative works which molded the local and national dialogue of the Asian-American identity.
The central mission of Ma-Yi are to challenge perceptions for cultural specific theatre and to encourage artists to push Asian American theatre beyond the classroom. In that case, Ma-Yi provides a caring atmosphere for an exciting, new and contemporary playwrights to think outside the box for American audiences.
Along with onstage and off, Ma-Yi has a guided knowledge for why and whom they create. They aspire to explore and amplify extent where theatre producers and makers are challenged to be active in these diverse communities which inspires them to participate in global dialogues.
Ma-Yi theatre was founded in 1989 used for the production and development of several new plays and performances which include discussions and engaging with the Filipino-American experience and audiences.
“Ma-Yi” is the term used by ancient Chinese traders to refer to a group of islands that is known today as the Philippines.
A document written sometime around 1318 and titled Wen Shiann Tung Kuo (A General Investigation of the Chinese Cultural Sources) contains a stray reference to the Philippines that dates back to 982 AD. The text reads: “There were traders of the country of MA-YI carrying merchandise to the coast of Canton in the seventh year of Tai-ping-shing-kuo.”
Another pre-Spanish source is the Tao-i-chih-lio (Description of the Barbarians of the Isles) by Wang Ta-yuan, dated 1349 AD, with the following reference to MA-YI: “The people boil seawater to make salt and ferment (molasses) to make liquor. The natural products are kapok, yellow beeswax, tortoise shell, betel nuts, and cloth of various patterns. The Chinese goods used in trading are cauldrons, pieces of iron, red cloth or taffetas of various color stripes, ivory, ‘tint’ (a Chinese silver coin) or the like.”