HISTORY OF MU
Theater Mu was founded in 1992 by Dong-il Lee, Rick Shiomi, Martha B. Johnson and Diane Espaldon as an arts organization dedicated to bringing Asian American voices to the Twin Cities theater community. This came at a time when Asian American theater did not exist in the area, and the Asian American community was rarely recognized. After forming a taiko drumming ensemble, Mu Daiko, the company rebranded itself as Mu Performing Arts, reflecting its broad artistic base of theater, taiko, and artist development.
Mu remains Minnesota’s only pan-Asian performing arts organizations, and has grown to be one of the largest Asian American theater companies in the United States. Through performance and community outreach, Mu provides an unparalleled resource for Asian American artists, introduces Asian American stories and issues to audiences of all backgrounds, and gives Asian Americans of all ages and ethnicities a place to connect and belong.
Mu has become a leader in the local and national development of Asian American theater. Mu has helped to develop and support the work of local and national playwrights, actors, directors, and musicians by premiering many new works, fostering a new generation of Asian American artists, and bringing Asian American voices to Twin Cities audiences. Through educational, community, and corporate outreach programs, Mu provides theater throughout the upper Midwest, providing access to Asian American culture and arts to communities who otherwise may not have the opportunity to experience it.
In 2011, Mu Performing Arts published a new anthology of plays through Temple University Press, Asian American Plays for a New Generation. Six of the seven plays included were commissioned and/or produced by Mu.
In 2017, Mu Performing Arts’ leadership decided to split its theater and taiko programs into two separate organizations, reverting back to its original name – Theater Mu.
Each season, Mu produces three mainstage plays, along with numerous artist development programs and other special events.