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Tida is an interdisciplinary performance examining intergenerational cultural identity through a Thai-American woman’s maternal lineage.


I will create and present live performances of Tida in Minneapolis, Tulsa, and NYC.

Tida is an evening-length interdisciplinary performance about intergenerational cultural identity through a Thai-American woman’s maternal lineage. Integrating original music, dance and word, I investigate my mother’s undocumented Thai ancestry, her experience as a Southeast Asian immigrant raising biracial children in Minnesota, and the resulting impact of these histories on her, her daughters and granddaughters.

Through interviews with family members, I will research the experiences of Thai-American females to understand how our cultural identity has developed from first to third generation. I am interested in what was important for my mother to pass on culturally, what she wanted to and had to erase, and how and why certain circumstances during her immigrant experience led to certain outcomes for her and her descendants.

With this knowledge, I will create a performance that shares a significant but unheard perspective, giving voice to a social, racial, cultural, generational, and artistic minority, offering respect to and valuing the Asian female immigrant experience and legacy, and taking steps to protect an important history and cultural identity.

The resulting work for 4 performers will intertwine Thai and Western elements, including piano, voice, traditional Thai instruments and dance, electronics, English and Thai languages. The work will reflect a simultaneous untangling and crossing of cultures, and the resonances and dissonances that occur as a result.

Tida marks a significant step in my artistic development and career, expanding the scope of my investigation and content while building upon my current practice. For the first time I will deal with themes of my own biracial and cultural identity. I will study and compose for electronics and traditional Thai instruments, and incorporate Thai language, music and dance, all new elements marking a logical next step in my practice.

Confirmed project presenters are Roulette (NYC, Fall 2020), Living Arts (Tulsa, Fall 2021), and Public Functionary (Minneapolis, Fall 2021). These presenters position me to reach new, diverse audiences in 3 different geographical and cultural locations, creating broad impact across multiple regions by expanding awareness of differing Asian histories, cultures and experiences, and fostering support for immigrants and minorities in America. This project gives voice to a community of women whose identities and experiences have been marginalized in Western society, and whose access and artistic development has been limited due to lack of representation and opportunity. Each presenting partner has additionally committed to showing my work over multiple seasons, allowing the development of meaningful, lasting artist-organization-community relationships that ultimately strengthen artistic infrastructure within each community and the organizations’ platforms for other diverse artists.

In preparation for full productions with Roulette, Living Arts, and Public Functionary, I will develop Tida and show a work-in-progress at MOVO Space (Minneapolis) through their Early Bird Program in July 2020.

Project Media

“RIP” from Songs Between Life and Death
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A performative song cycle about conscious spiritual existence unattached from a physical body. “RIP” incorporates fabric ripping and feet stomping as rhythmic foundation. Ripping symbolizes physical deterioration and separation of body from spirit.

My roles as composer, choreographer and performer entwining music, movement & concept are roles that I will take on in the proposed project.

Performed at Roulette Intermedium on 4/30/19
Performers Nina Dante, Ariadne Greif, Sara Serpa, Ilmar Gavilán, Jonathan Finlayson, Nick Dunston, Mary Prescott

“We Lie Here” from ALICE
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Features: Mary Prescott

ALICE, a 40-minute chamber opera, explores identity buried by a patriarchal society, themes related to my proposed project aiming to recover female identities and legacies. I am sole creator of this interdisciplinary work.

In “We Lie Here,” ALICE is bound by symbolic colored strips placed by influential societal figures. In her aria, she realizes her own comfortable numbness to a self-identity created and imposed by traditional society.

Performed at Areté Venue & Gallery on 3/19/18
Performers: soprano Jeanai La Vita, pianist Walter Aparicio

“Lucy” from Songs Between Life and Death
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From an 80-minute song cycle, “Lucy” is a personal story expressed through musical composition and interdisciplinary performance, like the proposed project. It recounts my great-grandfather’s last moments on earth. On his deathbed, he deliriously called out the name Lucy several times, the name of his step-mother of whom he never spoke throughout his entire life, and who was only 4 years his senior.

Cue to 3:40

See sample 1 description for performance info.

Start and End Dates



Minneapolis, Minnesota

Project Created By

Minneapolis, MN & New York, New York
Mary Prescott is a Thai-American interdisciplinary artist, composer and pianist based in Minneapolis and New York City who explores the foundations and facets of identity and social conditions through experiential performance. She aims to foster understanding and create pathways for change by voicing emotional and human truths through artistic investigation and dissemination. Prescott’s output includes…

In Collaboration With

Brooklyn, New York


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