The World Premiere of Mai Khoi’s ‘Bad Activist’ Sept. 15 at the Pittsburgh Playhouse

“If music alone could break chains, this would be the music to do it.” — The Economist

The International Free Expression Project, in partnership with the Center for Media Innovation at Point Park University, will present Mai Khoi’s Bad Activist on Sept. 15 at 7 p.m. in the Pittsburgh Playhouse’s PNC Theatre as part of the Center’s Media Innovator Speaker Series.

Mai Khoi will perform her autobiographical, multimedia show Bad Activist at the Pittsburgh Playhouse Sept. 15. (Hannah Phillips (Piper Creative) / (c) IFEP)

This presentation of Bad Activist is its first as a fully realized multimedia production— a tour de force in which Mai Khoi tells her remarkable story and performs with extraordinary musicianship.

Mai Khoi learned to play piano on keys drawn on a cardboard box and rose to become a huge pop star in Vietnam. She played arena concerts and was widely compared to Lady Gaga by the international press. She lived a glamorous, celebrated life. But she began to chafe under government censorship and turned her celebrity to the cause of democracy and free expression. She soon was forced to live the life of a dissident. She was surveilled, harassed, detained, interrogated, evicted from her home, and chased into hiding by the police. Her friends were questioned by the authorities. Eventually, she found her way to Pittsburgh with the help of IFEP, the University of Pittsburgh, and the City of Asylum.

For her courage in defending human rights, she has been awarded the Vaclav Havel Prize for Creative Dissent and the Franklin D. Roosevelt Four Freedoms Award for Freedom of Speech.

Mai Khoi sings at a Pittsburgh event in April 2021. (Sharon Eberson)

Bad Activist epitomizes the work of the International Free Expression Project by exalting creative expression while demanding protection for the right of all people to express themselves freely,” said Greg Victor, IFEP founder & CEO. “It is a vehicle for Mai Khoi to vividly display the exceptional courage, activism, and artistry that have made her one of the world’s leading advocates for human rights.”

“The Media Innovators Speaker Series is designed to celebrate leaders who have made significant contributions to journalism, storytelling, and free expression,” said Andrew Conte, Director of the Center for Media Innovation. “Mai Khoi is among the very best examples of that.”

For more information and tickets visit: https://playhouse.pointpark.edu/tickets/speakerSeries/performance-page1 There are both regular and VIP meet-and-greet ticketing options available.

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