Meet our Mandalay-based team
U Than Aung, known professionally as Saya Lei
U Than Aung is lead instructor for the Arts Mandalay Summer School and advisor on curriculum and planning for the Inwa School of Performing Arts. Formerly he was a senior teacher at the Mandalay State School of Performing Arts (Pantra).
Saya Lei is widely acknowledged as one of the greatest living authorities on the history of Myanmar dance and music. He has taught many hundred of students over a career of 50 years, many of whom comprise the top professional performers in the country. He is widely consulted by government and local authorities on special performance and teaching methods.
U Ohn Maung
U Ohn Maung is a senior advisor and former director of the Mintha Theater , a repertoire performance venue co-founded with Daniel Ehrlich in 2006. He designed choreography, musical scores, and costumes for more than a dozen set pieces showcasing Myanmar dance, acrobatics, and iconic Myanmar musical performance for the theater.
Before founding the Mintha Theater, he was a principal performer for the famed Mandalay Marionettes. He is on the Board of the Myanmar Marionettes Association and is one of the last remaining makers of professional-quality marionettes using the methods developed over hundreds of years of Myanmar history.
"Many young people from the countryside are deeply interested but have nowhere to learn our performing arts. Many are very talented." -- Ohn Maung, Mandalay, 2014
Daw Htay Htay
Daw Htay Htay was named Principal of Inwa School in 2019 with responsibility for overall quality and development of Inwa School.
Prior to joining Inwa School, Daw Htay Htay earned her bachelors degree at Myan University and spent twelve years working at Phaung Daw Oo Monastic School in various pedagogic and development capacities. Htay Htay led the English language department including curriculum creation and teacher training, and guided a major e-learning initiative for digitizing content for extension to students outside the range of the school.
"I believe that teaching young children is like building a foundation to support a house," she says. She is a music lover and a lifelong learner.
U Aung Kyaw Htun
U Aung Kyaw Htun is General Manager of Inwa School. Htun Htun has led Inwa School development from its inception, taking on a full range of responsibilities from school construction to staffing, recruitment, overseas exchange programs, grant management, arts community relations and general oversight of Inwa School and Mintha theater.
Htun Htun grew up with the Pwe as a mesmerizing web of myths, morality lessons, comedy and history that integrated children naturally into Myanmar civilization. He learned to play the guitar as a teenager, and followed his heart to the Pwe, where he performed for two decades. He wants his children and theirs to grow up with vibrant connections to a living arts culture.
"It's the right time to save our culture" -- Aung Kyaw Tun, June 19, 2015
U Maung Ko
U Maung Ko is Operations Manager of Arts Mandalay Foundation. Maung Ko was principle organizer for the Backstage Mandalay book. He has extensive experience in problem-solving and regional transportation, and is responsible for logistics and operational support in the Mandalay area.
Inwa School of Performing Arts Faculty
Daw Khin Win Ngwe
Daw Khin Win Ngwe won national fame in the 1960s as a beloved star of the Pwe. For love of her art, sha agreed to come back from retirement to teach at Inwa School in 2018. Her goal is to save the high standards of excellence that she knew as a student and as a performer. She is the disciple of the founder of the Kabya Lut style of professional dance instruction.
U Kyaw Win
U Kyaw Win is a master teacher at the Inwa School of Performing Arts with a lifetime of knowledge from his performance career. He is one of the few remaining instructors steeped in the comprehensive Mandalay Pantra teaching curriculum, and is working with Saya Lei to document the famed dance training methods developed in Mandalay in the 1950s, to preserve them as a national treasure.
Sayama Myint Myat Ti
Sayama Myint Myat Ti is a graduate of the Pantra School. She came to the Inwa School to teach singing and dance fundamentals after a full career as a performing artist.
Pantra Saya Soe Thu
Saya Soe Thu earned the title "Pantra" as a distinguished graduate of the state Pantra School. He is an ongoing stage performer and came to teach part-time at the Inwa School because he cares deeply about preserving the quality of Myanmar theater.