Know Theatre to Present WE WILL RISE: SELECTIONS FROM AFGHAN WOMEN'S WRITING PROJECT, 3/7-8
Know Theatre is pleased to announce our next production, We Will Rise: Selections from The Afghan Women's Writing Project. This staged reading will again be a very limited run with performances on March 7, 2014 at 8 pm and March 8, 2014 at 3 pm and 8 pm in the Harriet Tubman Theater at the National Underground Railroad Freedom Center.
The Afghan Women's Writing Project was founded on the principle that to tell one's story is a human right. It gives a voice to the voiceless by providing training, education, and an outlet for Afghan women to share their stories directly with the world, in their own words, and most importantly free from the filters of male relatives and media.
These women have been told their stories do not matter. They have frequently been forced into silence. And yet many of these women have risked their lives to tell their stories.
In Honor of Women's History Month, Know Theatre is proud to present a selection of writings from some of these courageous women, translated to the stage. Performances will be held at the National Underground Railroad Freedom Center.
In the Fall of 2011, Know Theatre commissioned playwrights Elizabeth Martin & Lauren Hynek to curate a performance piece from the writings available on the project website (www.awwproject.org). The result was a sold out limited-run of the production in the spring of 2012. Producing Artistic Director, Eric Vosmeier, says "For this remounted production of the Afghan Women's Writing Project, we are thrilled to be partnering with the National Underground Railroad Freedom Center. This partnership has been a long time in the making and we couldn't be happier to be working with them on this production while we plan future collaborations."
President of the National Underground Railroad Freedom Center, Clarence G Newsome adds, "The National Underground Railroad Freedom Center is proud to partner with Know Theatre to bring the stories of these courageous women to light. We invite you to come and experience these freedom heroes for yourselves, and leave inspired to carry the banner of freedom for those who can't carry it for themselves".
AWWP's mission is to empower Afghan women to share their voices with the world. Despite deteriorating security, women in Afghanistan - determined to tell their own stories - gather online and in "writing huts" in undisclosed locations in Kabul and Herat to receive mentoring from American women authors and professors, and to participate in writing workshops and reading salons. AWWP's online magazine is the vehicle through which their stories are shared. The project also aims to promote greater economic independence for these women by strengthening their self-confidence, computer literacy and writing skills, and to encourage the inclusion of women's voices in Afghanistan's national dialogue. The project reaches out to talented and generous women author/teachers here in the United States and engages them, on a volunteer, rotating basis, to teach Afghan women online from Afghanistan. The goal of the project is to encourage the women to develop their voices and share their stories, something that was not permitted during the years when Afghanistan was Taliban-held.
"When I stumbled upon a review of the first staged performance of these pieces I was intrigued by the concept," says Vosmeier. "Once I spent some time on the site, I knew I wanted our audiences to hear these women and I immediately conceived a partnership with the Freedom Center. The stories are touching and horrifying, funny and thoughtful. They are inspiring in so many ways and when you realize that some of the writers put their lives in danger just to write, you know that these stories deserve to be heard by as many people as possible."
This season, tickets are $15 in advance and $20 the week of the performance (beginning Monday March 3 at noon). Season subscription six-show flexible passes are available for $90 and guarantees the advance ticket price all season long. Tickets can be purchased by visiting knowtheatre.com or by calling the box office at 513.300.KNOW (5669).
The Afghan Women's Writing Project began as an idea during novelist Masha Hamilton's last trip to Afghanistan in November 2008. Masha first visited the country in 2004, and was awed and inspired by the resolute courage of the women she met. When she returned, she saw doors were closing and life was again becoming more difficult, especially for women. She began to fear we could lose access to the voices of Afghan women if we didn't act soon. The Afghan Women's Writing Project is aimed at allowing Afghan women to have a direct voice in the world, not filtered through male relatives or members of the media. Many of these Afghan women have to make extreme efforts to gain computer access in order to secretly submit their writings, in English, to the project.