The Davis Performing Arts Center and the Laboratory for Global Performance and Politics at Georgetown University, a joint initiative between the Theater and Performance Studies Program and the School of Foreign Service, are pleased to announce that they will present MYRIAD VOICES: A CROSS-CULTURAL PERFORMANCE FESTIVAL. This series of performances from leading artists around the world will be accompanied by convenings, public forums, interdisciplinary courses, and the creation of new work. Georgetown is one of six campuses nationwide to receive a competitive grant from the Association of Performing Arts Presenters (APAP), funded by the Doris Duke Charitable Foundation and the Doris Duke Foundation for Islamic Art. This two-year Festival is part of the Building Bridges Campus Community Engagement Program - Expanding Awareness and Understanding about Muslim Societies through the Performing Arts.

The Festival will officially open with the historic U.S. premiere of Syria: The Trojan Women, and will feature an international group of core artists, including Shahid Nadeem (Founder/Director, Ajoka Theatre, Lahore); Heather Raffo, (Iraqi-American playwright and performer); Ali Mahdi (Founding Director, Al-Buggaa Theatre, Sudan; UNESCO Artist for Peace), Joanna Sherman (Artistic Director, Bond Street Theatre) and Jamil Khoury (Artistic Director, Silk Road Rising, Chicago), whose work engages with Syria, the Sudan, Iraq, Pakistan, Iran, Afghanistan, Egypt, the U.S., and more.

Scott Stoner, Director of Programs and Resources at APAP, says "We believe the existing collaboration between the Davis Performing Arts Center, the Theater and Performance Studies Program, and the School of Foreign Service provides an extraordinary platform upon which to achieve the basic goals of the Building Bridges grants program - to increase knowledge and deepen understanding about Muslim societies through the lens of arts and culture."

Professor Derek Goldman, Artistic Director of the Davis Performing Arts Center and Co-Director of the Laboratory for Global Performance and Politics, notes, "We are deeply honored to be recipients of this Building Bridges grant, which enables us to build upon our sustained commitment to integrating cutting-edge global performance and urgent policy conversations, while addressing the compelling need to foster understanding about the diversity and complexity of Muslim Societies. Working with an extraordinary group of core artists who are collaborating to shape the critical questions and agenda for this work, we look forward to two years filled with both transformative experiences for audiences, and impactful conversations for students, policymakers, scholars, artists, and the wider public. "

The project seeks to expand the Georgetown and D.C. communities' knowledge and experience of Muslims - their faith, history, politics, and culture, to convey the diversity of Muslim populations, and to expose and call into question prevalent stereotypes. The Festival will engage students and audiences in compelling performances, involve students directly in creating new works in dialogue with leading artists from around the world, and make these performances a springboard for interdisciplinary dialogue that bridges performance, politics, and society.

Cynthia Schneider, Distinguished Professor in the Practice of Diplomacy and Co-Director of the Laboratory for Global Performance and Politics says, "Artists hold up a mirror to society and politics, and so provide different perspectives from the political and policy focus that dominates Washington. Artists challenge conventional thinking. Our visiting artists and collaborative projects involving the Georgetown community will shed new light on the people of Syria, Pakistan, Iraq, the Sudan, among other Muslim majority countries, and will provoke stimulating conversations around challenging issues."

A Reception and Short Program will be held to celebrate and announce the launch of MYRIAD VOICES on Monday, March 24 from 5-7 p.m. in historic Riggs Library in the Healy Building on Georgetown's main campus. The event will feature presentations from the project's Core Artists and Lab co-directors, Professors Derek Goldman and Cynthia Schneider, along with student performances of excerpts from the narratives of Syrian Refugees.

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