Golden Thread Announces 2019 Season Of Courageous Storytelling

Golden Thread Announces 2019 Season Of Courageous Storytelling

Golden Thread Productions, the first American theatre company devoted to the Middle East, presents a season of new work highlighting rarely seen perspectives. The 2019 mainstage season begins with the U.S. premiere of Palestinian-Irish playwright Hannah's Khalil's critically acclaimed Scenes from 71* Years (April 5 May 5, 2019). An epic snapshot of Palestinian life since 1948, Scenes is directed by celebrated Arab-American scholar Michael Malek Najjar and features Bay Area Palestinian actors in the nine-member cast.

The second show of the season is the world premiere of On Behalf of All Muslims, a Comedy Special (June 21 and 22, 2019) by Iranian-American comedian Zahra Noorbakhsh, who has been featured in NPR and the New York Times. In her signature inquisitive and unapologetic comedic style, the co-host of the #GoodMuslimBadMuslim podcast challenges misconceptions about Muslims while sharing stories of growing up Muslim in California. The production is presented in association with Brava! for Women in the Arts, and is directed by Lisa Marie Rollins, who was just honored by KQED's Bay Brilliant, and dramaturged by Golden Thread Resident Artist Nakissa Etemad.

2019 Season concludes with the 20th anniversary of ReOrient Festival of Short Plays (October 18 November 17, 2019), Golden Thread's hallmark event. This year's line-up of seven short plays, presented as an evening of theatre, includes new plays by Egyptian-American playwright Yussef El Guindi, Iraqi-British writer and actor Rendah Heywood, Noor Theatre Founding Artistic Director Lameece Issaq, Turkish-Kurdish writer and filmmaker Mustafa Kaymak, Bay Area-based Palestinian-American playwright Betty Shamieh, local Iranian-American writer Niku Sharei, and MacArthur Fellow and celebrated playwright Naomi Wallace. Selected from 108 submissions from 13 countries, these plays are diverse in content and style, highlighting the multiplicity of Middle Eastern perspectives and identities. The plays will be directed by Michael French, Rebecca Novick, Lisa Marie Rollins, and Torange Yeghiazarian. Golden Thread will host a national convening of Middle Eastern theatre artists during the ReOrient Festival on November 9 and 10. The 3 Show Pass ($75) offers the best value and priority access to our 2019 Season with one ticket to each of the three mainstage productions at a 25% discount.

Additional 2019 Season presentations include Golden Thread's annual celebration of International Women's Day. What Do the Women Say? (March 8, 2019) returns to San Francisco's Brava Theater Center. This year's theme is Roots & Reflections, and the program showcases the Middle Eastern female artists working at the crossroads of tradition and experimentation. Also at Brava is audience-favorite New Threads 2019 (Tuesdays in August, 2019), Golden Thread's annual staged reading series, which introduces four new plays from or about the Middle East to Bay Area audiences. Find out more about Golden Thread and its 2019 Season at goldenthread.org/2019-Season.

When I reflect on this year's eclectic array of theatrical presentations, I'm struck by the breathtakingly diverse, provocative, and courageous storytelling. said Founding Artistic Director Torange Yeghiazarian, who founded Golden Thread in 1996. Women's voices loom large this year, from Hannah Khalil to Zahra Noorbakhsh, as well as the powerful women narratives featured in ReOrient Festival. These often controversial narratives are rarely seen elsewhere, and we're thrilled to give these artists an artistic home here in San Francisco.

Golden Thread Productions is the first American theatre company devoted to the Middle East and its global diaspora. For more than 20 years, Golden Thread has produced plays and events that represent excellence, defy stereotypes, and celebrate the multiplicity of perspectives and identities from the Middle East. The company has become an essential hub for artistic activism, supports challenging conversations, and champions representation and inclusion locally and nationally. In its 23 years, Golden Thread has premiered more than 100 new plays from or about the Middle East, including seven original plays for young audiences based on Middle Eastern folktales, and has employed more than 1,000 artists, many from underrepresented communities. Golden Thread has served nearly 50,000 audience members, with more than 40% self-identifying as Middle Eastern. Golden Thread has been recognized in twice by American Theatre Wing, the producers of the Tony Awards, by the City of San Francisco in honor of our 20th anniversary, and was featured in the ABC 7 Bay Area's Profiles of Excellence. Artistic Director Torange Yeghiazarian has been recognized by Theatre Bay Area and is one of Theatre Communication Group's Legacy Leaders of Color. She was honored by the Cairo International Theatre Festival (2016) and the Symposium on Equity in the Entertainment Industry at Stanford University (2017).

2019 SEASON

U.S. Premiere

SCENES FROM 71 YEARS

by Hannah Khalil
directed by Michael Malek Najjar

An epic snapshot of Palestinian life under occupation


A picnic interrupted by soldiers. Never-ending lines. Sunbathing in the shadow of a tank. Palestinian-Irish playwright Hannah Khalil draws from stories of family and friends to reveal the real human story: the dreams, comedy, sadness, and frustrations of daily life in the shadow of the 'separation wall.' The cast includes members of the Bay Area Palestinian community.

April 5 May 5, 2019
Potrero Stage (1695 18th Street, San Francisco)

An exceptional play wickedly funny and heartbreaking. The Stage

World Premiere

ON BEHALF OF ALL MUSLIMS, a Comedy Special

by Zahra Noorbakhsh
directed by Lisa Marie Rollins
dramaturgy by Nakissa Etemad
presented in association with Brava for Women in the Arts

The comedy special you've been waiting for or not!


Following a year of development, Iranian-American comedian Zahra Noorbakhsh is ready to speak on behalf of all Muslims to set the record straight on all the important issues. Zahra will share personal stories and offer profound observations in her signature inquisitive and unapologetic comedic style. There's going to be so much educating. We promise! Directed by Lisa Marie Rollins, who was one of 10 artists honored by KQED Arts's Bay Brilliant series in 2018.

June 21 and 22, 2019
Brava Theater Center (2781 24th Street, San Francisco)

Zahra's voice is an asset in the polarizing and often violent political turmoil we live in as Americans today. W. Kamau Bell

Seven short plays.
One unforgettable evening.

REORIENT 2019 FESTIVAL OF SHORT PLAYS

featuring plays by Yussef El Guindi, Rendah Heywood, Lameece Issaq, Mustafa Kaymak, Betty Shamieh, Niku Sharei, and Naomi Wallace
directed by Michael French, Rebecca Novick, Lisa Marie Rollins, and Torange Yeghiazarian

Think you know the Middle East? Think again!


2019 marks the 20th anniversary of this innovative and spirited festival of short plays from or about the Middle East. The line-up includes playwrights with longtime association with Golden Thread: Egyptian-American playwright Yussef El Guindi, Bay Area-based Palestinian-American playwright Betty Shamieh, and MacArthur Fellow and celebrated playwright Naomi Wallace. Joining these writers are four newcomers to the festival: Iraqi-British writer and actor Rendah Heywood, Noor Theatre Founding Artistic Director Lameece Issaq, Turkish-Kurdish writer and filmmaker Mustafa Kaymak, and local Iranian-American writer Niku Sharei. Selected from 108 submissions from 13 countries, the seven short plays are diverse in content and style, highlighting the multiplicity of Middle Eastern perspectives and identities.

October 18 November 17, 2019
Potrero Stage (1695 18th Street, San Francisco)

Humanity is at the core of ReOrient. If theatre is community, it starts here. If the goal of theatre is to expand our viewpoint, to enrich our knowledge, and to embrace empathy, then ReOrient hugely succeeds. Stark Insider

WHAT DO THE WOMEN SAY? 2019: Roots & Reflections


Our annual celebration of International Women's Day


Roots & Reflections showcases the work of leading Middle Eastern women artists working at the crossroads of tradition and experimentation: filmmaker Nadia Shihab will present an excerpt of her new feature JaddoLand about her Iraqi Turkmen family, Nora el Samahy will perform Brass Knuckles by Yussef El Guindi, to be featured in ReOrient 2019; Algerian dancer Amel Tafsout will perform traditional Maghreb dance, and standup comedian Zahra Noorbakhsh will share excerpts from her upcoming world premiere On Behalf of All Muslims. After the presentations, Founding Artistic Director Torange Yeghiazarian will facilitate a conversation with the participating artists and the audience. Reem's Bakery will sell food in the lobby starting at 6pm.

Friday, March 8, 2019 at 8pm
Brava Theater Center (2781 24th Street, San Francisco)

I loved the amazing stories of women whose voices are not always given a platform.

What Do the Women Say? 2018 Audience member

NEW THREADS 2019 STAGED READING SERIES


Four new plays. Four singular voices.


Golden Thread's popular staged reading series returns, introducing four new plays to the Bay Area. We invite you to laugh, cry, and think alongside these beautiful stories from and about the Middle East! Each play is teeming with unexpected humor, surprising characters, and important questions about the world we live in today. Join the creative process of a new play and discover brilliant gems never before seen in the Bay Area.


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