10,000 BALCONIES Announced At TheatreSquared

On August 30, TheatreSquared (T2) will stage a special workshop production of 10,000 Balconies as the first offering in the Spring Theatre at T2's new home in downtown Fayetteville. This new play, conceived, created and directed by Kholoud Sawaf (director of T2's Vietgone), loosely inspired by Romeo and Juliet, is set in modern Syria. 10,000 Balconies is an intimate window into the oldest continuously-inhabited city in the world, suffused with its poetry, music, dance, and movement, and centered on a story of love in contemporary Damascus. With original music performed live by Hadi Eldebek (Yo-Yo Ma's Silk Road project ensemble) and members of the cast, 10,000 Balconies is an immersive performance experience, offered in Northwest Arkansas from August 30 until September 1. The play's three-year development-which included a series of artist-driven workshops and retreats in Northwest Arkansas and New York-and public performances were made possible by a major grant from the Building Bridges Program of the Doris Duke Foundation for Islamic Art.

Ticket-holders are invited to artist engagement opportunities before and after the performances, including a workshop with musician Hadi Eldebek at Fayetteville Public Library on the afternoon of August 20 and a conversation and preview of music from the show that evening in a public artists' forum in the Walker Community Room, which will be broadcast to the region on NPR affiliate KUAF. Performances on 8/30 and 8/31 will include the opportunity to take part in a post-show conversation facilitated by Andrea Assaf, a writer, performer, director and cultural organizer who is founding artistic and executive director of Art2Action Inc.

Due to the immersive nature of this performance, seating is limited. The workshop production is scheduled for four performances: Friday August 30 at 8pm; Saturday August 31 at 2:30pm and 8pm; and Sunday, September 1st at 2:30pm. Tickets are available at theatre2.org.

The cast and creative team for 10,000 Balconies is led by creator and director Kholoud Sawaf; co-deviser, dramaturg, and assistant director Laura Shatkus; and composer and musician Hadi Eldebek. The cast includes Ali Andre Ali, Mohamad Alrifay, Waseem Alzer, Noor Hamdi, Victoria Nassif, Anton Obeid, Sadieh Rifai, and Najat Arkadan Washington. The creative team also includes Kim Powers, scenic design; Sam Burrow, costume coordination; Emily Clarkson, lighting design; Asia-Anansi McCallum, sound design; Megan Reilly, projection design; and Ramzi El-edilbi, musician and choreographer.

Kholoud Sawaf, adapter and director, has been artist-in-residence with TheatreSquared since 2015. Born and raised in Damascus, Syria, she has worked in theatre and television in Syria, Lebanon, United Arab Emirates, Qatar, and the United States. She directed T2's production of Vietgone, and was instrumental in the company's three-year grant award in support of the development of 10,000 Balconies from the Doris Duke Foundation for Islamic Art in 2016. She is a recipient of the 2017 Classical Directing Fellowship from the Drama League in New York. Most recently, she assistant directed Vietgone at the Manhattan Theatre Club (Jonathan Alper Directing Fellow) and at Oregon Shakespeare Festival, both under the direction of May Adrales. For TheatreSquared, she has also assistant directed eight plays including The Spiritualist, Great Expectations, Hamlet, All The Way, and Peter and the Starcatcher. Her upcoming projects include collaborating on a new piece, 12 Million Footsteps, with award-winning playwright/director Joe Calarco. She is an associate member with Stage Directors and Choreographers Society (SDC), and a member with Nhna Cultural Club in Damascus, Syria.

The presentation and three-year development of 10,000 Balconies is made possible through a $250,000 grant from the Doris Duke Foundation for Islamic Art Building Bridges Program. This mission of the Doris Duke Foundation for Islamic Art's Building Bridges Program is to advance relationships, increase understanding and reduce bias between Muslim and non-Muslim communities.

Additional support for student engagement with the production of 10,000 Balconies is provided by the King Fahd Center for Middle East Studies at the University of Arkansas, a program of the Fulbright College of Arts & Sciences.

Performances on 8/30 and 8/31 will include the opportunity to take part in a post-show conversation facilitated by Andrea Assaf, a writer, performer, director and cultural organizer who is founding artistic and executive director of Art2Action Inc. To learn more about Art2Action, visit art2action.org.



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