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Golden Thread Announces Annual Women's Day Celebration

Golden Thread Announces Annual Women's Day Celebration

Golden Thread Productions, the first American theatre company devoted to the Middle East, presents What Do the Women Say?: Roots & Reflections, its annual celebration of International Women's Day. Rarely do audiences have access to such a rich collection of creative expression by Middle Eastern women, whose portrayal in mainstream media remains one of victimhood and silence. This year's program showcases the work of leading Middle Eastern women artists at the crossroads of tradition and experimentation. With a lineup of acclaimed artists surveying their Middle Eastern cultures, the singular evening celebrates women who reject narrowly-defined stereotypes to take ownership of their creative processes and carve out their own innovative identities.

The event features Djamila, a tribute performance of rarely-seen traditional Maghreb dance by Algerian master dance artist Amel Tafsout; an excerpt from the new feature Jaddoland by Nadia Shihab about her Iraqi Turkmen family; Zahra Noorbaksh's preview from her upcoming world premiere, On Behalf of All Muslims: A Comedy Special; and actress Nora el Samahy performing a staged reading of Yussef El Guindi's Brass Knuckles, a ReOrient 2019 teaser. After the presentations, Founding Artistic Director Torange Yeghiazarian will facilitate a conversation with the participating artists and the audience. Selected by the Food & Wine Magazine as one of 2018's Top 10 best restaurants, Reem's California will be back to sell freshly prepared Lebanese food in the lobby starting at 6pm. The full program is 100 minutes without intermission.

What Do the Women Say?: Roots & Reflections takes place on Friday, March 8, 2019 at 8pm at Brava Theater Center (2781 24th Street, San Francisco). Tickets ($15-$20) are available at No one will be turned away for lack of funds. Golden Thread is thankful for the support of our sponsors WomenArts, Brava For Women in the Arts, and Center for Iranian Diaspora Studies at San Francisco State University.

"2019 is a time of reflection. To dig up our roots and examine who we are; who we need to be," said Founding Artistic Director Torange Yeghiazarian. "Sweeping cultural shifts in the US and across the globe force us to re-evaluate our attachments and the roots that define us, to inform the path forward."

Amel Tafsout's dance performance, Djamila, is a tribute to Djamila Bouhired and Djamila Boupacha, two iconic Algerian women political activists who gained notoriety during the Algerian War of Independence for perpetrating direct violence against the French colonialists, especially during The Battle of Algiers in 1957. During the war for independence (1954-1962), thousands of women participated actively; yet, during the Algerian Civil War (1991-2002), thousands of women and girls were victims of terrorists who denied both their womanhood and their humanity. Djamila surveys the shift from women playing active roles to passive victims, asking how Algerian women, whose struggles became a hallmark of a national revolution's potential to liberate women, found themselves the target of a civil war three decades later? Accompanying Amel in Djamila are master musicians Faisal Zedan on Tabla drums and Matt Wright on Algerian Mandole.

Jaddoland explores diasporic longing and the meaning of home across generations. When the filmmaker returns to her hometown in the Texas panhandle to visit her mother, an artist from Iraq, she turns her lens to her mother's increasingly isolated life, as well as to the beauty and solace that emerge through her creative process. Soon, the filmmaker's charismatic grandfather arrives from Iraq, prompting her on a deeper search to understand her own roots and connections to the places she calls home "Jaddoland is a breath of fresh air: a film not tied down by convention or structure, it playfully and thoughtfully plumbs issues of identity, art, and belonging." -Clint Bowie, Artistic Director, New Orleans FF

After a year of development, Golden Thread Productions is proud to present the June 2019 world premiere of On Behalf of All Muslims: A Comedy Special. 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. Directed by Lisa Marie Rollins, who was one of 10 artists honored by KQED Arts' Bay Brilliant series in 2018. "Zahra's voice is an asset in the polarizing and often violent political turmoil we live in as Americans today." -W. Kamau Bell

Each year, Golden Thread Productions celebrates International Women's Day with What Do the Women Say?, which showcases the work of leading Middle Eastern women artists. Previous programs have focused on dismantling patriarchy, the resilience of Syrian women who build community through their art, and artists who explore sex and sexuality. Past featured artists include Elmaz Abinader (This House, My Bones), Majeda Al Saqqa (Culture and Free Thought Association, Gaza Strip), Anita Amirrezvani (The Blood of Flowers, Equal to the Sun), Nawal el Saadawi (Memoirs from the Women's Prison), Denmo Ibrahim (Baba, ECSTASY | a waterfable), Maryam Keshavarz (Circumstance), Rohiha Malek (Unveiled), Nabila Mango (executive director, Zawaya), Ayesha Mattau (Love Inshallah), Zahra Noorbakhsh (All Atheists are Muslim, #GoodMuslimBadMuslim), Shahrnush Parsipur (The Prison Memoirs, Women Without Men), Betty Shamieh (The Black Eyed, Territories), Deema Shehabi (Thirteen Departures From the Moon), Seema Sueko (Remains), and Rosemary Toohey (The Body Washer), and Dina Zarif. A 2014 attendee said: "Beautiful, powerful, and informative... I feel very empowered as a woman and a Muslim after attending this event."

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