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Golden Thread Productions Commissions New Work Based On Life Of Alaa Abd El-Fattah

Elsayigh and Zohdi will work together on the development of the piece, which will honor the story of Abd El-Fattah.

Golden Thread Productions Commissions New Work Based On
Life Of Alaa Abd El-Fattah

Golden Thread Productions, the first American theatre company devoted to the Middle East, commissions playwright Adam Ashraf Elsayigh and dramaturg Salma Zohdi to write ALAA, a new play based on the life of British-Egyptian blogger and high profile political prisoner, Alaa Abd El-Fattah, one of the Egyptian Revolution's leading youth voices, thanks to the generous support of Gerbode Foundation's Special Awards in the Arts.

Elsayigh and Zohdi will work together on the development of the piece, which will honor the story of Abd El-Fattah, who has spent much of the last decade and remains to this day in Cairo prisons. Abd El-Fattah continues to write today, while on hunger strike, from his confinement smuggling treatises to the outside world. Elsayigh's Alaa will invite audiences into a world that juxtaposes physical storytelling and embodied ritual with Abd El-Fattah's words from his recently-anthologized writings.

For more than two decades, Golden Thread Productions has been creating space for stories that are rarely told on the U.S. stages while centering the stories on those with lived experiences. Executive Artistic Director Sahar Assaf, says, "Alaa is a project that directly responds to our mission. In a world where freedom of speech is still debatable, and in a country where some have more rights than others, the story of Alaa Abd El-Fattah and his struggle for freedom is a story that matters to all of us." Assaf, who directed the world premiere of Elsayigh's Drowning in Cairo earlier this year, adds, "Adam Ashraf Elsayigh's plays tell the kind of stories that Golden Thread seeks to tell - stories that through their specificity shed light on our shared humanity. We recognize in him a talent that makes valuable contributions to the U.S. theatre scene today, and a unique artistic voice that must be nurtured and supported. Receiving this grant from the Gerbode Foundation is transformative as it will allow Elsayigh and Zohdi to finesse and hone the dramaturgy and theatrical vocabulary needed for this piece leading up to the world premiere."

Playwright Adam Ashraf Elsayigh shared, "at a time where our field at large, and institutions centering development, in particular, are threatened by the scarcity of resources, this partnership is incredibly meaningful as an emerging playwright. I am particularly grateful to be collaborating with Golden Thread, an institution with values and a politically specific mission, deeply aligned with my own, a collaboration which wouldn't be possible without the generous and sustained support of the Gerbode Foundation."

Dramaturg Salma Zohdi adds, "as Egyptian immigrants, theatre-makers who aim to employ our artistry to affect change, we hope this play elevates momentum for Alaa's case on the international stage. This is a critical time for Alaa because he's been on a hunger strike for more than 200 days now. Time is of the essence, and now more than ever is the time to stand in solidarity with Alaa, uplift his voice, and celebrate his struggle and value for human rights, democracy, and freedom. With this commission, we hope to do our small part in sharing his story with a wider audience- a story that is not only specific to Egyptians, or my generation, but a story of freedom that should matter to (and inspire) all of us. The support of both Golden Thread Productions and the Gerbode Foundation will not only help Alaa's inspirational story come to life but will also allow us as artists to work on a project that is deeply rooted in our aligned value of utilizing the power of storytelling as a social justice tool. We are honored to start embarking on this creative journey together."

Golden Thread Productions, founded in 1996, is the first American theatre company devoted to the Middle East. We produce passionate and provocative plays from or about the Middle East that celebrate the multiplicity of its perspectives and identities. We are a developmental catalyst and vibrant artistic home to artists at various stages of their careers. We bring the Middle East to the American stage, creating treasured cultural experiences for audiences of all ages and backgrounds.




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