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Golden Thread's Annual Celebration of International Women's Day is Dedicated to Syria

Golden Thread Productions, the first American theatre company devoted to the Middle East, presents Syria Mon Amour: Food, Home, and Healing, this year's edition of What Do the Women Say?, its annual celebration of International Women's Day. Featuring women artists of Middle Eastern descent, the event is dedicated to Syria and the Syrian people. Two extraordinary works of art created by Middle Eastern artists responding to the Syrian refugee crisis anchor the event: an excerpt reading of Oh My Sweet Land, a tour-de-force solo show based on interviews with Syrian refugees in Jordan, and an excerpt from the documentary film We Are Not Princesses, which centers on Antigone of Syria, a 2014 drama workshop and performance featuring 35 Syrian women refugees in Lebanon.

The event also features music by vocalist Dina Zarif accompanied by harpist Amelia Romano, and food will be available for purchase from Reem's, which serves traditional Arab street food made with California love. Founding artistic director Torange Yeghiazarian will lead a conversation and audience Q&A with artists Nora el Samahy (Egyptian-American actress of Oh My Sweet Land), Sara Maamouri(Tunisian-American editor of We Are Not Princesses), Iranian-American vocalist Dina Zarif, and Syrian- Palestinian-American chef Reem Assil. A portion of the proceeds will benefit International Rescue Committee Oakland, which provides essential services to refugees in the Bay Area.

Syria Mon Amour takes place on Wednesday, March 8, 2017 at 8pm at Brava Theater Center (2781 24th Street, San Francisco). Tickets ($15-$20) are available at goldenthread.org. No one will be turned away for lack of funds. What Do the Women Say? is a SWAN Day event and is sponsored by WomenArts.

"Every day I am inspired by the resiliency of the Syrian people - in particular the women who are the core of the community. They continue to make a life despite horrific realities and debilitating living conditions," said Founding Artistic Director Torange Yeghiazarian. "The works and artists presented in this year's program examine the idea of home and possibly even recreate it through their artistic work; work that heals and feeds the soul, literally or figuratively. It is deeply inspiring."

Oh My Sweet Land is a solo show created by Palestinian writer Amir Nizar Zuabi, founder of Haifa-based theatre company ShiberHu, and German-Syrian actor Corrinne Jaber. Featuring Nora el Samahy and directed by Torange Yeghiazarian, this urgent and extraordinary show explores the crisis in Syria through one woman's fictional story based on interviews with hundreds of Syrian refugees in Jordan. The play is set in a kitchen and performed as the actor prepares the Syrian delicacy, kibbeh. A presentation of the play will tour Bay Area kitchens in the fall as part of Golden Thread's 2017 Season.

Documentary film We Are Not Princesses by Bridgette Auger and Itab Azzam centers on an eight-week drama workshop attended by 35 Syrian women in refugee camps in Lebanon. The workshops culminated in three performances of the resulting play Antigone of Syria at Al Madina Theatre in Hamra, Beirut in December 2014.

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 artists that build community through their art, activism by women artists, artists who explore sex and sexuality, and female solo performers. Previous 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). A 2014 attendee said: "Beautiful, powerful, and informative... I feel very empowered as a woman and a Muslim after attending this event." goldenthread.org/programs/women


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