ReOrient 2019 Festival Playwrights Announced

ReOrient 2019 Festival Playwrights AnnouncedGolden Thread Productions, the first American theatre company devoted to the Middle East, is proud to announce the seven plays for its prestigious ReOrient 2019 Festival of Short Plays celebrating its 20th anniversary.

The 2019 line-up includes playwrights with longtime association with Golden Thread: Egyptian-American playwright Yussef El Guindi (Brass Knuckles), Bay Area-based Palestinian-American playwright Betty Shamieh (An Echo of Laughter), and MacArthur Fellow and celebrated playwright Naomi Wallace (The Book of Mima). Joining these writers are four newcomers to the festival: Iraqi-American writer and actor Rendah Heywood (The Grievance Club), Noor Theatre Founding Artistic Director Lameece Issaq (Noor and Hadi Go to Hogwarts), Turkish-Kurdish writer and filmmaker Mustafa Kaymak (The Basement), and local Iranian-American writer Niku Sharei (In Spenglic).

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. The ReOrient 2019 Festival of Short Plays will present the seven plays as an evening of theatre on October 18-November 17, 2019 at Potrero Stage in San Francisco. On November 9 and 10, Golden Thread will host a national gathering of Middle Eastern American artists. For more information, please visit

In addition, six playwrights of Middle Eastern descent received Honorable Mentions: Hassan Abdulrazzak (The Tune is Always Better on the Other Side), Adam Ashraf El-Sayigh (The Bug), Hannah Khalil (The Yellow Coat), Nabra Nelson (Induced Labor), William Mohammad Razavi (Wenceslaus Square), and Edessa Tailo (Bullseye).

Founding Artistic Director Torange Yeghiazarian says: "This year, we received the highest number of submissions ever for ReOrient, and the caliber of the writing was exceptional. As we approach the 20th anniversary of this festival, I'm thrilled to find our artistic community both responsive to news headlines and aesthetically subversive. We can all use a strong dose of reorienting, particularly as it concerns our relationship to the Middle East and its growing immigrant population in the U.S."

The selection committee for ReOrient 2019 included Nora el Samahy (Actor), Rebecca Novick (Director), Handan Ozbilgin (Associate Artistic Director, LaGuardia Performing Arts Center), and Roberto Gutierrez Varea (Professor, University of San Francisco, Performing Arts and Social Justice Program). Golden Thread Founding Artistic Director Torange Yeghiazarian, Director of New Plays Evren Odcikin, and Literary Associate Hala Baki were also part of the committee.

ReOrient Festival of Short Plays was inaugurated in 1999 to present alternative perspectives of the Middle East and to showcase the multiplicity of stories, voices, and styles from the region and has since become Golden Thread's most recognized and celebrated program. This ambitious festival, now presented biennially, turns San Francisco into a mecca for innovative, spirited, and thought-provoking theatre from and about the Middle East. In the last 20 years, it has presented 89 plays by 59 playwrights and translators. ReOrient serves as a showcase for the work of leading Middle Eastern-American writers like Yussef El Guindi, Mona Mansour, and Betty Shamieh, while helping launch careers of emerging talent from Middle Eastern communities. The festival has also introduced Bay Area audiences to significant and rarely-produced dramatic works from the Middle East by authors such as Sadegh Hedayat, Fatma Gallaire, and Tawfiq Al-Hakim. Alongside Middle Eastern voices, ReOrient also features the work of non-Middle Eastern playwrights exploring the region, and has included premieres by such distinguished American Playwrights such as Naomi Wallace, Eric Ehn, and Israel Horovitz.

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 career. We bring the Middle East to the American stage, creating treasured cultural experiences for audiences of all ages and backgrounds.

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