October 18, 2019 - November 17, 2019
ReOrient 2019 will celebrate the 20th anniversary of this innovative and spirited festival of short plays from or about the Middle East. The line-up includes playwrights with longtime association with Golden Thread: Egyptian-American playwright Yussef El Guindi, Bay Area-based Palestinian-American playwright Betty Shamieh, and MacArthur Fellow and celebrated playwright Naomi Wallace. Joining these writers are four newcomers to the festival: Iraqi-British writer and actor Rendah Heywood, Noor Theatre Founding Artistic Director Lameece Issaq, Turkish-Kurdish writer and filmmaker Mustafa Kaymak, and local Iranian-American writer Niku Sharei. 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.
“Humanity is at the core of ReOrient. If theatre is community, it starts here. If the goal of theatre is to expand our viewpoint, to enrich our knowledge, and to embrace empathy, then ReOrient hugely succeeds.” —Stark Insider
June 21, 2019 - June 22, 2019
Zahra Noorbakhsh flies in from Planet Islam, home of the Muslim world, to speak on behalf of her people, all 1.8 whoever-billion of them. Growing up, Zahra’s never felt like enough of anything to be speaking on behalf of anyone, and most days she doesn’t even feel smart enough to be Muslim! But that’s precisely why she’s got this show. In her 15-year career in stand-up, she’s been a walking Q&A. So, for two nights in June, she’s taking the stage to definitively answer the questions that she has. In her signature inquisitive and unapologetic style, Zahra takes us on an adventure you can’t afford to miss.
Following two years of development, Iranian American comedian and co-host of internationally acclaimed podcast, #GoodMuslimBadMuslim – a “must listen” by Oprah Magazine – Zahra will perform the world premiere of her hour-long comedy special. Directed by Lisa Marie Rollins, one of 10 artists honored by KQED Arts’s Bay Brilliant series in 2018, and dramaturgy by Award-winning Iranian American dramaturg, Nakissa Etemad.
April 5, 2019 - May 5, 2019
A picnic interrupted by soldiers. Never-ending lines. Sunbathing in the shadow of a tank. Palestinian-Irish playwright Hannah Khalil draws from stories of family and friends to reveal the real human story: the dreams, comedy, sadness, and frustrations of daily life in the shadow of the ‘separation wall.’ The cast includes members of the Bay Area Palestinian community.
March 8, 2019 - January 10, 2020
Roots & Reflections showcases leading Middle Eastern women artists working at the crossroads of tradition and experimentation: master contemporary Maghreb dance artist Amel Tafsout will perform; stand-up comedian Zahra Noorbakhsh will share excerpts from her upcoming world premiere On Behalf of All Muslims, a Comedy Special; filmmaker Nadia Shihab will present an excerpt of her new feature JaddoLand about her Iraqi Turkmen family; and Golden Thread Resident Artist Nora El Samahy will perform Brass Knuckles by Yussef El Guindi, to be featured in ReOrient 2019. After the presentations, Founding Artistic Director Torange Yeghiazarian will facilitate a conversation with the participating artists and the audience.