The 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 becomes 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. ReOrient welcomes artists who challenge the dominant depictions of the Middle East and audiences who seek unconventional and provocative programming. It has served as a springboard for the careers of top Middle Eastern-American playwrights such as Yussef El Guindi and Betty Shamieh, and has 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, and has included premieres by distinguished American playwrights such as Naomi Wallace, Eric Ehn and Israel Horovitz.
Since 2009, in celebration of the tenth anniversary of the festival, Golden Thread has organized the ReOrient Forum, a convening in San Francisco aimed at expanding the dialogue on theatre, the Middle East, and current hot topics that illuminate the region’s relationship with the US. Artists from across the globe (US, England, Canada, Argentina, Korea, Iran, Israel, Palestine, Egypt, Armenia, Syria, Turkey) have participated in person or via the internet.