fbpx Fourth Annual Convening of the Middle Eastern North African Theater Makers Alliance (MENATMA) | HowlRound Theatre Commons

Livestreamed on this page on Saturday 28 October and Sunday 29 October 2023.

San Francisco, CA
Saturday 28 October and Sunday 29 October 2023

Fourth Annual Convening of the Middle Eastern North African Theater Makers Alliance (MENATMA)

Conversations About the Present and Future of Middle Eastern and North African (MENA) Theatre

Produced With
Saturday 28 October and Sunday 29 October 2023

Golden Thread Productions and Art2Action, Inc. were thrilled to co-produce and co-present the fourth annual convening of the Middle Eastern North African Theater Makers Alliance (MENATMA) which livestreamed on the global, commons-based, peer-produced HowlRound TV network on Saturday 28 October and Sunday 29 October 2023.

The convening was hosted at Golden Thread’s ReOrient Festival of Short Plays in San Francisco.

This year’s convening was co-sponsored by Silk Road Rising, Noor Theatre, New Arab American Theater Works, Diaspora Arts Connection, and Theatre Communications Group's THRIVE! Program. The convening was made possible in part by generous support from the Ford Foundation.


Saturday 28 October

Convening Opening: MENA Theatre Advocacy Today

11:30 a.m. - 12 p.m. PDT (San Francisco, UTC -7) / 2:30 p.m. - 3 p.m. EDT (New York, UTC -4)
Welcome by Golden Thread executive artistic director Sahar Assaf, followed by Opening Remarks by Andrea Assaf and Torange Yeghiazarian on behalf of the MENATMA founding board.


Sustainability & Self-Preservation: Palestinian Artists Speak Out

1:30 p.m. - 2:45 p.m. PDT (San Francisco, UTC -7) / 4:30 p.m. - 5:45 p.m. EDT (New York, UTC -4)
Moderated by Andrea Assaf and Sahar Assaf. Speakers: Hanna Eady, Maya Nazzal, Manaar Azreik, and Mama Ganuush.


Panel: MENA Artists Leading in Mainstream National Theatres

3 p.m. - 4:30 p.m. PDT (San Francisco, UTC -7) / 6 p.m. - 7:30 p.m. EDT (New York, UTC -4)
Moderated by Evren Odcikin.
MENA artists are finally stepping into executive leadership positions at mainstream theatres of size. What are the opportunities and challenges they face? Does a MENA leader necessarily mean it's easier for MENA work to get produced?


Panel: MENA Theatre in Schools and Universities

4:45 - 6 p.m. PDT (San Francisco, UTC -7) / 7:45 - 9 p.m. EDT (New York, UTC -4)
Moderated by Heather Rastovac Akbarzadeh.
How do MENA theatremmakers and educators from K-12 to university settings navigate questions of cultural competency, representation, and omission? This panel considers all the ways in which students might engage with MENA theatre, such as in production, as dramatic text, or in theatre history lessons.


Sunday 29 October

Panel: MENA Political Theatre at Home and in the Diaspora

10 a.m. - 11:30 a.m. PDT (San Francisco, UTC -7) / 1 p.m. - 2:30 p.m. EDT (New York, UTC -4)
Moderated by Catherine Coray
This panel with MENA international artists explores the dynamics and artistic expressions of political theatre in the MENA region and in the diaspora. Artists will share their creative processes and the ways in which they navigate the intersection of politics, identity, and theatre.


Intercommunity Dialogue: Coalition Building With Other Networks

2:15 p.m. - 3:45 p.m. PDT (San Francisco, UTC -7) / 5:15 p.m. - 6:45 p.m. EDT (New York, UTC -4)
Moderated by Kate Moore Heaney with an introduction by Emilya Cachapero.
The creation of MENATMA has been greatly influenced and supported by other theatre networks of color. How can we continue to build on our connections with these networks and work together towards shared goals for our communities?


Kunafa and Shay Live: Possibilities for Affinity Spaces with MENA/SWANA and LGBTQIA+ Artists

4 p.m. - 5 p.m. PDT (San Francisco, UTC -7) / 7 p.m. - 8 p.m. EDT (New York, UTC -4)
Co-hosted by Nabra Nelson and Marina Johnson.
This live recording of the Kunafa and Shay Theatre Podcast in partnership with Mizna+RAWIfest discusses the benefits and complications of queer MENA and SWANA affinity spaces.


Program Committee

Sahar Assaf, executive artistic director, Golden Thread Productions
Hala Baki, director/dramaturg/scholar/educator, California Polytechnic State University
Amal Bisharat, Golden Thread resident artist
Debórah Eliezer, Golden Thread resident artist; artistic director, Aviva Arts
Kathryn Haddad, artistic executive director, New Arab American Theater Works
Denmo Ibrahim, writer, actor
Marina Johnson, director, dramaturg
Jamil Khoury, founding co-executive artistic director, Silk Road Rising
Kate Moore Heaney, artistic producer, Noor Theatre; artistic associate, Literary, Long Wharf Theatre
Nabra Nelson, playwright
Heather Rastovac Akbarzadeh, scholar-artist and dramaturg

About HowlRound TV

HowlRound TV is a global, commons-based, peer-produced, open-access livestreaming and video archive project stewarded by the nonprofit HowlRound. HowlRound TV is a free and shared resource for live conversations and performances relevant to the world’s performing-arts and cultural fields. Its mission is to break geographic isolation, promote resource sharing, and develop our knowledge commons collectively. Anyone can participate in a community of peer organizations revolutionizing the flow of information, knowledge, and access in our field by becoming a producer and co-producing with us. Learn more by going to our participate page. For any other queries, email [email protected] or call Vijay Mathew at +1 917.686.3185 Signal. View the video archive of past events.

Bookmark this page

Log in to add a bookmark

Find all of our upcoming events here.

Upcoming Events


Add Comment

The article is just the start of the conversation—we want to know what you think about this subject, too! HowlRound is a space for knowledge-sharing, and we welcome spirited, thoughtful, and on-topic dialogue. Find our full comments policy here

Newest First

Subscribe to HowlRound

Sign up for our daily, weekly, or quarterly emails so you never miss the latest theatre conversations.

Sign me up

Supporting HowlRound

We fundraise to keep all our programs free and open and to pay our contributors. Thank you to all who make our work possible!

Donate today