Torange Yeghiazarian: Putting the Middle East Center Stage
Friday, April 23, 2021 from 5 p.m. to 7 p.m.
Originally from Iran, Torange Yeghiazarian, is the founding Artistic Director of Golden Thread Productions, one of the first Middle Eastern-focused theatre companies in the United States. She will share her journey from her beginnings of the daughter of an Iranian film star and Iranian military officer/night-club owner, to her immigration to the United States following the Iranian revolution, to creating Golden Thread Productions, and bringing theatre about the Middle East and by Middle Eastern and Middle Eastern American artists to stages in the United States. The theatre is celebrating its 25th anniversary. She is also a director and playwright, and was also crucial in the founding of the Middle East America: A National New Plays Initiative (MEA). She will share the program’s lasting impact and the future of Middle Eastern American theatre.
Torange Yeghiazarian is the Founding Artistic Director of Golden Thread Productions, the first American theatre company focused on the Middle East where she launched such visionary programs as ReOrient Festival and Forum, New Threads, Fairytale Players, and What do the Women Say?, and timely initiatives such as Islam 101 and Project Alo? In her capacity as artistic director, Torange helped build the careers of numerous artists and helped launch the Middle East North African Theater Makers Alliance (MENATMA), the first national organization advocating for the MENA theater community. A playwright, director, and translator, Torange contributed a case study chapter to “Casting a Movement”, forthcoming from Routledge, 2019. She translated a number of contemporary plays from Iran including A MOMENT OF SILENCE by Mohammad Yaghoubi (winner of Best Play at Toronto Fringe) and THE LANAGUE OF WILD BERRIES by Naghmeh Samini. Her translation and stage adaptation of Nizami’s “Leyla & Majnun” is published on Gleeditions.com. She has been published in The Drama Review, American Theatre Magazine, AmerAsia Journal, and contributed to Encyclopedia of Women and Islamic Cultures and Cambridge World Encyclopedia of Stage Actors. At Golden Thread, Torange directed OH MY SWEET LAND by Amir Nizar Zuabi, and the premieres of OUR ENEMIES: LIVELY SCENES OF LOVE AND COMBAT and SCENIC ROUTES by Yussef El Guindi, THE MYTH OF CREATION by Sadegh Hedayat, TAMAM by Betty Shamieh, STUCK by Amir Al-Azraki, VOICE ROOM by Reza Soroor, and adapted the poem, I SELL SOULS by Simin Behbehani for the stage. Torange was a member of the artistic team that developed BENEDICTUS, a collaboration among Iranian, Israeli, and American artists. She received a Gerbode-Hewlett Playwright Commission Award for ISFAHAN BLUES, a co-production with African American Shakespeare Company, and a commission from the Islamic Cultural Center of Northern California to write and direct THE FIFTH STRING: ZIRYAB’S PASSAGE TO CORDOBA. Other plays include 444 DAYS, WAVES, and CALL ME MEHDI, included in the anthology “Salaam. Peace: An Anthology of Middle Eastern-American Drama,” TCG, 2009. Torange has been recognized by Theatre Bay Area and is one of Theatre Communication Group’s Legacy Leaders of Color. She was honored by the Cairo International Theatre Festival and the Symposium on Equity in the Entertainment Industry at Stanford University. Born in Iran and of Armenian heritage, Torange holds a Master’s degree in Theatre Arts from San Francisco State University.