Executive Artistic Director
Torange Yeghiazarian (Executive Artistic Director) founded Golden Thread in 1996 where she launched such visionary programs as ReOrient Festival & Forum, Middle East America (in partnership with the Lark and Silkroad Rising), Islam 101 (with Hafiz Karmali), New Threads, and the Fairytale Players. Torange’s plays include ISFAHAN BLUES, 444 DAYS, THE FIFTH STRING: ZIRYAB’S PASSAGE TO CORDOBA, and CALL ME MEHDI. Awards include the Gerbode-Hewlett Playwright Commission Award (ISFAHAN BLUES) and a commission by the Islamic Cultural Center of Northern California (THE FIFTH STRING). Her short play CALL ME MEHDI is published in the anthology “Salaam. Peace: An Anthology of Middle Eastern-American Drama,” TCG 2009. She adapted the poem, I SELL SOULS by Simin Behbehani to the stage, and directed 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 and VOICE ROOM by Reza Soroor, amongst others. Her articles on contemporary theatre in Iran have been published in The Drama Review (2012), American Theatre Magazine (2010), and Theatre Bay Area Magazine (2010), and HowlRound. Torange has contributed to the Encyclopedia of Women and Islamic Cultures and Cambridge World Encyclopedia of Stage Actors. Born in Iran and of Armenian heritage, Torange holds a Master’s degree in Theatre Arts from San Francisco State University. 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 (2016) and the Symposium on Equity in the Entertainment Industry (2017).
Director of Marketing & New Plays
Evren Odcikin (Director of Marketing and New Plays) is a Turkish-American director based in San Francisco and the Director New Plays & Marketing for Golden Thread Productions since 2015 where he has been an artistic associate since 2005. For Golden Thread, he directed the premieres of Yussef El Guindi’s LANGUAGE ROOMS, in San Francisco and Los Angeles Theater Center (critic’s pick for LOS ANGELES TIMES), Mona Mansour’s URGE FOR GOING, Denmo Ibrahim’s ECSTASY | A WATERFABLE, as well as short plays by El Guindi, E.H. Benedict, Ken Kaissar, Ignacio Zulueta as part of ReOrient Festivals. For the company, he leads all new play development activities, including the annual new play reading series New Threads, assists in season selection, and helps produce the mainstage season including the biennial ReOrient Festival. His other credits include the world premiere of Christopher Chen’s MUTT: LET’S ALL TALK ABOUT RACE at Impact Theatre and Ferocious Lotus (“Top New Play of 2014”, Theater Dogs); the world premiere of Frances Ya-Chu Cowhig’s 410[GONE] (Production Notebook feature in AMERICAN THEATRE MAGAZINE) and the West Coast premiere of Jonas Hassen Khemiri’s INVASION! for Crowded Fire; his adaptation of Plautus’s THE BRAGGART SOLDIER, OR MAJOR BLOWHARD for Custom Made Theatre Company (Theatre Bay Area Awards Recommended Production, four Bay Area Theatre Critics’ Circle (BATCC) nominations including best director); THE OLDEST PROFESSION (two BATCC nominations) and MACHINAL (three BATCC Award nominations including best director and best production) for Brava Theater Center. A graduate of Princeton University, Evren was awarded the 2015 National Director’s Fellowship by O’Neill Theater Center, National New Plays Network, the Kennedy Center, and SDCF; the 2013 TITAN Award for Directors by Theatre Bay Area; and selected as an Emerging Theatre Leader by TCG for their American Express Leadership Bootcamp. odcikin.com
Michelle Mulholland (Managing Director) has more than 17 years of non-profit management experience from some of San Francisco’s finest arts and environmental justice organizations, including Theater Artaud, Beach Blanket Babylon, Brava Theater, the Commonwealth Club of California, The Coral Reef Alliance, and Forests Forever. Since joining Golden Thread in 2012, Michelle has been managing and improving day to day operations, enabling the company’s exponential growth laid out in its five-year strategic plan by professionalizing policies and procedures, implementing a fully-integrated patron management system, and creating a year-round development calendar focused on donor cultivation. A freelance costume designer since 2008, Michelle has designed for some of the best Bay Area companies, including Crowded Fire, New Conservatory Theatre, Z Space, African-American Shakespeare Company, Golden Thread, Cutting Ball, and Brava Theater.
|Navid Ghaem Maghami|
Vida Ghahremani began acting in films as a teenager in Iran, where she established the standards of stardom. Some of her Iranian film classics include, CHAHAR RAH HAVADES, TOOFAN DAR SHAHR MA, FARYAD NIMEH-SHAB, FARDA ROWSHAN AST, ATASH VA KHAKESTAR, ESHGH VA ENTEGHAM. In the US, she appeared in the award-winning film by Wayne Wang, ONE THOUSAND YEARS OF GOOD PRAYERS, and THE STONING OF SORAYA M by Cyrus Nowrasteh. Vida has been an artistic associate with Golden Thread since its first production, OPERATION NO PENETRATION, LYSISTRATA 97! Other performances include THE LOVE MISSILE (with Sofia Ahmad as her daughter), ABAGA and NINE ARMENIANS. Ms. Ghahremani is a member of the Screen Actors Guild.
|Yussef El Guindi|
Yussef El Guindi
Yussef El Guindi’s most recent productions include Threesome at Portland Center Stage, ACT Seattle, 59E59 in NYC, Pilgrims Musa and Sheri in the New World (winner of the 2012 Steinberg/ American Theater Critics Association’s New Play Award and the 2011 Gregory Award) also at ACT Seattle, and at Center Repertory Company (Walnut Creek, CA); and Language Rooms (Edgerton Foundation New American Play Award), co-produced by Golden Thread Productions and the Asian American Theater Company in San Francisco; at the Wilma Theater in Philadelphia (premiere), and at the Los Angeles Theater Center. Other productions: Our Enemies: Lively Scenes of Love and Combat was produced by Silk Road Theater Project and won the M. Elizabeth Osborn award. His play Back of the Throat (winner of LA Weekly’s Excellence in Playwriting Award for 2006), among others, have been published by Dramatist Play Service. Yussef is the recipient of the 2010 Middle East America Distinguished Playwright Award.
’s poems and essays have been published in various national journals, including Brooklyn Review, Phoebe, Chain, Faultline, FO A RM, ZZYZYVA, and Fourteen Hills. Her work is also featured in anthologies, including Let Me Tell You Where I’ve Been: New Writing from Women in the Iranian Diaspora (University of Arkansas Press) and Bay Poetics (Faux Press). Her translations of Iranian-born poet Yadollah Royai appear in The Kenyon Review, in 26, and in Strange Times, My Dear: The PEN Anthology of Contemporary Iranian Literature. She received her MFA in Creative Writing (Poetry) at San Francisco State University where she was awarded both the CPIC Life Poetry Award and of the Ann Fields Poetry Award judged by Gillian Conoley. She earned degrees in Political Science and Middle Eastern Studies from University of California Berkeley and a graduate degree in History from the University of Chicago. She has taught poetry at both San Francisco State and Mills College in Oakland and through the California College of Arts as part of a community project for the Center for Art in Public Life.
is the Assistant Professor of Theatre Arts and Dance at Loyola University. She served as the Resident Dramaturg at the California Shakespeare Theatre, and for over six seasons, worked at the Magic Theatre in San Francisco as Literary Manager and Festival Director. As an Associate Artist with Golden Thread Productions, she directed and helped select scripts for the ReOrient Festival, focusing on plays from or concerning the Middle East. Laura co-founded the award-winning Shee Theatre Company in San Francisco, devoted to developing women artists for the theatre, and has worked with the Bay Area Playwrights Foundation as an actor, literary manager, associate producer, and dramaturg. She performed with numerous companies throughout the San Francisco Bay Area including Magic Theatre, The Shee Theatre Company, Crowded Fire, A Traveling Jewish Theatre, TheatreWorks, and the San Francisco Playhouse, and received a Dean Goodman Choice Award as Best Actress for her performance in the title role of Augustine (Big Hysteria) by Anna Furse, directed by Virginia Reed, produced by The Shee Theatre Company.
Board of Trustees
John Atwood is a Learning and Development Manager at Google. He partners with engineering leadership to grow engineering talent and scale learning resources globally. During his time at Google, John has worked in the U.S. and Switzerland, and has visited over 10 distributed offices across Asia, Europe, and South America. Previous to Google, John performed with a number of Bay Area theatre companies including: California Shakespeare Theater, Crowded Fire Theater, New Conservatory Theatre, Impact Theatre, and Theatre Rhinoceros. John’s passion for theatre stems from his belief that theatre builds community and serves as a catalyst for important dialogue and positive change. He is absolutely thrilled to serve on the board for Golden Thread Productions.
John holds an M.S. in Organization Development from Pepperdine University, and earned a Bachelors degree in Communication and Theatre from the University of California, San Diego.
Monica Cappuccini, born in the UK, had a 25-year career in the adventure travel business, traveled the World and came to rest in Palo Alto. She is now indulging in her first love, the theatre, as an actor. She is a proud member of Theatre Bay Area and a founding member of Silicon Valley Foundation’s Donor Circle for the Arts which not only funds various artistic disciplines on a local level, but seeks to bring awareness of the importance of Arts in our society and to promote an understanding that crosses all barriers.
|Nora el Samahy|
Nora el Samahy*
Nora el Samahy’s professional acting career began in 1998 as a Fairy in San Francisco Shakespeare Festival’s production of A MIDSUMMER NIGHT’S DREAM. She then went on to work with Campo Santo, Golden Thread Productions, Alter Theater, Aurora Theatre, Magic Theatre, foolsFURY, Traveling Jewish Theatre, Berkeley Repertory Theatre, Exit Theater, Theatre Rhinoceros, Woman’s Will, Shotgun Players, African American Shakespeare Company, among others. In 2013, Nora founded a performance company called Affinity Project with Atosa Babaoff, Beatrice Basso, and Emily Hoffman. Nora is a Pilates teacher and co-owner of studio 74 pilates with business partner Jennifer Moulton. She received her BA in psychology from Wellesley College. Love and thanks to Patrick and Ziyad.
eads, the Fairytale Players, and Middle East America (with Lark and Silkroad Rising). Torange’s plays include Isfahan Blues, 444 Days, The Fifth String, Abaga, Waves, and Call Me Mehdi (published in “Salam. Peace: An Anthology of Middle Eastern-American Drama,” TCG 2009.) Torange adapted the poem, I Sell Souls by Simin Behbehani to the stage, and directed the premieres of Scenic Routes by Yussef El Guindi, A Girl’S War by Joyce Van Dyke, Nine Armenians by Leslie Ayvasian, The Myth of Creation by Sadegh Hedayat, and Tamam by Betty Shamieh, among others. Her articles on contemporary theatre in Iran have been published in The Drama Review, American Theatre Magazine, and Theatre Bay Area Magazine, and HowlRound. Torange has contributed to the Encyclopedia of Women and Islamic Cultures and Cambridge World Encyclopedia of Stage Actors. Born in Iran and of Armenian heritage, Torange holds a Master’s degree in Theatre Arts from San Francisco State University.
|Farah Jahan Siddiqui Bullara|
Farah Jahan Siddiqui Bullara
Farah Jahan Siddiqui Bullara is a writer, content editor, user experience consultant, community organizer and cultural activist. For more than 20 years, Farah has enjoyed a successful career in Silicon Valley’s high-tech industry, where she has worked with Fortune 500 and start-up companies such as Intel Corporation, Five-9, and Zenefits as well non-profit organizations such Catholic Charities and Cal State East Bay. Farah also served as a contributing arts writer for Aslan Media, where she covered the vibrant Middle East arts and culture scene in the San Francisco Bay Area, and as a film judge for the Women’s Voices Now Film Festival. Currently, Farah volunteers as an Event Organizer for Yalla Arabi, the Bay Area’s Arabic language and culture meet-up group and is an active supporter of a number of organizations including: the San Francisco Arab Cultural and Community Center; ASWAT, the Bay Area’s Arabic music ensemble; the Arab Film Festival; Pacific Arabic Resources, and the Islamic Cultural and Community Center of Northern California. Farah’s many hobbies reflect her passion for the Middle East and include: belly dancing, Arabic calligraphy, Middle Eastern music and Sufi poetry. Farah earned her B.S. in Business Administration with concentrations in Marketing and Advertising and a Master’s degree in Journalism and Mass Communications with concentrations in feature writing and photojournalism.
|Artin Der Minassians|
Artin Der Minassians
Dr. Artin Der Minassians is the Founding Artistic Director of the Seemorgh Ensemble (of the Bay Area Classical Harmonies) since 2006 and has directed various concerts with a focus on presenting Armenian and Iranian choral music to a wider audience in the Bay Area. He has collaborated with Pro Arts Gallery in Oakland as part of the Last Friday at Pro Arts concert series. In 2009, he was invited to coach “Chorissima,” the Grammy-winning concert, recording, and touring ensemble of the San Francisco Girls Chorus. His Seemorgh Ensemble was invited to join the Oakland Symphony to conclude the “Notes from Armenia” concert at the majestic Paramount Theatre in 2010. The singing of the chorus in that concert was described as “lustily”, “creating panoply of stirring sounds”, and “raising the rafters” in San Francisco Classical Voice, San Francisco Chronicle, Oakland Tribune, San Jose Mercury News, and Contra Costa Times. “A Transcendent Homage: A Choral Tribute to the House of Torgom” concert of the Seemorgh Ensemble toured the Bay Area and the Central Valley in 2010. He directed “A Komitas Wedding project” — a collaboration between acting crew and acappella chorus — in San Francisco in 2011. In July 2016, he was selected to join the National Chamber Choir of Armenia as part of an intensive masterclass/workshop organized by the Armenian General Benevolent Union (AGBU). Artin holds a PhD degree from UC Berkeley in Electrical Engineering and Computer Sciences, and is the Engineering Director at Empower Semiconductor, a Bay Area startup company. He has been a board member of the UC Berkeley Armenian Alumni (UCBAA) and the Bay Area Classical Harmonies (BACH).
Murrey Nelson is the Director of Development for Chanticleer, a 39-year-old men’s a cappella group based in San Francisco. Following 20 years in the for-profit sector, primarily doing trademark licensing in the fashion industry, she made the decision to be a fundraising professional for arts non-profits, and has done so for 11 years, mostly in the field of classical music. Murrey got to know Golden Thread when they were a tenant of Z Space, where she served on the board for 11 years; and got to know them more intimately when she provided fundraising consulting services to the organization in 2014. She has served on three theatre boards, and is currently serving on the board of Sojourn, the multi-faith volunteer chaplaincy at Zuckerberg San Francisco General Hospital. She is also on the Vestry of Trinity Saint Peters Episcopal Church and is the Chair of the Phillips Academy (Andover) Northern California Regional Alumni Association. Murrey is delighted to bring her expertise to such a fine theatre company as Golden Thread.
Samer Ali, Director, The Center for Middle Eastern and North African Studies, and Associate Professor, Near Eastern Studies, University of Michigan
Marvin Carlson, Distinguished Professor, Theatre, Comparative Literature, and Middle Eastern Studies, The Graduate Center, CUNY
Hamid Dabashi, Professor, Iranian Studies and Comparative Literature, Columbia University
Philip Kan Gotanda, Playwright and Professor, Playwriting, UC Berkeley
Roberta Levitow, Co-Founder, Theatre Without Borders, and Senior Program Associate, Sundance Institute Middle East North Africa Theatre Program
Suniana Maira, Professor, Asian American Studies, UC Davis
Ella Shohat, Professor, Art & Public Policy and Middle Eastern & Islamic Studies, NYU Tisch School of the Arts
Roberto Gutiérrez Varea, Founding Faculty, Performing Arts and Social Justice Program, University of San Francisco
Naomi Wallace, Playwright and MacArthur Fellow