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. She is currently under commission by Philip Kan Gotanda to adapt his seminal play THE WASH to an Armenian setting. 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 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.
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) joined Golden Thread in 2012 as the administrative office manager and in 2014 took on the role of managing director. She has over 10 years of non-profit management experience in various organizations. She has managed ticket operations for Theater Artaud, Beach Blanket Babylon, Brava Theater Center, and the Commonwealth Club of California. She has also provided membership, development, and finance assistance for The Coral Reef Alliance and Forests Forever. A freelance costume designer since 2008, she continues to work with numerous Bay Area companies, including Z Space, New Conservatory Theater, African American Shakespeare Company, Golden Thread, and SFMOMA.
|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 THE RAMAYAN (co-adaptor) at ACT, Seattle; and PILGRIMS MUSA AND SHERI IN THE NEW WORLD (winner of the Steinberg/American Theater Critics Association’s New Play Award in 2012; Gregory Award in 2011) also at ACT, Seattle, and at Center Repertory Company (Walnut Creek, CA) 2013; 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. His play OUR ENEMIES: LIVELY SCENES OF LOVE AND COMBAT was produced by Silk Road Theater Project and won the M. Elizabeth Osborn award. It’s included in the anthology FOUR ARAB AMERICAN PLAYS, published by McFarland Books. His plays BACK OF THE THROAT, as well as SUCH A BEAUTIFUL VOICE IS SAYEDEA’S and KARIMA’S CITY, have been published by Dramatists Play Service. PILGRIMS MUSA AND SHERI IN THE NEW WORLD was published in the September, 2012 issue of AMERICAN THEATRE MAGAZINE, and will soon be published by Dramatists Play Service, along with his play JIHAD JONES AND THE KALASHNIKOV BABES.
’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
|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).
Bob Miller is currently a management consultant focused on improving information technology services and increasing organization efficiency and effectiveness through better management practices. He assists and coaches executives and managers to drive organizational transformation. After years of being a fan of Golden Thread Productions, Bob joined the board in 2011 where he has the opportunity to apply his business experience, both corporate and consulting, to a non-profit theatre company. He is currently board Treasurer.
Tanya Sleiman (MFA, Stanford University) is a documentary filmmaker and teacher. She has a background in Middle East Studies (UC Berkekey) and worked in international education in New York City for seven years. A former Fulbright Scholar to Syria, Tanya shares her love of international storytelling as a filmmaker, theatre advocate, and film professor (Diablo Valley College; Brown University; NYU Tisch in Cuba). Tanya is drawn to character portraits and visual essays. Her 2008 short essay A Chronicle Of Concrete screened in international festivals and was broadcast on PBS. Her film Iraq in the USA is a vibrant collective portrait of Iraqi refugees in a new wave of migration to American shores, as strangers in a strange land. In 2008, Tanya dove into creating film projects on Helen Levitt’s legacy, sharing a short film version at Cantor Arts Center for their exhibit “In a New York Minute: Photographs by Helen Levitt” (April 2011). A feature documentary on Levitt entitled 95 Lives is forthcoming. Tanya lives in the SF Bay Area with her husband and newborn daughter.
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.
|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 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.
Kia Mousavi studied Mathematics at Tehran University and received his Engineering degree from University of Ottawa. He holds a software architect position at Adobe and also teaches guitar at Shiraz Arts Academy. He started his theater experience from management and now serves as President to the Board of Trustees of Golden Thread Productions theatre company in San Francisco.
Torange Yeghiazarian is the Founding Artistic Director of Golden Thread Productions where she launched such visionary programs as ReOrient Festival, New Threads, 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.
Samer Ali – Associate Professor, Near Eastern Studies, University of Michigan
Marvin Carlson – Chair, City University of New York Graduate Center
Hamid Dabashi – Professor, Middle East Studies, Columbia University
Philip Kan Gotanda – Playwright
Roberta Levitow – Co-Founder, Theatre Without Borders
Suniana Maira – Professor, Asian American Studies, UC Davis
Ella Shohat – Professor, Art and Public Policy, Tisch School of the Arts at NYU
Roberto Gutierrez Varea – Associate Professor, University of San Francisco
Naomi Wallace – Playwright and MacArthur Fellow