Founding Artistic Director
is the Founding Artistic Director of Golden Thread Productions, where she has devoted her professional life to exploring Middle Eastern culture and identity through theatre arts. Her articles on contemporary theatre in Iran have been published in The Drama Review (2012), American Theatre Magazine (2010) and Theatre Bay Area (2010). Torange’s latest play, 444 DAYS will premiere at Golden Thread in 2013. Her play Call Me Mehdi is included in “Salaam.Peace: An Anthology of Middle Eastern- American Drama” TCG, 2009. Other plays include WAVES, DAWN AT MIDNIGHT, BEHIND GLASS WINDOWS, ABAGA, and PUBLICLY RESTING. With Golden Thread’s Fairytale Players, Torange has developed a repertory of new plays for children based on fables and characters from the Middle East. Torange collaborated with playwright Hal Gelb and puppeteer, Janaki Ranpura to create the musical comedy, LOVE MISSILE (2003). She was one in the collaborative team of Iranian, Israeli and American artists responsible for BENEDICTUS (2007). She adapted the poetry of Simin Behbehani to the stage in I SELL SOULS (2008) Other directing credits include A GIRL’S WAR by Joyce Van Dyke, NINE ARMENIANS by Leslie Ayvasian, TAMAM by Betty Shamieh, THREE STOPS and SCENIC ROUTES by Yussef el Guindi. As a teaching artist, Torange has taught playwriting to at-risk youth and led acting and play development workshops for youth and adults at Golden Thread. Born in Iran and of Armenian heritage, Torange holds a Master’s degree in Theatre Arts from San Francisco State University.
Outreach & Engagement Associate
Cassie has always been interested in Middle Eastern history and cultures, and immediately fell in love with Golden Thread’s mission and vision. She joined the team in 2013 as a community outreach intern and house manager. Now as the Outreach and Engagement Associate Cassie is involved with marketing, web development, patron management and community outreach. She is responsible for the distribution, collection and evaluation of audience surveys and has become a key player in Golden Thread’s on-going participation in Hewlett’s Audience Research Collaborative. Cassie holds a BA in Middle Eastern History with a minor in Islamic Studies from San Francisco State University. She has studied Modern Standard Arabic and the Levantine dialect. In 2011 she was chosen to participate in the SLI Arabic Program at San Jose State University on full scholarship. After graduating, she traveled to the West Bank to continue her studies and learn more about Palestinian culture and traditions.
|Navid Ghaem Maghami|
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 non-profit organizations. She has managed ticket operations for Theater Artaud, Beach Blanket Babylon, Brava Theater, and the Commonwealth Club of California. She has also provided membership, development, and finance assistance for both 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 the SFMOMA.
Director of Marketing & New Plays
is a Turkish-American director based in San Francisco and the Director New Plays & Marketing for Golden Thread Productions. For Golden Thread, he directed the West Coast premiere of Yussef El Guindi’s Language Rooms, which moved to the Los Angeles Theater Center after a San Francisco run (critic’s pick for Los Angeles Times), the West Coast premiere of Mona Mansour’s Urge For Going, and the world premieres of El Guindi’s Birds Flew In and E. H. Benedict’s Orhan as part of ReOrient 2012. For the company, he has produced the world premiere of Torange Yeghiazarian’s 444 Days, the annual new play reading series New Threads for the last three years, and has led the selection process for and helped produce the ReOrient 2012 Festival and Forum. His other credits include the world premiere of Frances Ya-Chu Cowhig’s 410[GONE] and the West Coast premiere of Jonas Hassen Khemiri’s Invasion! for Crowded Fire Theater; The Oldest Profession (two Bay Area Theatre Critics’ Circle nominations) and Machinal (three BATCC Award nominations including best director and best production) for Brava Theater Center; the West Coast premiere of David Bell’s The Play About the Naked Guy for Impact Theatre (“Honorable Mention,” Bay Area Reporter); and RHINO for Boxcar Theatre (“Most Inventive Staging of 2010″ from SF Weekly, “Best Play of 2010″ from SF Bay Times). He has directed readings and workshops at American Conservatory Theater, Magic Theatre, Aurora Theatre Company, Bay Area Playwrights Festival, Golden Thread Productions, Crowded Fire Theatre Company, and Cutting Ball. A graduate of Princeton University, Evren was awarded 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. www.odcikin.com
|Fatima Zahra El Filali|
Fatima Zahra El Filali
is the Alo? Project Manager at Golden Thread Productions. As a visual artist, her work has been shown at the Regis Art Center in the University of Minnesota as well as in MCAD, among other venues. As an actress, Fatima has worked with Pangea World Theater and Mizna in Minneapolis. She is now a Web Science graduate student at the University of San Francisco. Born and raised in Casablanca, Morocco, Fatima received her BA in Art, and BS in Computer Science from St Cloud State University in 2009. She is fluent in Arabic, French and English.
began acting as a teenager in Iran, where she established the standards of stardom. She has worked with Golden Thread Productions since its first production, Operation No Penetration, Lysistrata 97! Other performances include, Love Missile, ABAGA and Nine Armenians with Golden Thread productions and The Beginning of a Cold Season with Darvag Theatre Company. Ms. Ghahremani is a member of the Screen Actors Guild and has performed in numerous Iranian and American films including, The Guests of Hotel Astoria, The Rock, Dark Holiday and most recently, The Assassination of Richard Nixon.
|Yussef El Guindi|
Yussef El Guindi
is an award-winning and nationally recognized playwright with his early start at Golden Thread in 1999. His most recent work, LANGUAGE ROOMS awarded the Edgerton Foundation’s Best New American Play, received its west coast premiere in San Francisco in 2011. Other productions: THE REVIEW, a short internet play performed via Skype with actors in Cairo and San Francisco, produced by Golden Thread Productions. JIHAD JONES AND THE KALASHNIKOV BABES, produced at Golden Thread Productions in San Francisco, at InterAct Theater in Philadelphia, and at Kitchen Dog Theater in Dallas, as part of the National New Play Network. BACK OF THE THROAT, first staged by San Francisco’s Thick Description and Golden Thread, won the 2004 Northwest Playwright’s Competition and LA Weekly’s award for Best New Play. It was also nominated for the 2006 America
’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.
joined Golden Thread in 2007. She has directed over 50 productions nationally, with a particular emphasis on developing original writing and new American work. She is cofounder of Theatre Without Borders, an informal group supporting international theatre exchange at www.theatrewithoutborders.com With Golden Thread, Roberta initiated the Iran-Israel-US project which evolved into the play, BENEDICTUS (2007); presented Iraqi and Pakistani artists at the TCG Conference 2011; and participated in the planning and implementation of ReOrient Forum (2009). She was the American Honoree at the 15th Cairo International Festival, 2003; the recipient of TCG’s Alan Schneider Award for directorial excellence in 1992. Roberta is a Fulbright Ambassador and an Artistic Associate at the Sundance Institute East Africa.
Board of Trustees
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.
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.
|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
Bio coming soon…
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.
graduated from UC Davis with a degree in sociology and theatre studies. In addition to her training at Davis, her theatre training involves a year-long theatre focus at University of Birmingham, in England. She is regular contributing artists and active Board Member of Golden Thread Production. Razavi’s notable directing credits include Maryam Rostami’s one-woman show, Persepolis, Texas for CounterPULSE, and Denmo Ibrahim’s BABA for Alter Theatre. In addition to her theatre work, Razavi recently completed her MBA, and has extensive experience in the social sector having served in leadership positions at various nonprofits. Currently Razavi lives in San Francisco, and is the Director of Operations at Working Solutions, a non-profit microlender which provides capital and support to local entrepreneurs.
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.
is the founding artistic director of Golden Thread Productions where she has devoted her professional career to building cultural bridges with the Middle East through innovative and provocative theatrical productions. Torange’s plays include: THE FIFTH STRING: ZIRYAB’S PASSAGE TO CORDOBA, 444 DAYS, DAWN AT MIDNIGHT, ABAGA, and WAVES. Her short play CALL ME MEHDI is included in “Salaam.Peace: An Anthology of Middle Eastern- American Drama” published by Theatre Communications Group in 2009. Torange has collaborated extensively in creating new work including with playwright Hal Gelb and puppeteer, Janaki Ranpura in the musical, The LOVE MISSILE; and with the team of Iranian, Israeli and American artists responsible for BENEDICTUS. Her articles on contemporary theatre in Iran have been published in The Drama Review, American Theatre Magazine, Theatre Bay Area, and HowlRound. Born in Iran and of Armenian heritage, Torange holds a Master’s in Theatre Arts from San Francisco State University.
Samer Ali – Associate Professor, Arabic Studies, UT Austin
Marvin Carlson – Chair, City University of New York Graduate Center
Hamid Dabashi – Professor, Middle East Studies, Columbia University
Hussein M. Elkhafaifi, Ph.D. – Associate Professor of Arabic, University of Washington
Philip Kan Gotanda – playwright
Jim Lucas – Marketing Consultant and Past President
Suniana Maira – Associate Professor, Asian American Studies, UC Davis
John Potocki – Financial Analyst
Ella Shohat – Professor, Art and Public Policy, Tisch School of the Arts at NYU
Roberto Gutierrez Varea – Associate Professor, Theater, University of San Francisco
Naomi Wallace – Playwright and MacArthur Fellow