Ten years have passed since the events of September 11 changed us and our relationship to the Middle East forever. While the Middle East has dominated the news for more than a decade, most Americans’ knowledge of the region and its people remain superficial at best. Simultaneously, the rapid growth of immigrant communities of Middle Eastern background in the US has resulted in increasing numbers of children and youth from the region who remain under-served in their artistic and cultural education.
By providing theatre education rooted in Middle Eastern arts and literature, Golden Thread’s Education Program addresses the parallel needs of Middle Eastern youth and families for self-affirming performing arts programing as well as the broad community’s need for a deeper understanding of the richness of Middle Eastern arts. Additionally, the program equips arts educators with much needed overview of the region and its culture. Golden Thread’s multifaceted Education Program has the following main elements:
The Fairytale Players
Golden Thread’s Fairytale Players is a dynamic ensemble that creates and performs a repertoire of educational theater performances based on stories and traditions from the Middle East. The Players employ epic story-telling, physical theatre and circus arts techniques and are trained in various theatre disciplines including traditional Middle Eastern performance styles and folk dance. Performances are designed to travel and are booked at schools, libraries, community and cultural centers, and festivals.
Past performances include Karim Alrawi’s The Girl Who Lost Her Smile presented at the Asian Art Museum, The Ferry Building, the Arab Cultural Festival in Union Square, and the United States of Asian American Festival.
Student Matinee Performances of Main Stage Productions
To enrich students’ understanding of main stage productions, Golden Thread offers special matinee performances supported by study guides that connect various aspects of the play to elements of California Education Standards. Study guides contain detailed information about each play, giving historical, cultural, geographical background, as well as pre- and post- show activities to deepen the audience’s understanding of the play.
Theatre Curriculum inspired by Middle Eastern Arts & Literature
An innovative theatre education curriculum rooted in Middle Eastern arts and literature. Annually, Golden Thread will offer a two-day training program for teaching artists focused on Middle Eastern history, arts and literature taught by university professors and master artists.