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Sahar Speaks: Voices of Women from Afghanistan

An On the Front Lines: Performing Afghanistan opening event

Reception Follows | World Premiere

Take a rare and revealing look into the lives of Afghan women in the premiere performance of two one-act plays by Nushin Arbabzadah and Alia Bano, followed by an artist talk by photographer Joël van Houdt.

Arbabzadah and Bano adapted the plays for the stage from stories gathered through Sahar Speaks, a program that provides training and job opportunities for women journalists working on the ground in Afghanistan.

Following the performances, the playwrights will join a discussion with Ohio State Arts and Humanities Distinguished Professor of Theatre Lesley Ferris and other guests. Since 2016, Ferris has commissioned and produced four plays inspired by the Sahar Speaks project as Artistic Director of Palindrome Productions, which she cofounded.

The performance and panel discussion are followed by a free artist talk at 7 PM with Joël van Houdt, a Dutch photojournalist who has documented the journeys of Afghan refugees around the world. All are welcome to attend a reception in Heirloom Cafe between the two programs. Today’s events mark the opening day of Ohio State’s On the Front Lines: Performing Afghanistan initiative, designed to bring Afghan women’s voices to the fore through storytelling and theater.

The Dancer, Arabella Dorman

The Dancer, Arabella Dorman, courtesy of the artist

Behind the Blast Wall

Behind the Blast Wall by Sonali Bhattacharyya
Photo courtesy of Palindrome Productions

Behind the Blast Wall

Behind the Blast Wall by Sonali Bhattacharyya
Photo courtesy of Palindrome Productions

The Place of Shining Light

The Place of Shining Light by Yasmin Joseph
Photo courtesy of Palindrome Productions

About the Artist(s)

Nushin Arbabzadah, a playwright, scholar, translator, and journalist, teaches in the University of California, Los Angeles’s Department of Communications. Her many publications include her book Afghan Rumour Bazaar: Secret Sub-Cultures, Hidden Worlds and the Everyday Life of the Absurd (2013). Her play Afghan Girls Don’t Cry received a staged reading in the 2018 War Plays Festival in London.

Alia Bano is a London-based playwright and teacher of Pashtun origin. Her hit debut play Shades (2009), developed while in the Royal Court Theatre’s young playwright program, follows the trials of young people dating in the Muslim community. Her subsequent theater work includes productions at the National Theatre, the Royal Court, and the Riverside.

Presented by Ohio State’s Department of Theatre and the Middle East Studies Center with support from Department of History, Near Eastern Languages and Literatures, University Libraries’ Middle East and Islamic Studies Service, and the Wexner Center for the Arts. Supported by a Global Arts and Humanities Discovery Theme.

SUPPORT FOR ARTS ACCESS AT THE WEXNER CENTER
Cardinal Health Foundation
Huntington Bank

GENERAL OPERATING SUPPORT FOR THE WEXNER CENTER
Greater Columbus Arts Council
Ohio Arts Council
The Columbus Foundation
Nationwide Foundation

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Sahar Speaks: Voices of Women from Afghanistan