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Attendees at a MENA convening in 2019.

MENA Artists Launch National Alliance

The National Alliance for Middle Eastern and North African Theater Makers will amplify the voices of MENA artists in the American theatre.

NATIONWIDE: A group of artists has announced the launch of the National Alliance for Middle Eastern and North African Theater Makers (MENATMA), an alliance dedicated to MENA artists and stories in the American theatre.

“We stand on the shoulders of so many who came before us, to continue the work of building an American theatre that is reflective of this nation’s rich diversity,” said Torange Yeghiazarian, founding artistic director of Golden Thread Productions, in a statement. “How exciting to launch our national alliance in this moment of unprecedented change and massive calls for racial justice and social equity.”

MENATMA is the next step in the decades-long efforts in community building, artistic development, and cultural production led by MENA artists and organizations. In addition to advocating for more inclusion, MENATMA will highlight the excellence and aesthetic diversity of work from MENA communities. The national alliance’s efforts intentionally build on the long-standing work of Black, Indigenous, Asian, and Latinx communities to redefine and reframe the white supremacist lens of American theatre.

The MENATMA steering committee comprises Andrea Assaf, Catherine Coray, Deborah Eliezer, Denmo Ibrahim, Evren Odcikin, Jamil Khoury, Kate Moore Heaney, Kathryn Haddad, Leila Buck, Michael Malek Najjar, Nora el Samahy, Pia Haddad, Shoresh Alaudini, Torange Yeghiazarian, and Tracy Cameron Francis. Founding organizations for MENTMA include Golden Thread Productions, Silk Road Rising, Noor Theatre, the Lark, Maia Directors, Art2Action, Inc., and New Arab American Theater Works. MENATMA also acknowledges the invaluable support of Theatre Communications Group (TCG) and the Consortium of Asian American Theaters and Artists (CAATA).

“I’ve had the great pleasure of witnessing the evolution of MENATMA through formal convenings and informal community conversations,” said Emilya Cachapero, TCG’s director of Artistic and International Programs, in a statement. “The contributions of vibrant MENA artists to the larger theatre ecology should be more widely known, cherished, and supported, and I’m certain that MENATMA will be instrumental in accomplishing this.”

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