NEW YORK CITY: Noor Theatre has announced the addition of Sivan Battat as its new associate artistic director and Salma S. Zohdi as its new associate director of development and communications.
“Our world has shifted so dramatically during this last decade, and Noor has shifted alongside it,” said founding artistic director Lameece Issaq in a statement. “We continue to support work that reflects our varied perspectives, and I am heartened to see the amount of new talent in our ranks, the conversations around MENA representation grow and the formidable force this community has become. Noor was created to be a home for an ever-expanding, wildly diverse community of Middle Eastern and North African theatre artists. With that growth, we welcome two wonderful artists and leaders onto our staff, associate artistic director Sivan Battat and associate director of development and communications Salma S. Zohdi. Salma and Sivan bring a stunning rigor, vitality and artistry to Noor, and we could not be more excited to share these two bright lights with our community. I cannot wait to experience the next iteration of Noor—and the next generation of leadership—as these two brilliant theatremakers bring the force of their talent to our team.”
Battat (she/they) is an Iraqi American theatre director and community organizer with experience bridging justice and cultural work. Zodhi is an Egyptian storyteller with a background in dramaturgy and communications.
“Stepping into this role as associate artistic director, I am delighted to bridge various parts of myself as a director, community organizer, storyteller, and activist, as well as an Arab-Jewish artist,” said Battat in a statement. “Having multiple and sometimes perceived paradoxical identities invites me to lean into the complexity of in-betweenness, which shows up in how I guide a process, structure collaborative relationships, consider responsible art-making practices, and select projects. Within Noor, I am not paradoxical.”
Battat is currently the Roundabout Theatre Company Directing Fellow, the Drama League Leo Shull Musical Directing Fellow at New York Stage & Film, and a member of TCG’s Rising Leaders of Color Cohort. Other residencies include NYTW (Adelphi Residency), National Queer Theater (Mount Tremper Arts Residency), Roundabout Directors’ Group, 14th Street Y (LABA Fellowship), and Studio Theatre (Artistic Apprentice). Battat has assisted and associate directed extensively regionally and Off-Broadway, with directors including Whitney White, Sam Gold, Rebecca Taichman, Neil Pepe, GT Upchurch, David Muse, and more.
As an organizer, Battat has worked with NYC-based Jews for Racial and Economic Justice (JFREJ) in numerous capacities, specifically organizing with Mizrahi & Sephardi Jews. She recently creative directed the first ever Mimouna, a celebration of identity and ritual led by members of the Mizrahi/Sephardi Caucus in partnership with the Arab American Association of NY. Battat has curated several iterations of Salon Al-Mahjar صالون المهجر, a performance salon for queer & trans MENASA artists, leads ancestral storytelling workshops, and serves on the board with Ammud: the Jews of Color Torah Academy. Battat has also worked at the Arab Hebrew Theatre of Jaffa, and with organizations Breaking the Silence, the Center for Jewish Nonviolence, Jewish Voice for Peace and with various Jewish communities to unlearn Zionism and organize for Palestinian justice and liberation.
Salma S. Zohdi (she/her) is an Egyptian dramaturg and theatre practitioner based in New York City. A cross-cultural storyteller who strives to align theatremaking with social justice movement-building, Zohdi is passionate about facilitating and using the power of storytelling to amplify and uplift a wide range of voices as well as to challenge injustice.
In Egypt, Zohdi was Alumni Community Theatre’s (ACT, Egypt) Public Relations & Marketing Manager, where she also worked as a producer, teaching artist, stage manager, and assistant director. She was also among millions who took to the streets in 2011 as part of the January 25 revolution. Ever since, she has actively sought to meld the principles of social justice movement-building to her theatre practice. This led her to New York City in 2013, where she studied and has since been practicing dramaturgy, communications, creative producing, theatre administration, literary advising, and new-play development. Zohdi is also the co-host of Global Gab, a cross-cultural monthly Zoom conversation that centers immigrant artists.
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