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2018 Top-Rated Nonprofit

Golden Thread Productions

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Nonprofit Overview

Causes: Arts & Culture, Arts Education, Cultural & Ethnic Awareness, Theater

Mission: Golden Thread Productions’ mission is to produce passionate and provocative plays from or about the Middle East – including its global diaspora - that celebrate the multiplicity of its perspectives and identities while serving as a developmental catalyst and vibrant artistic home to artists at various stages of their career. Golden Thread brings the Middle East to the American stage, creating treasured cultural experiences for audiences of all ages and backgrounds. We believe that immersing yourself in someone else’s experience is the best way to appreciate their point of view. Therefore, every play serves as an invitation to discover unexpected connections and engage in deeply moving conversations that last well beyond the life of the play. In our vast imagination, the Middle East is defined not by geographical boundaries or political divisions, but as the shared experience of the people, who throughout history have been touched by its stories and culture. As such, Golden Thread’s work is borderless and serves to reorient the United States-Middle East relationship.

Results: For more than 20 years, Golden Thread has created artistic excellence with plays that defy stereotypes, and engage diverse communities. Golden Thread has premiered more than 100 new plays, including seven plays for young audiences. Rave Reviews - "Our Enemies" by Yussef El Guindi and "Oh My Sweet Land" by Amir Nizar Zuabi received the San Francisco Chronicle’s highest rating, the Leaping Man, both directed by founding artistic director, Torange Yeghiazarian. National Impact - Golden Thread & Silk Road Rising issued a Middle Eastern Theatre Artists’ Bill of Rights, published in American Theatre Magazine in 2017. Golden Thread has been recognized twice by American Theatre Wing, the producers of the Tony Awards, by the City of San Francisco in honor of our 20th anniversary, and was featured in the Bay Area ABC 7's Profiles of Excellence. Artistic director, Torange Yeghiazarian has been recognized by Theatre Bay Area and is one of Theatre Communication Group’s Legacy Leaders of Color. She was honored by the Cairo International Theatre Festival (2016) and the Symposium on Equity in the Entertainment Industry at Stanford University (2017).

Target demographics: change the narrative on the Middle East, one play at a time

Direct beneficiaries per year: 4000 Bay Area audiences

Geographic areas served: Bay Area

Programs: Founded in 1996 by Iranian American playwright Torange Yeghiazarian, Golden Thread Productions is the first American theatre company devoted to plays from or about the Middle East, defined broadly and inclusively. Golden Thread's signature programs include ReOrient Festival of short plays; development and production of full-length plays; New Threads staged reading series; Golden Thread Fairytale Players theatre for young audiences program; and an annual Women’s Day event. Over the last 20 years, Golden Thread has served over 50,000 audience members and has employed more than 1,000 artists, many from underrepresented communities. Our programs defy stereotypes and cultivate those who seek alternative perspectives of the Middle East including individuals not of Middle Eastern heritage eager to learn about cultures different than their own, as well as Middle Eastern audiences who rarely encounter meaningful reflections of their own culture and narrative in the performing arts. Production History - Golden Thread’s debut production was OPERATION NO PENETRATION, LYSISTRATA 97!, an adaptation of the classic Greek comedy in which Palestinian and Israeli women unite to force men into signing a peace treaty. Other production highlights include LOVE MISSILE, an original anti-war musical (2003); BENEDICTUS, a collaboration of Iranian, Israeli, and American artists (2007); ECSTASY | A WATERFABLE, Denmo Ibrahim’s ensemble-generated play inspired by a Sufi fable (2009); the first Middle East America commission NIGHT OVER ERZINGA by Adriana Sevahn Nichols (2011); and Yussef El Guindi’s LANGUAGE ROOMS, co-produced with the Asian American Theatre Company and presented in San Francisco and Los Angeles to critical acclaim (2012). Golden Thread has premiered three plays by its artistic director in recent years: 444 DAYS (2013) exploring the aftermath of the Iran Hostage Crisis from a personal lens, THE FIFTH STRING (2014) commissioned by the Islamic Cultural Center of Northern California presenting the life of Ziryab, the 9th-century cultural trailblazer, and ISFAHAN BLUES (2015) a ground-breaking co-production with the African American Shakespeare Company inspired by Duke Ellington Orchestra’s tour to Iran in 1963. In 2016, the company celebrated its 20th Anniversary with critically acclaimed productions including, the world premiere of THE MOST DANGEROUS HIGHWAY in the World by Kevin Artigue and OUR ENEMIES: LIVELY SCENES OF LOVE AND COMBAT by Yussef El Guindi. Along with mainstage productions, Golden Thread has presented the ReOrient Festival of Short Plays since 1999; introduced Bay Area audiences to emerging work in its annual New Threads staged reading series; and introduced youth and families to fables from the Middle East through its Theatre for Young Audiences program, Fairytale Players. Each year, Golden Thread celebrates international women’s day in “What do the Women Say?” showcasing the work of women artists of Middle Eastern heritage

Community Stories

11 Stories from Volunteers, Donors & Supporters

1

Board Member

Rating: 5

Golden Thread does an amazing job telling the stories of the Middle East in a complex and beautiful way. They reach audiences of all ages and backgrounds and help build bridges in these divided times.

1

Board Member

Rating: 5

In the 40 years I have lived in the U.S. I've never known a time when messages about tolerance, inclusion and understanding of the others and their experience have been more urgent. Golden Thread Productions delivers that message with conviction and a lot of hard work while providing first rate entertainment.

1

Board Member

Rating: 5

Golden Thread produces and presents important work about a wide variety of Middle Eastern cultures and perspectives in a way that is both thought-provoking and entertaining.

1

Advisor

Rating: 5

The first company in the U.S. to focus on the stories "of and by the peoples of the Middle East", Golden Thread Productions is an artistic home for a burgeoning movement of Middle East - American artists and projects. They are inclusive and welcoming, offering a safe space for exploring and learning. In a world of tension and heated rhetoric, Golden Thread Productions has consistently offered its audiences a home for thoughtfulness, education and insight. They have made and continue to make an essential and precious contribution to non-violent public discourse.

1 Termeh Y.

Professional with expertise in this field

Rating: 5

There's simply no other theater company like it!!
For over 20 years, Golden Thread Productions has promoted plays about the middle east and playwrights who otherwise may not have an opportunity to see their plays on the American stage.

The company, established during the most turbulent political times, has played a pivotal role by providing a platform for discussion and contemplation of wide ranging perspectives. It has nurtured a widely misrepresented community through well informed programing and quality production, and has established itself as a resource for the theater community and the community at large.

1

Board Member

Rating: 5

Golden Thread Productions continues to produced narratives that are seldom told on the American stage. The company is committed to rich quality work that stretches artistic lenses. It is my honor to give this organization a stellar review from the perspective as an actor and a Board Member.

1 odcikin

Professional with expertise in this field

Rating: 5

Golden Thread has given many Middle Eastern-American theatre artists (including me) a home for 20 plus years. Its mission and the way it operates are inclusive, thoughtful, and deeply necessary. The company does important and politically challenging work especially today as these communities face attacks from the highest reaches of our government.

1

Professional with expertise in this field

Rating: 5

Golden Thread is an absolute gem. They put on thought-provoking, entertaining, and necessary plays from under- (or un-) represented voices. I am very grateful to have gotten the chance to be a collaborator and audience member over the past 15 years. I’ve spoken with many audience members over the years and heard first-hand what an impact Golden Thread’s shows have on them. Art, and especially art that asks us and helps us to understand those who are different from us, is vital right now. Golden Thread’s voice is vital.

1

Professional with expertise in this field

Rating: 5

An important and vital theater (a necessary theater) in the US cultural landscape telling stories few other theaters tell.

1

Donor

Rating: 5

For over two decades, Golden Thread Productions has been featuring high-quality, provocative theatre from and about the Middle East by nurturing the work of established and emerging playwrights and actors. Golden Thread's children's arm, Fairy Tale Players, performs for school-age kids in schools, libraries and cultural centers and in the process, builds bridges, educates and inspires young audiences all over the San Francisco Bay Area. Engaging audiences from all background is integral to Golden Thread's mission.

The experienced staff and board value integrity, diversity, trust and quality. I cannot recommend Golden Thread more highly to anyone looking to get involved in the arts in the Bay Area.

1

Professional with expertise in this field

Rating: 5

For more than 20 years, Golden Thread Productions has been my artistic home. This is the place where I feel at my best, able to take creative risks, and develop as an artist. Golden Thread has given me a place to tell my stories. If it were not for this theatre comapny, I am not sure I would still be around, at least not as an artist.