Silk Road Rising has changed theater in America in important and meaningful ways, but more important than that they have made the American cultural conversation more rich and inclusive. From the start, they have created a rare and effecting platform for writers from a range of historically marginalized communities to develop their unique individual voices and establish sustainable careers while engaging audiences who identify with their stories - stories that are unlike any ever told before on this nation’s stages.
The leaders at Silk Road have a brilliant grasp on process at all stages, from supporting artists as they develop new work, to producing shows and events that attract audiences (while remaining skilled stewards of artists’ visions), to the most important phase of all, engaging a diverse cross section of their community in complex discussions about contemporary American life that their productions provoke. And they support every part of this pipeline with rigor, generosity, and grace.
I speak from experience because I have been a frequent collaborator with this important company during my time as artistic director of the Lark. We supported many playwrights in the Silk Road Rising family as they developed their plays, and partnered with Silk Road and Golden Thread Productions on three rounds of the Middle East America Fellowship, a national initiative for recruiting, supporting, and advocating for writers of the Middle Eastern diaspora in this country, starting at a time after 8/11 when xenophobia was on the rise.
More recently, I have been collaborating with Silk Road on a playwright commissioning project called Poetic Justice as well as in the development of their Polycultural Institute, which looks for ways to embrace and participate in difference. See this link for some of the thinking Silk Road has devoted to this concept: http://www.multimeetspoly.org/endorsements
I am excited for all the work they will continue to make!
I have worked with this company a number of times and they go above and beyond when it comes to respecting and compensating their artists. Always striving to provide a supportive environment where artists feel safe to take risks is one of Silk Road Rising's hallmarks. Great company.
I love Silk Road Rising. I am grateful that they elevate the voices of immigrant playwrights of color, that they examine important social issues of minority groups that are generally not addressed in mainstream theater, and their commitment to diversity and equity (long before this term became fashionable). And most importantly I love their creativity and their ability to do more with less.
Although I taught ESL and therefore, interacted with people of different cultures all the time, I find that Silk Road productions always teach me something, and they do so while at the same time entertaining me and touching my heart. The options Silk Road offers playwrights, actors, poets, musicians, and other artists, results in programs unlike others I see here in Chicago, and these unique presentations make them a true diamond in our city.
Silk Road rising tackles topics and issues that others in the arts world ignore (or being generous perhaps do not address). It is a Chicago treasure and is particularly focusses on bringing out positive aspects of asian and middle eastern culture and to show that ultimately we all share the same values. For example Christmas Mubarak showed the similarities between Islam and Christianity that most are not aware of
Over the years since we moved to Chicago in 2006, my husband and I have become enthusiastic supporters of Silk Road Rising. We appreciate not only the varied and innovative theater productions but also the educational outreach that happens both online and in-person. During 2021 I have had a special opportunity to work with staff as part of the ongoing Christmas Mubarak project, portraying Jesus in the Qur’an and Islamic tradition. As a professor of biblical studies and interreligious relations, I was asked to invite a group of interfaith scholars and leaders to contribute reflections on the script and on a video clip of a partial dramatic reading. The resulting six essays will eventually be posted online and will appear in the play’s program book. An observation from an Egyptian Muslim professor illustrates this project’s potential for building understanding and friendship across religious boundaries: “To live together, we do not need to share the same beliefs; we need to have the same heart. I commend the play for foregrounding this point early with these words: 'But it is important to note that we are not attempting, in any way, to deny, erase, blend, or blur the very real differences between Judaism, Christianity, and Islam. This isn’t about obscuring the beauty and wisdom of each tradition.'” CSLChicago
Silk Road Rising believes in the power of stories to educate, motivate, and enhance the lives of people. The organization tells stories of communities of the traditional Silk Road communities that have often been overlooked, ignored, or downplayed. But equally importantly, Silk Road Rising encourages students and people in underrepresented and underserved communities to tell their own stories by teaching them how to write plays and then having professionals perform the plays for the larger community. One of the most moving occurrences of this was a play I saw performed recently by Silk Road Rising actors. It was written by an Arab immigrant young woman who is developmentally disabled, telling the story of how she surprised her parents by showing how much she could do that they did not realize. The play broke so many stereotypes and was so moving that I am sure it touched and educated many people and did a remarkable service to the community.
SRR is a welcoming place for storytellers and those eager to hear stories. With a diverse body of artists and educators, the company is a pride of Chicago and a phenomenal culture center nationwide.
We all know that Silk Road Rising is recognized as an outstanding institution for the cultural and educational impacts it has had far beyond its home in the metropolitan Chicago community. In addition, however, it also gave my wife and me an opportunity to become close friends with one of the most interesting people we had ever met. Some years ago, I attended a community lecture about cultural arts in Syria presented by Riad Ismat, an author, educator and diplomat who had once been the Syrian ambassador to Pakistan and more recently the Syrian government's Minister of Culture before he and his family were forced to flee his country. By chance, we happened to meet again at a theater performance at Silk Road Rising, and we subsequently attended several more performances together over the next few seasons. During this time, our families became close friends and remained so until his untimely death in 2020 as a result of COVID-19. I'll always be grateful to Silk Road Rising not only for the excellence of its leadership and programming, but also for attracting a diverse, interesting and thoughtful audience--of which my friend Riad was a devoted member.
Silk Road Rising helps me understand the experiences of immigrants and minorities. It 's presentations change the way I think and act in my life, especially in regard to these issues.
I would be much less aware and informed with out it.
This is theater with its community front and center: making plays, sharing stories, aware of human fragility but celebrating the strength of emotional bonds. No one else does what Silk Road does, but the wonder is that they do such an exceptional job with slim resources. Kudos to the whole team.
Silk Road Rising is a much needed community-centered art-making and arts service organization that challenges various stereotypes by cultivating new narratives that aim to promote a culture of continuous learning.
I've been a follower of Silk Road Rising since around 2012 (or perhaps even before that) when I took a small group of high school students to a performance of "Yellow Face." Even though the school year had ended, they chose to attend as a result of studying a unit on biases and stereotypes. A few years afterwards, students thanked me for taking them to a show that portrayed Asian people on stage--something they had not seen before. Subsequently, I've attended other performances at Silk Road, two of my favorites being "Mosque Alert" and "Great Expectations," the latter in an Indian setting. This company presents real issues to its audiences (including my students) in a way that's constructive, thought-provoking, and empathic. 5 stars & thumbs up! Thank you.
I have been a subscriber and donor to Silk Road Rising for many years. I can only say that every city or town should have a theater group that portrays the multicultural aspects of our society as well as they do. Their portrayals of people from other cultures are always stunning theatrical and educational experiences. We all must continue to see them to be made aware that we are all the same under our skin.
I have been attending productions since the company was simply :
"Silk Road" I probably have attended over 20 productions. I will turn 74 in November and have been involved in social justice causes since 7th grade. a lot of my work is faith based and interfaith and inter cultural. Every time I see a Silk Road Rising Production I learn something about the culture portrayed while seeing universal themes. I like that the productions are rooted in the culture portrayed but often deal with universal themes like generational and class divides; The
The talk backs after are great and I have heard audience members kid around that the characters are just like the parents, neighbors or kids of their ethnic group,
The acting is outstanding and the scrips are well written. I remember seeing a father son conflict play which I think was about a Korean family after seeing generational conflict plays over the 50 or more years of attending Chicago plays, I have them deal with many racial, ethnic and class groups and I thought the silk Road was of the best acted of the many I saw.
We need more theaters like Silk Road Rising!
We have partnered with Silk Road Rising to bring empathic play writing classes to our middle school students for the past three years. EPIC is wonderful program that helps students understand multiple perspectives while writing a short play. My favorite day is when professional actors come to school to perform the short plays. I give Silk Road Rising 5 stars!
Unfortunately, my own time constraints have limited my interactions with Silk Road Rising. But every time I have attended a performance, or joined the audience for something online during the pandemic, I have been grateful for how the company has enriched us all by bringing us voices and stories we would not otherwise hear. Doing any culturally creative work is hard; financing it is harder, and hardest of all is continuing despite personal and situational obstacles. Nevertheless, Silk Road Rising has persevered and continued its important work. Hats off!
Silk Road Rising never disappoints. I have been transported to different countries, different cultures and different times. Sometimes I have been seated in the theater and other times in my living space. These travails have provided me with great insights, different perspectives and superb storytelling. What's not to like?
Silk Road Rising is an essential part of Chicago's theater and arts community, sharing with its audiences thought-provoking stories reflecting the rich diversity of our city.
Silk Road Rising Theatre not only shares incredibly moving and thought-provoking stories, but also fosters strong communities to hear different voices, to exchange ideas and values, to heal together, as well as to grow, on the national and international levels.
As an international student and emerging artist in the U.S., I felt extremely fortunate to get connected to the Silk Road Rising family. Everyone is so kind, so supportive, and genuinely caring! It was so refreshing and exciting to see stories that reflect on various cultures, histories and people including my own.
Every time I saw a show at Silk Road Rising, I felt like a different person, because I've learned something new. And each story I saw at Silk Road would stick for me, because these stories are told from the heart. I really loved all the well-facilitated post-show talks; it reminds me of why I love theatre and why I think we need theatre--that is, to be with people and community, to empathize, to debate, to be challenged, to listen, and to reflect on our lives, our relationships with others, and the society we live in.
Silk Road Rising Theatre also provides so much support and incredible resources for young artists. Thanks to Silk Road Rising, I got the chance to collaborate with many amazing local artists developing new plays, contribute to their education program, as well as to connect with other artists in the U.S. I can't articulate my gratitude towards the Silk Road Family enough. I've never been to any theatre that makes me feel more at home like Silk Road Rising!
Highly recommend Silk Road Rising-- heartfelt shows, innovative programs, amazing people, and a warm family for anyone who needs a community.
I have worked with Silk Road Rising over the past few years, and have loved every opportunity. The work they do is important, necessary, and cultivates remarkable empathy and creativity in every community they work with. Honored to work with them and support their continued success!
Silk Road Rising helps amplify voices of often underrepresented and underserved communities. They foster a community that welcomes and educates with open arms and minds!
This visionary group brings awareness to an expanding, international community with:
Integrity, Justice, Tackling Issues, Outreach, New Perspectives, Boldness, Leaping Borders,
I have taught for Silk Road Rising's education program called Empathic Playwriting Intensive Course (EPIC) for 4 years now and I love working with this company! They always make me feel valued, supported, and appreciated! They bring stories to Chicago that most other companies never do.
In the past three years I have been fortunate enough to be part of Silk Road Rising's EPIC team of Teaching Artists- and I feel so grateful to be part of their network. From a fourth grade playwriting class on the South Side of Chicago, a summer program for high school students being exposed to theatre on the North Side of Chicago, to a virtual playwriting class for English-Language Learners for adults- Silk Road Rising continues to make a tremendous positive impact to every different community it touches. Through giving students from all ages and backgrounds the tools to tell stories- the EPIC curriculum uplifts so many lives. People who never explored the power in sharing their voice, leave feeling validated and important through the work that Silk Road Rising directly provides. They are truly a team committed to "talking the talk" through their important well-respected productions that captivate so many audiences in Chicago while also "walking the walk" of their mission in classrooms all over the city.
Jamil and Malik and everyone I've encountered in the Silk Road Rising family embrace their mission and diligently and creatively work toward broadening understanding about ways faith, life, and culture intersect. SRR helps me feel more closely connected with people I thought were vastly different from myself, and have enabled me to realize, through their myriad creative projects and ways of storytelling, that there is more to love about the world than to fear.
Silk Road Rising is a place where diverse communities can feel at home, can debate, create and develop artistically. It is a place where bonds are made, where ideas are nourished and where theatre, art and poetry are given a stage to reflect the richness of all the cultures that Silk Road Rising represent. It is a place where fantastic thought-provoking rich theatre gets made, but beyond that, it is the place where theatre serves and speaks directly to the communities it represents in an evolving dialogue that addresses our Otherness and sameness.
Silk Road Rising helped many superb playwrights and artists start their careers and nurtured them throughout the way. It gave stage to voices that were otherwise considered marginal. In that regard, it really paved the way for the other diverse theatres in Chicago scene to take space.
It innovated the way theatre is made and consumed by developing its online content since 2012, long before the Covid pandemic. It was innovative then and ahead of its time, and it continues to be. By doing that, it reached many individuals and communities who wouldn't (or couldn't) traditionally access theatre beyond the confines of 4 walls or national borders.
It is no exaggeration to say that Silk Road Rising is a place where magic happens.
Silk Road Rising is an incredible organization. In addition to creating great theatre, they are actively involved in building and facilitating community both within their walls and in the surrounding Chicago neighborhoods.
As a former professor and current PhD student specializing in Arab Theatre, Silk Road Rising has been instrumental in my work. Early on, as I began my research, I kept seeing references to Silk Road Rising, again and again. Then the anthology Four Arab American Plays came out (with an amazing Afterword by Founding Artistic Director Jamil Khoury) and two plays that premiered at Silk Road, and my trajectory as a scholar and theatre practitioner suddenly shifted. New possibilities began to arise because I now had texts I could use to teach. Many books have followed suit, each owing something to Silk Road Rising.
Silk Road Rising has exposed so many people, my theatre students included to experiences that shatter their stereotypes of Middle Eastern peoples. SRR has allowed my students of Middle Eastern heritage to get to see and imagine themselves, in all their intersectionality, living on stage. Middle Eastern Americans are finally being represented in ways that ring truthful and complex. Silk Road Rising’s contributions to that representation have been innumerable.
Silk Road Rising feels like my artistic family and I always look forward to opportunities to work with this company. They treat their artists with compassion and care, and the administration is deeply generous with their time, attention, and resources. The company has also forged strong bonds with its greater Chicago community of artists & audiences, and is truly doing the work to ensure that its artistic output is aligned with what the community needs. I’m proud of the company’s approach and ethos and I recommend Silk Road Rising in the highest of terms.
Through multimodality programs, Silk Road Rising (SRR) provides a uniquely accessible space and experience for a diversity of people in the Chicago area and beyond. SRR also builds relationships and collaborations with scholars and artists of different perspectives, and as a result, creates cutting-edge artistic productions.
Although I am now an associate artist of Silk Road Rising (SRR), my connection to the organization started several years earlier as an audience member. Every theater organization has a mission, and a mission statement, that it uses to guide its programing and activities. Silk Road Rising actually "lives" its mission in every aspect of the word. Not only does it provide the programming that supports its mission, but it also transcends the direct experience resulting from the plays and events by creating a culturally inspired atmosphere that explores the numerous ideas, dilemmas, conflicts, and cultural idiosyncrasies that they evoke. There is an ideological continuum that lives in the "mind" of the organization and spans over multiple productions and multiple seasons. It continues to live in discussion, discourse, and debate for several years. Perhaps an important factor that contributes to this phenomenon, beyond the clever and scrutinizing eye of the programmer that made the selections in the first place, is the loyalty of the audience. In my experience, a sizable portion of those who attend Silk Road Rising events are "regulars" who keep returning to the space for more of the cultural experience and discourse they so much enjoy. In doing so, they keep bringing newcomers from among their acquaintances, and the plays themselves keep attracting new patrons, previously unaware of the organization, that join in the discourse and enrich the conversation. This continual expansion to newer clientele along with the steadfast loyalty of the devoted followers ensures that the ideology never stagnates, but rather continues to evolve and thrive as it educates and entertains the constituency. I find that the strongest testimony to my statements here is what I consistently hear from audience members and artists alike as they call SRR their cultural/artistic "home". The atmosphere I described above, created by the organization, is so welcoming, engaging, and inclusive that it invites every person involved to feel transported to a different world where the adversities of the outer world cease to exist for a few hours, where being different is encouraged and celebrated, and where the human experience blooms.
My journey with SRR started over the past two decades. I found myself always engaged, always contributing to discussion, and excited to volunteer and help. As my craft continued to grow and evolve in parallel, the organization also noticed me and my work. I have had the honor to work with SRR artists and professionals on several projects related to my cultural background where I acted as a consultant and/or collaborator. I always admired the respect the organization displays for cultures we often call "other", and the depth of engagement it practices in preserving the original valuation of ideas and norms belonging to those. The culmination of my experience with SRR came in the fall of 2019 when my play "Twice, Thrice, Frice..." was produced. The care and support the organization provided to the process and all the artists involved by far surpassed my dreams. They not only wanted to mount this work, they wanted it to have the societal impact it was attempting to make. The few months I spent at SRR working with world-class artists on producing this play rank near the top of any experiences I have handing my life. I am so thankful for everything Silk Road Rising has given me, especially the opportunity to call it "home".
Silk Road Rising aims to engage the Chicago community in a diverse cultural exchange designed to make us aware of each other's worlds, and it does so to perfection.
Silk Road Rising is a great nonprofit theatre. This company, which represents a dazzling array of theatre artists with heritages from East Asia to the Middle East, has brought countless important stories to Chicago stages, to internet platforms, and to community centers. Their work has embraced so many communities, changed so many artists' lives, and has uplifted so many great American playwrights. This company deserves far more attention and funding than it receives. Unfortunately, in an American theatre that is more concerned with staging Shakespearean plays and large, flashy musicals, companies like Silk Road Rising are often left with less funding and smaller audiences than they deserve. It is vital that an award winning nonprofit like Silk Road Rising, which is headed by the outstanding co-Artistic Directors Jamil Khoury and Malik Gillani, be given more credence. The stories they tell are fundamentally American stories from immigrant communities that comprise the rich mosaic of our nation. These are the plays that are telling American audiences about what is happening in communities all around them, yet are being ignored by mainstream media and entertainment. Silk Road Rising is a company that provides audiences with deeply moving, deeply thoughtful plays and productions. At a time when our nation is being asked to reckon with its past, the stories told by this company are important harbingers of events to come. We should be listening more to this vital artistic voice calling out to all of us.
Every time I have watched a Silk Road Rising production, I have left the theater uplifted and inspired.
I value the time I have spent here working as a Teaching Artist. I have been with Silk Road Rising for just over 4 years now and I so appreciate many of my experiences. Working in the nonprofit sector is difficult work, there are so many hurdles to jump through when it comes to balancing funding with logistics and I know they do the best they can. It's important for me to work with a group that honors my time and skills and I have always been treated with deep respect for the work I bring I do. They provide their teaching artists with many small gestures of support and appreciation whenever they can. It's rare to find.
I've been attending shows at Silk Road Rising for 9 years now. The first shows I saw were excellent, and I continue to be impressed by the high quality of each production over the years. Silk Road Rising brings us experiences that are not available anywhere else in Chicago.
Each performance is followed by a talk-back, and the thoughtful audience comments and questions show that attendees are engaged and stimulated by what we have seen and heard. The productions help us thing about difficult issues in new and creative ways, and to test our assumptions about people who have different backgrounds than we do. And I say "we" meaning a very heterogeneous audience—individuals of different races and cultures and life experiences in the seats as well as on the stage. We can all find points of connection as well as points where we differ, and we all learn from each other.
I can only hope that Silk Road Rising will grow and prosper and continue to bring their unique and valuable gift to Chicago and beyond.
Silk Road excels in telling stories that increase empathy for diverse communities and interests. It also provides excellent tools and outreach to those not empowered to tell their own stories. It truly is a new silk road for spreading ideas from around the world, while weaving a web connecting the disconnected in our part of the world. I wish there were more organizations with its social values.
I've had an opportunity to review Silk Road Rising's governance. Exceptional in a word. Bravo!
I have been fortunate enough to have attended, for the past decade, many of 'Silk Road Rising's' stimulating and thought-provoking productions/pieces. Each production brings to life the real-life situations of peoples' cultural, political and sexual experiences, which makes this company stand out.
One will learn and be amazed by the creativity and ingenuity of the writers, directors and actors, who give their blood, sweat and tears to each piece. Be a part of it!
I moved to Chicago three months ago after having spent the past eight years in the Pacific islands of Guam and Hawaii, teaching and mentoring students across a wide spectrum of academic and artistic disciplines. My return to the Midwest is an opportunity to share my lessons of interconnectivity from the complex cultures of the Pacific islands, Asia and the Middle East.
This idea of working with students through EPIC (EMPATHIC PLAYWRITING INTENSIVE COURSE) through imagination and story telling, is a valued opportunity to support our education and connect it into the magic of the theatre. This notion is deeply personal to me. My struggle to find my own voice, and to express it through my art and teaching experience, allow me to support the EPIC program throughout the Chicagoland area.
Diversity is the core of my identity—as an immigrant, as a learner, a thinker and a teacher. I do look forward to the opportunity of contributing to Silk Road Rising, to champion the voices of local students and seniors, and to work within a talented educational team.
I take pleasure serving my community.
I am lucky and grateful to be a part of Silk Road Rising's family. Silk Road Rising is my invitation to continue and create a kind, patient and peacful community. And this is the great live journey toward change.
I've found my home away from home.
Thank you again for having me. It is going to be EPIC!
Silk Road gave me the opportunity to change the lives of the youth in the a way I always wanted to do. What I thought would just be table read turned out to be an insight into the stories that youth want to hear more of. As an actor, I am constantly reading for stories that are not for me or, stories that are supposed to represent me but are not written by someone who looks like me. Silk Road's Playwriting Program showed me that there is hope in our youth to speak on the issues we need to bring forward and to uplift those in our communities that have the potential to change the landscape of American Theater.
In spring 2018, Silk Road Rising produced the premiere of my play Through the Elevated Line. The experience was deeply rewarding. Much of that had to do with the impressive commitment and passion that the people of Silk Road Rising unfailingly bring to their work, and the respect and dedication they generously give to artists like me. Silk Road Rising is a class-act theater company and nonprofit.
Silk Road Rising creates work that challenges negative preconceptions and breaks through racial and cultural barriers. They tell the stories we need to hear and provide a forum to celebrate our shared humanity.
Silk Road Rising is an essential space in Chicago as it provides a multicultural space that addresses important conversations regarding Middle Eastern and Asian populations in America through storytelling. It also gives voice to actual human beings from those communities and allows them to speak for themselves about their experiences.
I am a white American citizen who believes that every person should be able to live in the USA without harassment and to worship as conscience dictates. The stories I see on the stage and in the creativity of the Silk Road Rising team help me to understand the problems immigrants must deal with, many of which can't be helped and others that can be helped by caring people. I welcome immigrants and especially those seeking asylum; they, along with my children and grandchildren, will be the future of our country and we should welcome them!
Having been involved with Silk Road as an actor as well as an audience member, I can say with confidence that they are one of the finest companies in the city. As a performer, I have rarely experienced such care, attention to detail, and support throughout the rehearsal process and performance run. Silk Road care deeply about their actors and I would work with them again in a heartbeat.
As an audience member, I am consistently impressed with the variety of stories being told on their stage. Silk Road is deeply committed to its community; involving them in talk backs post-performance, workshops, and other learning opportunities to ensure that communication goes both ways. If you are looking for a place which values storytelling on and off stage, Silk Road is it.
Silk Road Rising has talented actors, interesting sets, and very creative playwrights. I particularly enjoy their plays because the issues that are raised in the stories do so much to humanize people from Middle Eastern and Asian cultures. Malik Gillani, Executive Director, and Jamil Khoury, Artistic Director, deserve the credit for this unique theatre. Because of them, I know that this theatre will continue to produce interesting, enjoyable and important productions.
Silk Road Rising is very special to me as a South Asian. For much of my three decades living in the United States, my culture has been the subject of either jokes or mystification. SRR has given me great hope for a fuller view and a way to interrogate my own understanding of who I am, where I come from, and where I may be going. And I would add that Malik and Jamil have such a beautiful presence about them. They embrace those who come to SRR with warmth. I feel like I'm with family!
Years ago when a former Chinese graduate student friend from China visited us with his young family in Valparaiso, IN and his young children were playing with ours, an elderly neighbor greeted me. In friendly terms he asked which country our friends came from. When I said China, he replied incredulously, "but their skin is like ours." In this small town this man never saw Asian people. He probably assumed the "yellow race" should have canary yellow skin and to see otherwise caused him to alter his perspective. This is the great value of "Silk Road Rising" because through education and theater they positively change people's perspectives. I believe our present world needs this more than ever!
We have been supporting this theatre for several years. When I say we I mean a group of 8 friends. We have loved every staged reading, every fi wished play, and every talk back we have attended. We rarely miss one. They are all well acted, interesting and thought provoking. The topics very widely ranging from very funny to very serious. The atmosphere is cozy. The people are talented, personable and friendly. Feels like family. 9
Silk Road Rising tells stories. People sometimes think stories are entertainment; but, if they think about it, they realize that stories create our identities. My family are Arab-Americans. For most of my life, I never heard anyone outside my family circle tell stories about Arabs or Arab-Americans. After 9/11 there were a lot of stories, but they were pretty much all negative, mostly untrue, and inciting hatred. Silk Road Rising filled that gap for me and for many others whose ethnic heritage comes from the Silk Road countries. Hearing one's stories is life changing. It teaches me that my personal history and identity matter, that I am part of something bigger than myself, and that everyone in the community has a story. We all grow when we share those stories. Even more important in these times, I think, is the fact that Silk Road Rising is not about identity politics or creating narrow definitions of people. It is about showing what we have in common and showing that even where we are different, we are not separated by our differences but enriched by them. Through its EPIC program in the city's schools, Silk Road Rising is moving this experience of empathy into the coming generation, ensuring that they will have a head start on creating a vibrant, integrated, and diverse community or the future.
Our experiences attending Silk Road Rising (SRR) performances are thought provoking. The story lines bring to life human experiences of cultures we, unfortunately, rarely experience in real time. SRR truly is a gift in the heart of Chicago.
Silk Road is an amazing, creative and contemporary company. I love their cutting edge plays, that provide the curious and uninitiated individual with deep insight into the lesser known cultures and mores. They provide a service that is desperately needed in present turbulent polarized times.
Thank you guys, you are loved.
Silk Road has been doing wonderful work to promote the modern and traditional aspects of personal and social experiences of Asians and Asian-Americans, along with current events, to the public through stories brought to life in new contemporary plays.
Extraordinary artistic, noble, and activist theatre!
The two founders (from Middle-Eastern/Caucasian/Muslim/Christian/gay backgrounds) founded the theatre to promote cultural understanding in response to the 9/11 attacks.
Their artistic work is fantastic; they put up entertaining, thought-provoking plays working with both established and up-and-coming talent.
They reach out to the community with educational initiatives, discussion panels, online plays, essays, and more. Silk Road Rising and its tireless founders (who frequently greet guests after shows) is taking the Chicago arts scene and cultural understanding to another level. During these interesting times, the world needs Silk Road Rising more than ever.
Silk Road Rising is a company that I have seen many shows at and participated in many events as an audience member. The work they produce is always stellar and eye opening in a way that creates conversations that are not always easy to have given the current political climate. They are a pillar in the Chicago theatre community with a staff that is always extremely welcoming and helpful. As an artist, I am proud to say that their shows have informed not only my career, but my personal life.
A theater that thrives on presenting eye-opening (and mind opening) productions exploring how we are different-- and the same. They tell the experiences of the people whose ancestry is along the Silk Road, from the middle east to the Pacific; exploring issues that are both relevant to today, and timeless.
I have attended most of the plays produced by Silk Road Rising and enjoyed them all.
As an Arab-American, Muslim and a woman they speak to me more than other productions.
The plays are current, creative, informative and break down many stereotypes.
I have brought high school students to see the plays and Silk Road Rising has worked with several of Chicago Public High Schools.
They have been a reflection of Chicago as a global city!
Having attended about 12 performances in the past few years, I have always been so impressed with both the production and content of what I have seen. Each performance has both entertained me and, more importantly, educated me to ways of thinking I had not understood or considered. When I can walk away from a performance and have had my ways of thinking challenged – I consider myself better for having seen it. Silk Road continues to be my go to place for as many of the performances as my schedule allows me to see. AND, those who run Silk Road have always made me feel very welcome and shows great appreciation for my attendance. It’s always a very personal experience.
Silk Road Rising is a unique nonprofit that tells important stories in compelling ways. The opportunity to learn about and understand Asian-American and Middle Eastern-American experiences is critical in our age of fear and prejudice. Silk Road Rising productions raise issues that inspire, challenge and entertain us with creativity, variety and integrity. We are fortunate that they are located in Chicago.
An excellent theatre that truly prioritizes patron's experiences. Programming is current, nuanced, and offers diverse perspectives. Both Jamil and Malik really offer a personal face for the company and go out of their way to engage in a wide range of communities that they serve. A truly mission-aligned theatre, Silk Road Rising challenges and educates through great honesty, artistic rigor, and integrity.
We are retired educators who worked extensively with multicultural issues. Silk Road Rising is a major force in improving racial and multicultural relations in the Chicagoland area. Some folks are seeing, perhaps for the first time, their lives and issues presented on stage. Others are walking in other people's sandals--all in a non-threatening venue. Every performance is well thought out and honed to perfection. Authenticity is key. Plays, like life, are nuanced.
The Silk Road staff reaches out to subscribers and potential audience members in meaningful ways. Opinions are sought; feedback is important. Silk Road Rising always creates dialog.
What a great gift to the artistic community and to society at large! Malik and Jamil are amazing human beings.
Steve Ham and Jo Ellen Ham
I have had the pleasure to attend several Silk Road Rising performances over the last few years, and I am consistently floored by the magic they manage to work on stage. This is what theatre should be: well-performed, beautifully designed, substantive storytelling in a friendly, welcoming space (the founders, Malik and Jamil, are a delight). Even their staged readings shine with a polish so rarely found in quote/unquote "storefront" theatres. How lucky we are to have Silk Road Rising - a beacon of voices and talents so often overlooked by mainstream stages - just blocks away from the most iconic staples of the Chicago Theatre District. In my mind, Silk Road Rising contends with the best of them.
After having seen the investigative, creative, educational and dramatic role Silk Road Rising played in relation to Mosque Alert I remained amazed with the group's work ethic, its ability to communicate and raise consciousness as well as its dedication not only to the drama but also to the dialogue. Chicago could not be more fortunate to have a theater group like this in times like today. Once Elmhurst finally gets its dedicated performing arts location underway, the group will be on the top of the list of people I recommend. Well-run charity that makes the donation decision easy.
Silk Road is one of the most important voices in Chicago Theatre and in service of the entire community. Their work puts Chicago into the global conversation with fearless, challenging, and enlightening ideas in a passionate and compassionate context. The current production of Mosque Alert addresses one of the most critical topics we currently face and one in which we must all find our voices.
I am an actor and Silk Road Rising has been instrumental in helping my career to blossom. As a matter of fact, we were both "born" around the same time. I had come to Chicago in the Autumn of 2002 to pursue acting, and I somehow found out about this company then called Silk Road Theatre Project and the show they were mounting, Jamil Khoury's "Precious Stones". I attended a performance (it was actually one of the very first shows I had seen in the city) and immediately knew I had to reach out to them. I just knew we were right for each other; I am an Arab-American, and I was very interested in helping them with their mission of putting stories on stage that were written by playwrights of Asian/Middle Eastern ancestry featuring actors of similar ancestry. It was a perfect beginning for me, and over the course of the next decade, we worked together many, many times. I not only got to perform a few times in various remounts of "Precious Stones", but I participated in one of their biggest shows to date, "Merchant on Venice", as well as smaller- but every bit as interesting- staged readings. I've loved and appreciated it all. Working with Jamil and Malik is just a lovely experience every time; they are incredibly supportive and admiring of our work, and sit in the audience quite often during the run of a show, as they are such fans of the theatre. Working with them, in short, feels like coming home. I am incredibly grateful for getting to work with them so much over the years, and grateful to them for giving so many diverse artists a much-needed chance to shine.