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Silk Road Rising

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Nonprofit Overview

Causes: Arts & Culture, Cultural & Ethnic Awareness, International, Promotion of International Understanding, Theater

Mission: Silk Road Rising creates live theatre and online videos that tell stories through primarily Asian American and Middle Eastern American lenses. In representing communities that intersect and overlap, we advance a polycultural worldview.

Community Stories

59 Stories from Volunteers, Donors & Supporters

1

Professional with expertise in this field

Rating: 5

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.

1

Donor

Rating: 5

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.

1

Donor

Rating: 5

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!

1

Donor

Rating: 5

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!

2

Professional with expertise in this field

Rating: 5

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!

1

Professional with expertise in this field

Rating: 5

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.

1

Client Served

Rating: 5

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.

1 Joshua B.1

Professional with expertise in this field

Rating: 5

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.

1

Professional with expertise in this field

Rating: 5

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.

1 Bonita B.

Client Served

Rating: 5

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!

1

Professional with expertise in this field

Rating: 5

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.

1

General Member of the Public

Rating: 5

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.

1

General Member of the Public

Rating: 5

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!

1

General Member of the Public

Rating: 5

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!

1

General Member of the Public

Rating: 5

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

1

Board Member

Rating: 5

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.

1

Donor

Rating: 5

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.

1

General Member of the Public

Rating: 5

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.

1

General Member of the Public

Rating: 4

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.

1

General Member of the Public

Rating: 5

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.