Noor Theatre is an OBIE Award–winning company that supports, develops, and produces the work of theater artists of Middle Eastern descent. Led by Founding Artistic Director Lameece Issaq, an award-winning actor and writer, Noor was created to develop artists’ voices and share their often-unheard stories with a diverse audience. Noor’s aim is to allow artists to control the narratives about their own cultures and to eliminate stereotypical and/or dangerous portrayals of Middle Eastern people.
Noor Theatre will pilot a new commissioning program that supports three Middle Eastern American writers to create new work that reflects and responds to key ideas and narratives swirling at the center of contemporary American culture. Ensuring that the unique perspectives of Middle Eastern Americans are given a platform, this grant will enable the company to curate and support a cohort of writers to conceptualize new scripts or treatments (for theater, TV, film, transmedia, social media or VR) that reflect their own experiences, address issues relative to their respective heritages and those that intersect with the pop culture for social change fields.
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“Noor’s greater vision is to counteract stereotypical portrayals of Middle Easterners in entertainment and media by giving storytellers of Middle Eastern descent the power to create and guide their own narratives. Negative images and depictions are wildly powerful, so much so that they can create bias and dangerous groupthink, and—as we’ve seen—affect law and policy. Effective storytelling engenders empathy, and by putting the power of creation squarely in the hands of our artists, we create space for our diverse communities to be seen, heard, and valued.” – Lameece Issaq, Co-founder