News posted in September 2015
Silk Road Rising has received $150,000 Nation Grant (the largest grant in its history) from ArtPlace (sic) America, a consortium of foundations, financial institutions, and federal agencies. The grants are made to support the arts in a specific place within a community with the intent of having a broader impact on that community. For example, it might be a mosque in Naperville—and that's precisely it in this instance as Silk Road develops new work Mosque Alert, by Artistic Director Jamil Khoury. He explains Mosque Alert is "an artistic and civil engagement project that dramatizes the difficulties Muslims face across the country, due to Islamophobia and cultural biases, when attempting to build houses of worship."more »
There's a powerful bit of advice for theater actors or artists who complain about inherent biases or the lack of roles available to them in the industry. It's basically to stop complaining and go create or produce your own material.more »
What would happen if a mosque was built in the heart of downtown Naperville?
The creators of an evolving work of fiction inspired largely by the recent effort to open an Islamic worship center just outside Naperville have begun an 18-month residency in the city. They plan to gain community input aimed at answers to that rhetorical query.more »
Theatre makers are often called upon to respond to the challenges facing our world. It is assumed, rightfully so, that we contemplate those challenges, pose relevant questions, and conjure would-be “real life” scenarios through dramatized storytelling. And the global challenge I find most alluring? That beckoning gulf dividing nation-states and how they define national identity. I think a lot about nation-states and the cultures and identities they produce and export. Some of these polities are quite durable (including, I believe, the US), while many others won’t survive to see the 22nd century.more »
I think a lot about the representation of Muslims, particularly the representation of Muslim Diasporas, and especially the representation that occurs on stage. But what happens on stage rarely begins on stage. Images have a way of filtering up, gestating first in mainstream media before seizing dramatic license. The mass media manufactures images of Muslims, mainstream culture turns them into stereotypes, and playwrights—ideally—create context and nuance. So indulge me in a little theorizing and a propensity for thinking in threes. You’ll see what I mean in a moment.more »