Rohina Malik - Founding Artistic Director. She/Hers
R Malik is an award winning Chicago playwright, actress and solo performance artist. She was born and raised in London, England, of South Asian heritage. Her critically acclaimed one-woman play UNVEILED has been presented at theaters across the United States. Malik’s plays THE MECCA TALES and YASMINA'S NECKLACE were both nominated for a Joseph Jefferson Award for Best New Play. She is a Resident Playwright Emeritus at Chicago Dramatists and an Artistic Associate at Voyage Theater Company in NYC. Malik was selected to receive the 2018 Lee Reynolds Award, given annually to a woman active in any aspect of theater whose work has helped to illuminate the possibilities for social, cultural, or political change. Malik's plays have been produced at The Goodman Theater, Crossroads Theater NJ, Chicago Dramatists, Next Theater, Brava Theater, Voyage Theater Company, 16th Street theater, Victory Gardens theater, Silk Road Rising, Theater Project Baltimore, Mustard Seed Theater, New Rep in Boston, the Greater Boston Stage Company, Water Tower Theater in Dallas, PremiereStages in NJ and San Diego Rep. Rohina is a proud member of the Dramatists Guild of America. https://rohinamalik.weebly.com/
Maryam Abdi - Actor. She/Hers
Maryam is an Iranian-American actor from Seattle, Washington. She started her professional theatre career in Chicago in 2017, but has worked and lived abroad in Cameroon, France, India, and Iran throughout her artistic career. Shortly after her rigorous education as a double major in Theatre and French at the University of Evansville, Maryam was selected among top applicants across the country as a Fulbright Scholar, researching Theatre for Development in Cameroon, Africa. After her Yoga training in Mysore, India, Maryam became a Private Yoga Instructor first in Seattle, and continued her practice in Chicago. Maryam became a licensed Real Estate Agent with Keller Williams in January, 2021. Recent credits include: Trap Door Zoom Theatre, Sasha in Decomposed Theatre, George Fox University Zoom Theatre, Nadia in The Hijabis, The Gift Theatre, Laura/Bridesmaid in Kentucky (Jeff Award-Nominated), Firebrand Theatre, Barker/Ensemble in The Queen of the Mist (Jeff Award-Nominated); Pioneer Theatre (UT), Alais in Lion in Winter; Trap Door Theatre, Jane Fonda in Childhood Beauty, Into the Empty Sky (Jeff Award-Nominated), and Monsieur d’Eon is a Woman (Jeff Award-Nominated); Windy City Performs, Wicked Witch in the Wizard of Oz; Red Tape Theatre, Nanna in Round Heads and Pointed Heads (Jeff Award-Nominated); Remy Bumppo Theatre U/S in Frankenstein; Abdi is also an ensemble member with Red Tape Theatre and an associate ensemble member with Trap Door Theatre. She is proudly represented by DDO Artist’s Agency.
Bassam Abdelfattah - Actor and Writer - He/His
Bassam is an Egyptian American film and stage actor who lives in Chicago and has worked with several well-known Chicago theaters as well as The Public Theater in New York City. His television work includes Showtime's The Chi, Amazon's Philip K. Dick's Electric Dreams, and Fox Television's NeXt. He has also been in several indie films. Bassam recently started his own production company through which he wants to one day tell authentic stories of marginalized people.
Gamze Ceylan - Actor and Writer. She/Hers
Gamze is a Turkish/German Artist based in NYC. Recently seen in ‘Noura’ by Heather Raffo, dir. by Taibi Magar (The Guthrie), ‘Field,Awakening’ by Melis Aker, dir. by Tatiana Pandiani (Signature’s Ford Studio), ’The Same Day’ by Stefan Ivanov, dir. by John DiResta (La Guardia) and simultaneously in ‘The BEE’ by Sean Michael Welch, dir. by Melody Erfani (HB Studio). Other: a national tour of ‘There is a Field’ by Jen Marlowe, dir. by Noelle Ghoussaini, ’LoveRosePepe’ dir. by Handan Ozbilgin Bromley (Target Margin Lab, Connelly) , ’A Doll’s House-Remix’ with Epic Theatre Company, ‘The Wishing Tree’ by Mustafa Kaymak, dir. by Awoye Timpo (Signature’s Ford Studio), ‘The Butcher’ by Gwydion Suilebhan (Players), ‘the wall: a story of the land’ by Noelle Ghoussaini (Brooklyn Lyceum), ‘Lidless’ by Francis Ya-Chu Cowhig, dir. by Seth Rozin (Philadelphia’s InterAct), ‘Neither Heaven Nor Earth’ by John Hansen-Brevetti (New School), ‘Twelfth Night’ with Aquila (Lincoln Center) ,’The Director’ by Barbara Cassidy and ‘Linus and Alora’ by Andrew Irons (both @ Flea Theater). Film/TV: ‘‘Leylak’ (Mustafa Kaymak* Sundance Winner), ‘Tales of the City’ (Netflix), ‘Ben is Back’ (dir. Peter Hedges), ’Seven Seconds’ (Netflix), ’Roadkill’, ‘Blue Reflections’, ’Little Syria’, ‘Louder Than Words’, ‘Departures’, ‘David’, ‘Wishing’ and Law & Order: SVU ‘Funny Valentine’. www.gamzeceylan.com
Jo Chalhoub - Company Stage Manager -They/She
Jo Chalhoub is a proud Lebanese-American, Queer, Milwaukee, WI native that has lived and worked in the Madison, WI area since 2010. She holds a minor in Theatre Arts from UW-Milwaukee and has worked on- and off-stage on over 70 productions with Wisconsin community and professional companies, UW-Madison, and The Overture Center. Jo believes in theater arts as a form of social change and positive healing and strives to be an active advocate of equity and representation for all marginalized communities. When not actively stage managing, Jo is a member of Forward Theater Company’s Advisory Company, works as an independent fight choreographer and actor, and is a full time social worker.
Amira Danan - Actor and Writer. She/Hers
Amira Danan is a Moroccan American actor and writer who grew up in Corvallis, Oregon. After attending Northwestern University, she fell in love with Chicago and decided to make it her new home. She holds a BA in Theatre, Musical Theatre, and Playwriting with a minor in African-American Studies from Northwestern, and is represented by Paonessa Talent Agency. Her professional acting credits include:A Doll’s House (Raven Theatre), Comedy of Errors (Chicago Shakespeare), Bernhardt/Hamlet (Goodman Theatre), and Southern Gothic (Windy City Playhouse). Regional credits include School Girls (TheatreSquared), and the world premiere of Ever in the Glades by Laura Schellhardt (The John F. Kennedy Center for Performing Arts). International credits include Little Shop of Horrors (U.S. Embassy to Bosnia and Herzegovina's cultural diplomacy tour). Her play Afrocensored had a reading at Northwestern University's MLK Festival, and another with 20% Theatre Company in Chicago. Her ten-minute play milk was published in the Black Lives Black Words anthology. Another short piece, end of the end, was chosen for Northwestern's Ten-Minute Play Festival.
Noha ElGanzouri - Actor, Educator She/Hers
Noha ElGanzouri is an Egyptian American Artist, born in Liverpool, England. Having lived, worked and trained in Chicago most of her life, Noha recently moved to LA where she currently teaches theatre at an Islamic School. Noha played Layla in Silk Road Rising's film Obstacle Course, and has acted for Silk Road Rising, Artemisia Theatre, Theatre of Western Springs, Karamu Playhouse, and South Bend Civic Theatre. Noha is the proud high school drama director of actor, Adam Driver. She continues to teach theatre, and is passionate about using theatre as a tool to empower students to tell their stories and amplify their voices. She is fluent in Arabic. Noha is represented by Shirley Hamilton and is a proud member of SAG/AFTRA.
Layan Elwazani - Actor, Writer and Director. She/Hers
Layan is an actor, writer, and director based in New York City. She is dedicated to the generation of new work as an act of resistance. Her favorite projects ask questions about justice, belonging, and community. Some of her stage credits include The Band’s Visit on Broadway, Noura at The Guthrie, We Live in Cairo at American Repertory Theatre, and Yasmina’s Necklace at Premiere Stages. On screen, she’s most recently appeared in The Code on CBS, and in the indie film Boxed In. She is a proud Palestinian-American, and a self proclaimed “ferocious empath.” www.LayanElwazani.com / @LayanElwazani
Noor Hamdi - Actor, teacher, writer, and circus artist. He/His
Noor, who is proudly queer and Syrian-American, is a New York based actor, teacher, dialect coach, writer, and circus artist. He also speaks fluent Arabic, Spanish, and Portuguese. A man of many interests, it's always been difficult for him to choose just one discipline to focus on; he finds life to be far too interesting to tell stories through just one medium. He moved to New York from Chicago many years ago to train at the William Esper Studio, which is where his artistic craft was honed and developed. In addition to his training there, he also holds a degree in International Relations and Diplomacy from The Ohio State University. He’s appeared in various theatre productions Off-Broadway (including “Cartography” by Kaneza Schaal and Chris Myers), locally, regionally, internationally, and, due to the pandemic, on Zoom. In addition, he has appeared in a handful of indie short films such as “Flunkyball” (dir. Tess Forestieri), and “Sherman” (dir. Darine Hotait). It’s incredibly important to Noor that art serves a higher purpose and elevates those who experience it, and his art is guided by that mindset. In particular, Noor seeks to normalize and popularize MENASA and queer narratives (and especially the intersection of the two) in order to promote a deeper tolerance and understanding of those communities in the current social framework of the world. Website: www.noorhamdi.com / @_noorhamdi
Susaan Jamshidi - Actor - She/Hers
Susaan Jamshidi is an Iranian American, Chicago based actor (SAG/AFTRA, AEA). She recently performed in several shows at Goodman Theatre: A Christmas Carol '19 and '20, the later which was produced as a free streaming audio play, The Winter’s Tale,and Rohina Malik's Yasmina’s Necklace. Chicago credits include work with Lookingglass, Victory Gardens, Drury Lane, The Gift, Northlight, Remy Bumppo, Theatre Wit, and Sideshow Theatre Company (Jeff Award for Best Ensemble – Idomeneus), among others. International tours: Oh My Sweet Land (London/Toronto/Vancouver with Silk Road Rising). Regional theater credits include Arena Stage, Berkeley Repertory Theatre, and Repertory Theatre of St. Louis, among others. Film and television credits include Little Nations, Cicero in Winter, The Wallet, Chicago Med, Chicago P.D. and Sirens. Susaan earned her MFA from DePaul University and is represented by Paonessa Talent. Susaan is also an avid potter. You can follow her on Instagram @susaanlayla and @littlefigwheelworks
Chris Khoshaba - Actor. He/His
Chris is an Assyrian American currently living in Chicago, IL. He has acted with Silk Road Rising, Interrobang Theatre, Redtwist Theatre, and a few other theatres in Chicago. He has also worked with Erasing the Distance theatre, a company that, “uses the power of performance to disarm stigma, spark dialogue, educate, and promote healing surrounding issues of mental health."
Abraham Makany - Actor. He/His
Abraham Makany is an Iranian & Nicaraguan American actor based in NYC. New York theatre credits include The Lehman Trilogy on Broadway (Nederlander Theatre), Bars and Measures (Urban Stages), Trial of an American President (Theatre Row), Waterwell’s Hamlet (The Sheen Center), Kandahar to Canada (Ensemble Studio Theatre), Job (The Flea Theater) and the Obie Award winning production of The Brig (The Living Theatre). Regional works include The Corpse Washer in the 43rd Humana Festival (Actors Theatre of Louisville) and the Bay Area Premiere of Noura (Marin Theatre Company). Film credits include Rainbow Ruthie (SXSW), Brooklyn Park (Palm Springs IFF), Saint Nicholas (Summer Hill Films), and El Gallo (Freestyle Media) and his work in television includes Orange is the New Black, Gotham, Blue Bloods, The Blacklist, Homeland, Blindspot, The Americans, Deception, Person of Interest, HAPPYish, The Ridge: Origins and Wyatt Cenac’s Problem Areas. Born in Houston, TX, Abraham trained at Rutgers University’s Mason Gross School of the Arts. @abmakany
Ronnie Malley is a Palestinian American Artist. Recent theatre credits include: The Band’s Visit actor/musician/Arabic dialect coach (Broadway, Tony Awards, Grammy Award), American Griot co-author/composer, Macbeth Hecate/musician (Chicago Shakespeare Theatre; Jeff Award for Best Sound Design), Great Expectations composer/sound designer (Silk Road Rising/Remy Bumppo; Jeff nominated for Best Original Music), A Disappearing Number musician (Timeline Theatre), Ziryab, The Songbird Of Andalusia author/solo performer (Silk Road Rising), The Secret Garden musician (Court Theatre), The Jungle Book musician/consultant (Goodman, Huntington), The White Snake co-composer/musician (Oregon Shakespeare Festival, Goodman, Guthrie, Wuzhen Theatre Fest), The Who And The What composer/co-sound designer (Victory Gardens), and many more. Recent music producer credits include: Lamajamal, Surabhi Ensemble, East Meets Middle East, Aurad Fathiya, Saazuk Safar, The Andalusian Trail (staged production), The Reminders. Recent film music credits include: At the Gate (Virginia Keller), Modou: The Hang Player (FTS Production), Jon and Davy (Hassan Amejal), The New Mother (Eleva Singleton). Ronnie has a degree in Global Music Studies from DePaul University and is a teaching artist with Chicago Public Schools, a faculty member at Old Town School of Folk Music, and a guest lecturer at universities. He is an international artist and has performed with the music groups Allos Musica, Apollo’s Fire, Diwan Al-Han, EMME, Lamajamal, Mucca Pazza, Newberry Consort, Surabhi Ensemble, and the U of C Middle East Music Ensemble.
Ruba Mansouri is a Muslim Arab-American actor who moved to NYC in 2009 from Boulder, CO. Born and raised in Saudi Arabia, she was always drawn to the performing arts at a young age. She started her training at the age of 15 in Riyadh and continued to do so as she moved to Boulder then eventually NYC. Ruba's been in multiple theatre, tv, and film productions and is a voice-over artist as well. In 2017, she produced, starred, and wrote her first short film titled “In Silence” which is about sexuality in the Muslim community, and won a few awards throughout the festival circuit. She’s currently writing a feature film as well as a musical. You can follow her on Instagram @rubatherese or check out her website at www.rubatheresemansouri.com for updates on her next projects.
Dana Saleh Omar- Actor/Musician/Writer. She/Hers
Dana Saleh Omar is a proud first generation Palestinian and Jordanian artist. She is based in Chicago but has worked across the country. KCRep: Frankenstein: A Ghost Story (Composer/Actor/Musician). Off Broadway: We Live in Cairo in Concert (Joe's Pub, Public Theater) Regional: We Live in Cairo (American Repertory Theatre); H.M.S. Pinafore, The Mikado (The Hypocrites, Olney Theatre Center); Amadeus (TheatreWorks); Pirates of Penzance (The Hypocrites, Pasadena Playhouse); The Miraculous Journey of Edward Tulane (People’s Light & Theatre); One Hundred Dresses (Chicago Children’s Theatre), Cinderella at the Theater of Potatoes,Johanna Faustus and H.M.S. Pinafore (world premieres), All Our Tragic) The Hypocrites, The Den Theatre Mainstage Chicago); H.M.S. Pinafore (The Hypocrites, Actors Theatre of Louisville); The Pirates of Penzance, The Mikado, and H.M.S. Pinafore (The Hypocrites, part of The Gilbert & Sullivan Rep at The Den Theatre Mainstage); Cabaret (The Hypocrites, Chicago DCA Storefront Theatre). TV: Chicago PD (NBC). Education: BS in Education, Loyola University. @domartothemaxx
Annalise Raziq runs the gamut. She is a Palestinian/Polish artist, a three-time Moth Story Slam winner and has had two stories featured on the national storytelling show The Moth Radio Hour (and available on their podcast). She has also told stories for Risk!, 80 Minutes Around the World, Story Sessions, the Boston Palestine Film Festival, the Arab American National Museum in Dearborn, and the Palestinians Podcast. She is pleased to have been part of the film Obstacle Course and the holiday show Christmas Mubarak with Silk Road Rising, and also recently played Amal Kafiz in the independent film Green Summer. She is a writer and improviser, and used these skills to help create the show “Sisters Rising” with a group of formerly incarcerated women. Annalise sings professionally in a variety of venues and her solo show "I Know A Place," a memory play with a live band onstage, was part of the Fillet of Solo Festival. She most recently appeared as Khadija in the Jeff-Recommended show Twice, Thrice, Frice at Silk Road Rising.
Amro Salama - Actor and Writer. He/His
AMRO SALAMA is an Egyptian American artist. Most recently, Amro played the role of Hassan Asfour in OSLO for TimeLine Theatre Company as part of the 2019 Broadway In Chicago Season. Regionally, Amro played Yusuf in the World Premiere production of UNRELIABLE (Kansas City Rep, 2019), the role of Hassan Asfour in OSLO (Repertory Theatre of St. Louis, 2019) and the role of Ibrahim in the World Premiere production of REFUGE*MALJA (Portland Stage Company, 2018). Chicago theatrical credits include: 20,000 LEAGUES UNDER THE SEAS (Lookingglass Theatre, 2018), YASMINA’S NECKLACE by Rohina Malik (16th Street Theater, 2016 and the Goodman Theatre, 2017), ALIAS GRACE (Rivendell Theatre, 2017). Additional theatre credits: OMNIUM GATHERUM (Theatricum Botanicum, L.A.), ON CARING FOR THE BEAST (Cornerstone Theatre, L.A.) and SARAH’S WAR (Hudson Theatre, L.A.) TV credits include: the role of Habib on THE CHI and roles on CHICAGO PD, MODERN FAMILY, SHAMELESS, CHILDREN’S HOSPITAL, LAW & ORDER, SUITE LIFE ON DECK and PROVEN INNOCENT. Film credits include: Tariq Husseini in THE SIEGE (Directed by Ed Zwick), the Apostle Thomas in GOOD FRIDAY, and Farid in the award winning short film WHAT REMAINS. Amro is a proud member of Actors Equity and SAG-AFTRA.
Najat Arkadan Washington - Actor - She/Hers
Najat Arkadan Washington is a Lebanese-born Muslim American actor based out of NYC. She is fluent in Arabic and trained at the prestigious William Esper Studio in NYC. Among Najat’s work: In Silence, a short film in which she had a supporting role, made the festival rounds. 10,000 Balconies (Theatre Squared), loosely based on Romeo & Juliet and set in Damascus, Syria, gaveaudiences rare insight into the rich tapestry of life in Syria. Her TV debut was on NBC's Law & Order: SVU. The episode, “Alta Knockers” (Yiddish for “crotchety old person”), guest starred two of the best at portraying such: Judd Hirsch and Wallace Shawn. She's thrilled to be a part of this collective in order to tell stories that education and enlighten. Her commercial credits include Crest and Uber where you can spot her with her daughter. You can see her work on najatwashington.com and follow her on Instagram @najat.a.washington
Revon Yousif - Actor - He/His
Revon Yousif is a Chaldean actor who speaks fluent Aramaic. He was born in Detroit and grew up in Sterling Heights, MI. Revon began his career by landing small roles on big studio films such as Scream 4 and LOL. At 19, Revon signed with his first talent agency in Michigan and began auditioning for commercials and small budget films where he’d have a chance to land bigger roles. In 2012 Revon played a supporting character in a small budget film called Good News, filmed in Hillsdale, MI, Director Matthew Gelze. Revon then went on to star in an independent feature film called 2101 directed by award winning director Kyle Misak, In 2016, Revon was named one of four finalists out of 6,000 contestants in a nationwide search for FOX’s Next Empire Artist. Aside from this competition Revon had auditioned for two different roles for the show before getting cast as an R&B singer named “Harry” acting opposite of Terrence Howard and Jussie Smolett. He worked on Broken Nose Theatre’s production of Language Rooms and Promethean Theatre Ensemble’s production of Blue Stockings where he and the cast were nominated for a Jeff Award for Best Ensemble. Revon started his training at Michigan Actor’s Studio in Detroit landing him a role on FOX’s Empire. To continue growing as an artist, Revon is currently auditioning for MFA programs hoping to train at one of the top programs in the country. Revon is currently represented by Kalena Schweger of BMG Chicago.
Martin Yousif Zebari - Actor and playwright. He/They
Martin Yousif Zebari is an Iraqi-born, Assyrian-American, actor, playwright and advocate living and working in the diaspora. His first full-length play, Layalina, was developed in Goodman Theatre’s Future Labs in early 2021. Layalina will be workshopped at Mt. Tremper Arts Center Residency (April, 2021) and will have another staged reading as part of National Queer Theatre’s Criminal Queerness Festival (June, 2021). A ten-minute version of the same play appeared in Broken Nose Theatre Company’s Bechdel Fest in 2017. As an Actor, he has worked nationally with National Queer Theatre, The Angle Project , Goodman Theatre, Steppenwolf Theatre Company, Chicago Shakespeare Theatre, Court Theatre, Broken Nose Theatre Company, Milwaukee Repertory Theatre, Illinois Shakespeare Festival and has appeared in NBC’s Chicago Med. Martin holds a BFA in Acting from the Arts University of Bournemouth, England and is represented by Stewart Talent Chicago. martinyousifzebari.com