Endorsed by Curators:
Ping Chong + Company in association with City Lore present
Written by Ping Chong and Sara Zatz, with Ryan Conarro
Directed by Ping Chong
in collaboration with the performers: Tiffany Yasmin Abdelghani, Ferdous Dehqan, Kadin Herring, Amir Khafagy, Maha Syed
Stage Manager, Kristina Varshavskaya
Executive Director, Ping Chong + Company, Bruce Allardice
Beyond Sacred: Voices of Muslim Identityis an interview-based theatre production by Ping Chong + Company exploring the diverse experiences of young Muslim New Yorkers. The five participants inBeyond Sacredvary in many ways, but share the common experience of coming of age in a post-9/11 New York City, at a time of increasing Islamophobia. Participants come from a range of cultural and ethnic backgrounds and include men and women that reflect a wide range of Muslim identities, including those who have converted to Islam, those who were raised Muslim, but have since left the faith, those who identify as secular or culturally Muslim, and those who are observant on a daily basis. The goal ofBeyond Sacredis to illuminate daily experiences of Muslim New Yorkers, and work towards greater communication and understanding among Muslim and non-Muslim communities in NYC. The performance will be followed by a conversation and Q&A with the cast members and artistic team.
Beyond Sacred: Voices of Muslim Identityis part of an ongoing series of community-specific oral history theater works known as the Undesirable Elements series. Begun in 1992 by Ping Chong + Company, each production is made in a specific community, with local participants testifying to their real lives and experiences. The script is based on interviews with the participants who then share their own true stories in the final production. Since 1992, over 50 productions have been made across the United States and abroad. Recent productions have explored themes as far ranging as the disability experience, Native American identity, the experiences of refugees in the U.S., and the experiences of survivors of sexual abuse. Ping Chong + Company has created documentaries, toolkits, training workshops, and arts education programs for communities who wish to use the arts to address social justice issues in their own work.
Beyond Sacred was commissioned by LaGuardia Performing Arts Center, where it premiered in April 2015. The premiere production was made possible by a grant from the Association of Performing Arts Presenters Building Bridges: Campus Community Engagement Grants Program, which is funded by the Doris Duke Charitable Foundation and the Doris Duke Foundation for Islamic Art.