Noelle Matthews

Silk Road Rising (formerly known as Silk Road Theatre Project) 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 are advancing a polycultural worldview.<br /><br />Silk Road Rising is a creative response to the attacks of September 11, 2001. The consequences of that catastrophic day are sure to reverberate for years to come, posing unique and urgent challenges for artists of all backgrounds, and inspiring us to educate, promote dialogue, and heal rifts through the transformative power of theatre.<br />Company co-founders and life partners, Malik Gillani and Jamil Khoury, felt galvanized to respond to the anti-Arab and anti-Muslim sentiments that swept the US in the aftermath of the attacks, and to challenge arguments surmising a “clash of civilizations.” Their hope was to counter negative representation of Middle Eastern and Muslim peoples with representation that was authentic, multi-faceted, and grounded in human experience. That theatre would be the medium in which they’d “create change” was a given; a decision dictated by their mutual love of theatre, and Khoury’s vocation as a playwright.<br /><br />Their idea quickly expanded beyond the Middle East to encompass that vast geographical area known historically as the Silk Road; a territory stretching from Japan to Italy. Silk Road Theatre Project thus officially came into existence in summer of 2002, becoming the nation’s first ever theatre company dedicated to representing such a diverse grouping of peoples and cultures.