Youth Theater Project

youthIn Mahmoud Darwish’s poem, Tibaaq, he imagined a conversation with Edward Said about identity.  Sa’id said:

I come from that place. I come from here, and I am neither here nor there. I have two names that come together but pull apart….

It is we who fashion our identity, it is not hereditary…

Recently, Arab-Americans have been in the spotlight of American media and thought.  Reduced to faceless stereotypes, they are often treated as an “other” that is separate from the American experience. CAC’s mission is to put a face to these faceless stereotypes and celebrate the rich diversity of Arab culture by actively promoting Arab and Arab-American artists and programs in the New England region.

Now is an especially dramatic time. Upheaval in the Middle East is challenging entrenched stereotypes and assumptions. At the second anniversary of 9/11, suspicion and mistrust of Arab-Americans still exists.  In a world of conflicting messages, it can be especially difficult for our youth to explore their identity in a safe place.

At CAC, we believe that art can be an effective means of bringing attention to society’s important issues.  This winter, we will offer a youth program that will focus on Arab-identity in the US through the use of theater.  This program will include several artistic and academic activities that our children can use to approach a better understanding of their own chosen identity. They will learn how to physically express their own ideas using traditional drama methods. Before starting rehearsals, we will have focused workshops and discussions around the theme of Arab-American identity which will be supplemented with short video clips, poems and other literary works. At the end of the program, the youth will participate in a play that will be open to the public.

The emphasis of this program is not on the final production but rather on the benefit to our youth.  Without expressing any political or religious preferences, participants will be encouraged to define their identity at home and in public on their terms. Emphasis is put on allowing participants to express their own thoughts and ideas with no outside influence.  No matter the conclusion a participant reaches about their identity, it will be honored and respected.

How to Join:
The workshop is open to high school students, but limited to a maximum of 12 participants and is on a first-come, first-serve basis. It will be led by Nidal al-Azraq.

If you’re interested, please email us at:, subject title “Youth Theater Project.”  All meetings will be held at CAC in Somerville, 191 Highland Avenue, 02143.

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