Peace Be Upon You
Note from the playwright.

This play came about through my interactions with a few of my students who were from the Middle East during a time when President Trump made inflammatory remarks about immigrants from the Middle East. I was captivated by their stories of home and their life experiences. From there connections were made to community organizations like Unity Today and Tomorrow and the OSU Muslim Student Union. The resulting play focused on the lives of individuals living in rural Oregon who come to this country from places like Iraq, Yemen, Syria and Iran looking to make a new start. However, this new start is not as easy as it may seem when faced with bigotry, intolerance, and disrespect. When interviewed common phrases like “We are just like anyone else. “and” We’re human beings just like everybody else.”. The idea of the play became to humanize and demystify a culture and to depict the treatment endured by this community to a largely white American audience. This play was written and conceived through collaborations, interviews, and story circles conducted with community members of the Islamic faith in Central Oregon. The play examines the relationship between Sumaiya and Chelsea, college roommates in a rural Oregon University who must put aside their differences as they navigate cultural and political challenges.
Sanctuary Stage is grateful to all the community members who supported and contributed to this project. 

College students and interns worked hand in hand in service learning opportunities with communitiy members learning interview techniques and methodologies of socially engaged theater-making. In the world of Community Engagement, this work creates tangible results in direct outreach to the people around us without a voice.  These projects require twelve months to complete from the moment we start going out into the field and interviewing community members to opening night. This work is special and unique within the Willamette Valley in regards to supporting diversity and outreach through the socially engaged arts.

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