New Heather Raffo play to explore migration at the Arab American National Museum

From the Tigris to the Detroit River, The Migration Play Cycle written by and starring Heather Raffo, is an epic map of a play linking the world’s migration patterns to the daily transactions of our lives. An ambitious theatrical experiment, it invites us to imagine a new relationship to human value, by first unpacking what we value. Uncovering a world where all populations must confront not only global migration, but their own. 

Heather Raffo is a singular and outstanding voice in the American theater whose work has been championed by the New Yorker as “an example of how art can remake the world.” Having helped forge a new genre of Arab American theater, she’s spent her career writing and embodying stories of Iraq: from the lives and dreams of Iraqi women in her seminal work 9 Parts of Desire (2003), to the suicidal ideation of an Iraq war veteran in the opera Fallujah (2012), to the restless longings of an Iraqi refugee architect in Noura (2018). 

“As an Iraqi American playwright, migration is personal to me. In 2003, I had over one hundred family members living in Iraq, I now have two cousins left in the country. In the last decade, my Iraqi relatives have scattered across four continents. My family understands what it means to be rooted to a place for thousands of years, then to scatter in less than ten. While many audiences feel sympathetic to those impacted by war, the trajectory my family took can be traced to economic factors to which we all contribute.” 

The Migration Play Cycle: A New Theatrical Platform by Heather Raffo is a National Performance Network (NPN) Creation & Development Fund Project co-commissioned by the Arab American National Museum and NPN. This project is made possible in part by a grant from the Association of Performing Arts Professionals, made possible through support from The Andrew W. Mellon Foundation.

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