Join us on Sunday, October 15 at 3 pm for two roundtables that bring together scholars, artists, and activists whose work focuses on the art of resistance, broadly construed. These roundtable discussions take the Freedom Theatre’s steadfast advocacy of Palestinian art and culture as a starting point to consider the work of cultural resistance in local and global contexts – particularly alongside contemporary US art, politics and activism. 

This event is free and open to the public.  At NYU Tisch’s Burrows Theatre: 721 Broadway, 1st floor. RSVP required.

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Roundtable 1: “Staging Resistance” (3pm-4:15pm)

Moderator: Erin Mee (NYU)
Samer Al-Saber (Florida State University)
Dan Fishback (Playwright, JVP Artist Council)
Natalia Kaliada (Belarus Free Theatre)
Jessica Litwak (HEAT Collective)
Ari Roth (Mosaic Theatre)
Sarah Schulman (CUNY, College of Staten Island)

[4:15pm-4:30pm: coffee break]

Roundtable 2: “Resistance Without Borders” (4:30pm-5:45pm)

Moderator: Helga Tawil-Souri (NYU)
Paula Chakravartty (NYU)
Nyle Fort (Black Lives Matter)
Rula Jebreal (Journalist/Author/Foreign Policy Analyst)
Rashid Khalidi (Columbia)
Robyn Spencer (CUNY, Lehman College)

**Please note that Huwaida Arraf had to cancel for scheduling conflicts; she will still be speaking at the Oct 14 post-show conversation following The Siege**

Coffee and tea will be provided with the generous support of our NYU Skirball business partner, Kopi Kopi Indonesian Cafe & Ramen Bar.

Speaker Bios:

Samer Al-Saber is a theatre director and professor of theatre studies at Florida State University.  He holds a PhD in theatre history, theory, and criticism from the University of Washington and an MFA in directing from the University of Calgary.  He directed plays in the US, Canada, and the Middle East.  His latest directing project in progress is a documentary film on the Jerusalemite theatre El-Hakawati.  He has written numerous articles on Palestinian theatre and his book manuscript in progress is tentatively called: Permission To Perform.  He is the co-editor, with Gary English, of the anthology Stories Under Occupation and Other Plays From Palestine, under contract with Seagull Press.  The Siege will appear in this anthology.

Paula Chakravartty is Associate Professor of Media, Culture and Communication and the Gallatin School at NYU. She is the co-editor of Race, Empire and the Crisis of the Subprime (2013), the co-author, of Media Policy and Globalization (2006), and co-editor of Global Communications: Towards a Transcultural Political Economy (, 2008).  Her recent publications include a special issue on “Mediatized Populisms: Inter-Asian Lineages,” International Journal of Communication (December, 2017); “Infrastructures of Empire: Towards a Critical Geopolitics of Media and Information Studies,” for Media, Culture and Society (2016). Her new research focuses on new frontiers of labor and migration in India. She is part of the NYU Coalition for Fair Labor, a member of the Gulf Labor Artist Coalition and is an active member of the NYU Sanctuary coalition (

Dan Fishback is a playwright, performer, director of the Helix Queer Performance Network, and member of the Jewish Voice for Peace Artist Council. His musical “The Material World” was called one of the Top Ten Plays of 2012 by Time Out New York.

Nyle Fort is a minister and activist based in Newark, NJ. A freedom fighter committed to global transformative justice, Nyle brings his national experience and international lens to his local work. He recently travelled to Ferguson, Missouri to help build the Movement for Black Lives. Upon his return home, Nyle created Strange Fruit Speaks: a black church liturgy commemorating the last words of African Americans killed by police and vigilantes. Furthermore, he established Newark Books and Breakfast: a monthly political education program providing free books and breakfast to local youth and families. Most recently, Nyle traveled to Palestine with the Dream Defenders to help build solidarity between black and Palestinian activists. Nyle is currently a Ph.D. student in religion and African American studies at Princeton University.

Jebreal is an award-winning journalist, author and foreign policy analyst who has received accolades for her groundbreaking work in Italy, the United States and across the Middle East. She was the first foreign anchorperson in the history of television news in Italy, where she went on to host multiple political talk shows. Since moving to the United States in 2009, Rula has been an on-air foreign policy analyst for MSNBC and a contributor to the Daily Beast, Newsweek and, where her articles have reflected a deep knowledge of Islamic extremism, the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, and the new political order in the Arab Muslim world. Rula has appeared frequently on CNN and Bloomberg, and she has written op-eds for the New York Times and the San Jose Mercury News, among other media outlets. Her first novel Miral, a best-seller, has been translated into 15 languages. She also wrote the screenplay for the film of the same name, which had its U.S. premiere at the United Nations General Assembly Hall.

Natalia Kaliada is Founding Co-Artistic Director of Belarus Free Theatre, writer, diplomat, human rights campaigner and producer. She is co-author together with Nicolai Khalezin of internationally-acclaimed plays including Generation Jeans, Discover Love, Trash Cuisine and Time of Women.  Natalia is Executive Producer, together with Nicolai Khalezin, of all performances by BFT including but not limited to Generation Jeans, Being Harold Pinter, Zone of Silence, Discover Love, Minsk, 2011: A Reply to Kathy Acker, King Lear, Trash Cuisine, Red Forest and Price of Money. She is co-creator together with Nicolai Khalezin and Vladimir Shcherban of Belarus’ only theatre laboratory, Fortinbras.She has given various master classes across the U.S. and Europe. Together with her husband, Natalia has co-run campaigns including the Global Artistic Campaign to Free Belarus and Give A Body Back. In 2015, she was nominated for the Innovation Award by the Intelligence Life of the Economist’s Magazine. Under her leading role, BFT has received a series of awards including the Human Rights Prize of French Republic, a Atlantic Council award, Special Mention at the X11 Edition of the Europe Theatre Prize and an OBIE Award.

Rashid Khalidi is the Edward Said Professor of Modern Arab Studies at Columbia University. He received a B.A. from Yale University in 1970 and a D. Phil. from Oxford University in 1974, and has taught at the Lebanese University, the American University of Beirut, and at the University of Chicago. He is past President of the Middle East Studies Asociation and is editor of the Journal of Palestine Studies.  Khalidi’s books include Brokers of Deceit: How the U.S. has Undermined Peace in the Middle East (2013);  Sowing Crisis: American Dominance and the Cold War in the Middle East (2009); The Iron Cage: The Story of the Palestinian Struggle for Statehood (2006); Resurrecting Empire: Western Footprints and America’s Perilous Path in the Middle East (2004); Palestinian Identity: The Construction of Modern National Consciousness (1997); Under Siege: PLO Decision-making during the 1982 War (1986); and British Policy towards Syria and Palestine, 1906-1914 (1980).

Jessica Litwak, PhD, RDT is an actress, director, playwright, Drama Therapist, and recognized leader in the field of Socially Engaged Theatre. She has a BFA in acting, an MFA in playwriting and a Ph.D. in Theatre as Leadership. Her company the H.E.A.T. Collective ( produces workshops, events, and productions that bring together the practices of Healing, Education, and Activism through Theatre.  She has worked as an artist and educator throughout the Middle East and Europe. Her work is published by TCG, Applause Books, Smith and Krause, and The New York Times. Her newest play My Heart is in the East was produced at La MaMa ETC. She recently wrote and directed The Fear Project on a U.S. State Department grant. Litwak has performed on stages across the globe. She has taught theatre at San Francisco State University, Los Angeles City College, Columbia University, NYU, Lesley University, Whitman College, Hollins University, Naropa University, and the International Director’s Symposium at La MaMa Umbria.  She is a core member of Theatre Without Borders, and a Fulbright Scholar. She is the founder and Artistic Director of Artists Rise Up New York.

Erin B. Mee is a former board member of the Friends of the Jenin Freedom Theatre, and has written about The Freedom Theatre for numerous publications. As a director, she worked at the Public Theater, New York Theatre Workshop, SoHo Rep, HERE, The Magic Theatre, and The Guthrie Theater in the United States, and with Sopanam in India. She is the Founding Co-Artistic Director of This Is Not A Theatre Company, with whom she has conceived and directed Pool Play, A Serious Banquet, Readymade Cabaret, Ferry Play, Subway Plays, Festival de la Vie for the Avignon Festival, Versailles 2015/2016, and Pool Play 2.0. She is the author of Theatre of Roots: Redirecting the Modern Indian Stage, co-editor of Antigone on the Contemporary World Stage, editor of DramaContemporary: India, and co-editor of Modern Asian Theatre and Performance 1900-2000. She has written numerous articles for TDR, Theatre Journal, American Theatre Magazine, and other journals and books. Her born-digital Scalar article “Hearing the Music of the Hemispheres” won the ATHE-ASTR Award for Best Digital Article in 2016. She is Assistant Arts Professor, Department of Drama, Tisch, NYU.

Ari Roth is Artistic Director of Mosaic Theater Company of DC. Founded in December 2014, Mosaic has played to 45,000 ticket holders and produced 17 mainstage productions, including offerings from the long-running Voices From a Changing Middle East Festival which launched in 2000 when Roth was artistic director of Theater J, transforming the troup into the largest, most respected Jewish theater in the country and earning acclaim and controversy for productions like Return to Haifa (based on the landmark Palestinian novella) and The Admission. Following the abrupt cancelation of the Voices Festival and his controversial dismissal from Theater J a month later, and buoyed by support from 120 artistic directors across the country, Roth established Mosaic whose inaugural season was heralded by The Washington Post as “one of the most significant developments in Washington theater in years.” This spring, Mosaic received the John Aniello Award for Outstanding Emerging Theatre Company, and last month Roth received the Mayor’s Arts Award for Visionary Leadership. As a playwright, Roth’s work has been nominated for five Helen Hayes Awards. A graduate of the University of Michigan, Roth has been on its faculty since 1988, currently for its “Michigan in Washington” program.

Sarah Schulman is a novelist, playwright, screenwriter, nonfiction writer, and AIDS historian. She is on the advisory board of Jewish Voice for Peace and is faculty advisor to Students for Justice in Palestine.  Sarah holds a Guggenheim Fellowship in Playwrighting.

Robyn C. Spencer is a historian whose research centers on social protest after World War II, urban and working-class radicalism, and gender. She teaches survey and seminar courses on African American Heritage, Civil rights and Black Power and Black women’s history in the US as an Associate Professor of History at Lehman College, City University of New York. Since she began studying social movements as an undergraduate history major at SUNY Binghamton, Professor Spencer’s inspiration has come from the examples of those who made often incalculable sacrifice to fight injustice, racism, and sexism.  Her book The Revolution Has Come: Black Power, Gender, and the Black Panther Party in Oakland, analyzes the organizational evolution of the Black Panther Party in Oakland and was published by Duke University Press in December 2016. In 2016-17 she received a Mellon fellowship at Yale University to work on her second book project, To Build the World Anew: Black Liberation Politics and the Movement Against the Vietnam War. She is also working on a short biography of Angela Davis for Westview Press’ Lives of American women series. In 2016 she served as one of the co-editors of the Radical Teacher special Issue on “Teaching Black Lives Matter.”

Helga Tawil-Souri is Associate Professor in Media, Culture, and Communication and the director of the Hagop Kevorkian Center for Near Eastern Studies at NYU. Helga is a media scholar who works on questions of spatiality, technology, and politics in the Middle East and especially Israel/Palestine. She is most recently the co-editor of Gaza As Metaphor (Hurst, 2016).

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