Naila Al Atrash, from Damascus, Syria, is a theatre director, actor, and a professor of acting. She received her MFA in Directing and acting from the National Academy of Theatre and Film, Sofia, Bulgaria. She’s been closely engaged with Syria’s main theatre school “The Higher Institute of Dramatic Arts,” where she headed the acting department for many years and contributed to designing the curriculum. She’s also actively involved in the theatre of the larger Middle East, having participated in or chaired many symposia and festivals as well as won a few major awards. She won the golden prize as an actress for a leading role in Carthage Film Festival, Tunisia in 1986. Al Atrash has been invited to direct several plays and conduct workshops in acting and directing in several places in the Arab World, Europe, Africa and United States.

Her involvement as a human rights activist in fighting for civil liberties and freedom almost rivals her theatre work and exposes her to a constant threat. Naila Al Atrash is currently an adjunct professor at Tisch School of the Arts/New York University (NYU). 

Catharine Stimpson is a University Professor at New York University and Dean Emeritus of the Graduate School of Arts and Sciences. She was the founding editor of Signs: Journal of Women in Culture and Society. Her many other publications include a novel, Class Notes; a reprinted selection of essays, Where the Meanings Are: Feminism and Cultural Spaces; and extensive work on Gertrude Stein. In addition, more than 150 of her monographs, essays, stories, and reviews have appeared in Transatlantic Review, The Nation, The New York Times Book Review, Critical Inquiry, boundary 2, and other publications. Her extensive public service includes serving as the Chair of the National Advisory Committee of the Woodrow Wilson National Fellowship Foundation and past president of the Association of Graduate Schools. She is former chair of the New York State Humanities Council, the Ms. Magazine Board of Scholars, and the National Council for Research on Women, as well as past president of the Modern Language Association. She serves on the boards of other educational and cultural organizations, and is on the board of Scholars at Risk and New York Live Arts. She has been awarded both Fulbright and Rockefeller Humanities Fellowships, as well as grants from the Ford Foundation and the National Endowment for the Humanities.


NYU Skirball’s presenting programs are made possible with support from the New York State Council on the Arts with the support of the Office of the Governor and the New York State Legislature; and by Howard Gilman Foundation; FACE Contemporary Theater and FUSED (French U.S. Exchange in Dance), programs of FACE Foundation in partnership with Villa Albertine with support from the Florence Gould Foundation, The Ford Foundation, Institut français (Paris), the French Ministry of Culture, and private donors; General Delegation of the Government of Flanders to the USA; Collins Building Services; Marta Heflin Foundation; Mertz Gilmore Foundation; as well as our valued donors through memberships, commissioning, and Stage Pass Fund support.