ARTIST CONNECT: Our NEWEST addition to our roster, Golden Thread Fairytale Players

Young Audiences of Northern California is celebrating our 60th year of providing arts experiences to students in the Bay Area. At this exciting moment in our history, it gives us the opportunity to reflect on the past 60 years as well as look towards the future of Young Audiences. The upcoming “Artist Connect” posts will feature artists who have been with us for many years as well as some of our new artists. We hope you enjoy a journey from our past to our future.

Golden Thread Fairytale Players offer a dynamic repertoire for young audiences, with plays based on folklore from the Middle East. Inspired by performance traditions such as Hakawati, Ru-hozi, Naghalli, Karagoz, and Commedia dell Arte, Golden Thread Fairytale Players employ epic storytelling, puppetry, song, dance, circus arts, and Middle Eastern languages to create engaging performances that draw from enriching folk tales and timeless historical texts.

Can you tell us a little bit about your assembly performance?

Golden Thread Fairytale Players offer a dynamic repertoire of performances for young audiences, with plays based on traditions and folklore from the Middle East. Our dynamic and humorous shows invite audience participation and make unexpected connections to contemporary culture. Golden Thread Fairytale Players performances appeal to audiences of all ages, for their highly entertaining value and important capacity to develop deeper appreciation for diverse cultural traditions. Our current touring show, Leila’s Quest for Flight, is a girl empowerment story about little Leila, living in a Palestinian village, dreams of becoming a pilot. When the optometrist shatters little Leila’s dream, a menagerie of mythic birds gather to help her accomplish her goal.

Shows are 30 minutes and include a post-performance Question & Answer session with the cast.
Ideal for children aged 5-12
For schools, an informational brochure with background on themes and resources for further learning are provided.

How does your art form help connect students to what they are learning in school?

Golden Thread Fairytale Players is the Bay Area's only multicultural theatre that offers child-centered cultural exploration of the Middle East. We introduce students to a region that so often features in current events, but that rarely gets celebrated for its cultural heritage. Our shows are unique in educating young audiences on alternative perspectives of the Middle East, as we highlight the diversity of this often-misunderstood region through heartwarming, family fables, original storytelling and music.  Convenient study guides and fun activities for grades K-5 are sent to teachers ahead of the performance. All activities in this guide are related to the play itself. The play offers insight into historical folklore, social Studies, and language arts via incorporating Arabic into the character’s dialogue. Audience participation is incorporated into every performance.


How do the lessons and skills you teach students about or through your art form 

apply to their everyday life outside of the classroom?

Golden Thread Fairytale Players performances develop deeper appreciation for diverse cultural traditions; they instills a sense of pride for middle eastern students to watch their culture represented on stage in funny and heartwarming tales. The story of Leila’s Quest for Flight is a girl empowerment message to young girls and boys. What’s your quest? You can be anything you want to be.

Why do you believe it is important for every student to have access to the arts?

It is vital for children to have access to the arts. Through the arts children can develop empathy. Students can see that in whatever phase in life, we are not alone. Someone else is experiencing something similar; it is a powerful experience no matter the age. As a result, children are more willing to understand and embrace new and different people and cultures. In general, the arts are a gateway to promoting life skills. Significant research has demonstrated that those who have exposure to theater arts can elevate not only their academic performance, but also their social-emotional skills.”


How did Golden Thread get started?

Golden Thread Productions, founded in 1996, is the first American theatre company devoted to the Middle East. We produce passionate and provocative plays from or about the Middle East that celebrate the multiplicity of its perspectives and identities. We are a developmental catalyst and vibrant artistic home to artists at various stages of their career. We bring the Middle East to the American stage, creating treasured cultural experiences for audiences of all ages and backgrounds.

We believe that immersing yourself in someone else’s experience is the best way to appreciate their point of view. Therefore, every play serves as an invitation to discover unexpected connections and engage in deeply moving conversations that last well beyond the life of the play.

Our programs expose non-Middle Eastern audiences to the authentic voices and alternative perspectives of the region, while serving Middle Eastern audiences who rarely encounter meaningful reflections of their own culture in the performing arts.

Our Guiding Principles are to:

Develop and produce innovative works that intrigue, inquire, and influence.
Engage the community in an active dialogue and draw diverse audiences.
Discover, develop, and support Middle Eastern artists.
Promote the rich texts and diverse performance styles of the Middle East.
Seek and include the many talents of our diverse communities in the production of socially conscious works with a progressive political sensibility.

In our vast imagination, the Middle East is defined not by geographical boundaries and political separations, but as the shared experience of the people, who throughout history have been touched by its stories and culture. As such, Golden Thread’s work is borderless and serves to reorient the United States-Middle East relationship.

Golden Thread has been recognized in twice by American Theatre Wing, the producers of the Tony Awards, by the City of San Francisco in honor of our 20th anniversary, and was featured in the ABC 7 Bay Area‘s Profiles of Excellence.

What are three words that describe your performances?

Heartwarming, original, inspiring