Migration Play Cycle

Heather Raffo’s MIGRATION PLAY CYCLE is an ever-expanding narrative following migration and the global economy. Built in seasons that cycle across the world, it integrates live, local theater into a new immersive global web platform, allowing audiences to link the world’s migration patterns to the thousand transactions that make up their daily lives. Sprawling and epic, it is an ambitious map of a play, beckoning us to understand the way value itself migrates through currency, place, life, and time—especially as we approach the moment when all populations will have to confront not only global migration, but also their own.


In January 2022, Art2Action traveled to Mexico with nationally acclaimed Iraqi American playwright, Heather Raffo, for a research and development residency supporting MIGRATION PLAY CYCLE, co-commissioned by Art2Action, the Arab American National Museum, The Carver Community Cultural Center, and the National Performance Network (NPN). This residency included research on the economic drivers of global migration, an interview with activist filmmaker Gaba Cortes, an artistic exchange with dance-theatre company Mujeres en Ritual, and a free workshop at the Casa Arcoíris shelter for LGBTQ+ migrants.

By Heather Raffo

Heather Raffo is an award-winning playwright and actress whose work has taken her from the Kennedy Center to the U.S.-Islamic World Forum in Qatar, and from the State Department to classrooms across the country and across the world.  An American with Iraqi roots, Raffo’s plays have been hailed by The New Yorker as “an example of how art can remake the world”.   She is the author and performer of NOURA (Weissberger and Helen Hayes awards) which premiered in D.C. before moving to Abu Dhabi, Cairo, NYC and theaters across the nation, and 9 Parts of Desire (Lucielle Lortel award, Blackburn commendation, Helen Hayes, Drama League and Outer Critics Circle nomination) which ran Off Broadway for nine months and has played across the U.S. and internationally for over a decade.  9 Parts of Desire was the first play in the English language to center an Iraqi protagonist and its commercial success helped birth a new genre of Middle Eastern American theater.  Raffo’s libretto for the opera FALLUJAH, the first opera about the Iraq war, was part of Kennedy Center’s International Theater Festival, received its world premiere at Long Beach Opera and opened at NYC Opera in 2016 accompanied by a documentary titled Fallujah: Art, Healing and PTSD.  Her new anthology, The Things That Can’t Be Said, was published in 2021.  It brings together Raffo’s groundbreaking contribution to the rarely examined traumas shaping cultural and national identity for both Americans and Iraqis since the events of 9/11.

In 2021, Art2Action co-commissioned Heather Raffo's Migration Play Cycle with the Carver Community Cultural Center, the Arab American National Museum, and the National Performance Network (NPN).

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