Joya Dass (Moderator, New York)
Native of Pennsylvania, born to immigrant parents from Calcutta and Myanmar. Since the age of 11, she remembers wanting to be a journalist. For the last 15 years, Joya has been a TV anchor reporting business news from the floor of the New York Stock Exchange for Bloomberg and ABC. She is currently a business anchor with NY1 News and CNN. She is currently principal and producer with Avenue Media, based in New York City. “First Sight,” about curable blindness in children in India, is her first feature-length documentary.
Rahul Varma (Montreal, Canada)
Rahul Varma is a playwright, artistic director, essayist and an activist who migrated to Canada from his birth country India in 1976. In 1981, he co-founded Teesri Duniya Theatre www.teesriduniya.com, which is dedicated to producing socially and politically relevant theatre examining issues of cultural representation and diversity in Canada. Rahul became the company’s artistic director in 1986. In 1998, with Kapil Bawa, he co-founded the theatre quarterly alt.theatre: cultural diversity and the stage. His articles have appeared in theatre, Canadian Theatre Review, South Asian Popular Culture, anthologies, and various other collections.
His full-length plays include “No Man’s Land,” “Trading Injuries” (radio drama), “Counter Offence” and “Bhopal” and “Truth and Treason.” ”Counter Offence” has been translated into French as “L’Affaire Farhadi” and in Italian as “Il Caso Farhadi.” “Bhopal” has been translated into French with the same title and in Hindi as Zahreeli Hawa by India’s pre-eminent artist Dr. Habib Tanvir. His most recent play “State of Denial” about genocide and atrocity crimes relating to Rwanda and Armenia, premiered in 2012.
Rahul is a recipient of Special Juror’s Award from the Quebec Drama Federation and award for promoting Interculturalism by Montreal English Critic’s Circle. He is recipient of Shastri:Indo-Canadian Arts Fellowship to work with iconic Lt, Habib Tanvir.
Jawaid Danish (Toronto, Canada)
A celebrated author of 12 books in Urdu, Jawaid’s repertoire includes travelogues, poetry collections and drama. He prefers to write in Urdu which is his mother tongue, but his plays have been translated into English, Swedish, Hindi, Bengali and Kannada. The trials and tribulations of immigrant families in Canada is a recurring theme in his plays, addressing wide-ranging topics from AIDS, Cancer and Mercy Killing to satires on arranged marriage. Some of the plays from his award winning book Hijrat Ke Tamashey were adapted for a 13-episode serial produced by Omni 2 T.V. in Toronto.
Jawaid Danish is the founder and Artistic Director of RangManch-Canada, a not for profit theatrical group which promotes Indian theatre in Canada. He organizes the Hindustani Drama Festival annually, showcasing the varied and rich heritage of Indian theatre. He has received numerous awards and recognition worldwide, among them The Civic Arts Award-Pickering 2010, South Asian Theatre Festival Award – New Jersey 2008, and the Shiromani Sahitya Award – India 2007, to name a few. He has read and presented his plays in the Universities of Delhi, Kolkata, Lucknow, Dhaka, Karachi, Sweden and Tokyo, and participated in panel discussions and theatre festivals abroad, always proudly representing Canada.
Joanna Sherman, Artistic Director of Bond Street Theatre, co-founded the company in 1976. As director, choreographer, musician and actor, she has initiated and participated in the company’s artistic projects in South Asia, Eastern and Western Europe, South America, the Middle East, China, Pakistan and Afghanistan. Most recently, she directed Beyond the Mirror, a historical view of the conflict in Afghanistan created in collaboration with Exile Theatre of Kabul that toured in Afghanistan, Japan and the US. She also conducted a 3-year theatre-based conflict resolution project in India as part of the US Department of State’s educational and arts initiative. Ms. Sherman has been featured on CNN, BBC, Voice of America, Radio Free Europe, National Public Radio, and international TV and news media, and published in American Theatre magazine.
Ricardo Khan (New Jersey)
Ricardo Khan is the Co-founder and Artistic Director of the Crossroads Theatre Company of New Brunswick, NJ. Under his direction, Crossroads won the 1999 Tony Award for Outstanding Regional Theater, making it one of the nation’s most acclaimed African-American theater companies in history. Recipient of an Honorary Doctorate from Rutgers University in 1997, he is currently a Director/Writer-In-Residence at the Lincoln Center Institute of the Lincoln Center for the Performing Arts in New York City, and is a visiting professor for the graduate school for theatre at the University of Missouri in Kansas City. In 1989, he was co-chair of the National Endowment for the Arts’ theater advisory panel and from 1996–2000 was the President of Theatre Communications Group.
Farley Richmond (Atlanta, Georgia)
Farley Richmond is Professor of Theatre and Film Studies and Director of the Center for Asian Studies, University of Georgia. He has directed a wide range of Asian and western plays and musicals. Among his Asian production he lists, Sudraka’s The Little Clay Cart, Tendulkar’s Silence! The Court is in Session and Sakaram Binder, Karnad’s Hayavadana, Saktibadra’s Surpanakha, or the Amorous Demoness, and Mishima’s The Lady Aoi. Among some of his western productions are Shakespeare’s A Midsummer Night’s Dream, Synge’s The Playboy of the Western World, Miller’s The Crucible, Hwang’s M. Butterfly, Bernstein’s West Side Story, Bart’s Oliver!, and Rice’s Jesus Christ Superstar. In 2006, he directed Mozart’s The Magic Flute for the Chicago Cultural Center incorporating conventions from Indian and Balinese theatre traditions.