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Film Screening & Discussion: The Promised Land

  • Mosaic Theater Company of DC 641 D St NW Washington, DC 20004 (map)

The youth ensemble of Habimah, Israel's national theater, created this documentary-infused kaleidoscope chronicling the waves of Sudanese refugees who crossed the desert to enter Israel legally and illegally, finding themselves stranded in a drama of relocation and displacement.

Adapted for an American troupe and staged by the former artistic director of the Cleveland Play House, Michael Bloom (Off-Broadway’s Sight Unseen), this story personalizes a history of immigration and asks pointed questions about race and the limits of empathy in a welcoming society. Part of the Voices From a Changing Middle East Festival, this production will take place in Woolly Mammoth Theatre Company's 100-seat Rehearsal Hall.

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Following the 8:00PM performance join us for a Post Show Discussion moderated by John Feffer (Institute for Policy Studies, Epicenter) featuring Safia Elhillo (Sudanese American Poet), and Semhar Araia (George Washington University).


John Feffer is the director of Epicenter at the Institute for Policy Studies in Washington, DC. He is also the director of the Institute's Foreign Policy In Focus project. He is the author of several books, including Splinterlands (Haymarket, forthcoming), the writer and performer of several one-man shows, and a journalist whose work has appeared in The New York Times, The Washington Post, Foreign Policy, The Nation, and other publications.


Safia Elhillo is Sudanese by way of Washington, DC. A Cave Canem fellow and poetry editor at Kinfolks Quarterly: a journal of black expression, she received an MFA in poetry at the New School. Safia is a Pushcart Prize nominee, co-winner of the 2015 Brunel University African Poetry Prize, and winner of the 2016 Sillerman First Book Prize for African Poets. Her work appears in several journals and in the anthologies “The BreakBeat Poets: New American Poetry in the Age of Hip-Hop” and “Again I Wait for This to Pull Apart.”

Safia has performed at venues such as TEDxNewYork, the South African State Theatre, the New Amsterdam Theater on Broadway, and TV1’s Verses & Flow. She has shared the stage with ?uestlove and Black Thought of The Roots, Gil Scott-Heron, The Last Poets, Immortal Technique, Faith Evans, and Sonia Sanchez. Safia is a founding member of Slam NYU, the 2012 and 2013 national collegiate championship team, and was a three-time member and former coach of the DC Youth Slam Poetry team. She is currently a teaching artist with Split This Rock.


Semhar Araia is a consultant, social entrepreneur and faculty member at George Washington University. With a background in African affairs, humanitarian crises, diasporas and development, Semhar provides strategic guidance, analysis and training to various clients focused on international affairs, civic leadership and development.  She is the CEO of Semai Consulting and founder of the Diaspora African Women’s Network (DAWN), an organization whose mission is to support and help develop the next generation of African diaspora professional women focused on African affairs.

More on Semhar Araia at:


By Shachar Pinkas and Shay Pitovsky
Directed by Michael Bloom
At the Woolly Mammoth Theatre Company / February 16-28, 2016