Smith College professor discusses using theater to tell refugees’ stories

BRATTLEBORO — Smith College professor Ellen W. Kaplan will tell how she brought the experiences of Syrian refugees to the theater stage in a talk at Brooks Memorial Library, 224 Main St., on Wednesday, Feb. 5 at 7 p.m.

Her free talk, “Refugee Theater: Kurdish and Yazidi Women Speak Out,” is part of the Vermont Humanities Council's First Wednesdays lecture series and accessible to people in wheelchairs.

A revolutionary experiment, Rojava, an autonomous region in Kurdish Syria, attempts to create an inclusive democracy safe from ISIS, Turkish incursion, and Syria's civil war. Professor Kaplan will discuss how she interviewed women, activists, refugees, and fighters from the region and transformed their experiences into theater.

Kaplan is professor of theater at Smith College, a Fulbright Scholar, an actress, director, and playwright. Recently, she directed Turn of the Screw and The Tattooed Man for Silverthorne Theatre Company in Greenfield, Mass., and performed in David de Sola's La Nieta del Dictador, touring to Puerto Rico and the Midwest.

She has directed and performed in China, Israel, and Costa Rica; she has been a professor at Tel Aviv University and the University of Theater and Film in Bucharest, Romania, and distinguished artist/scholar at Hong Kong University.

She also works extensively with underserved communities and at-risk groups, offering workshops in writing and theater.

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