Last spring, Saheem Ali, AS’03 directed a special reading of the play Tsunami by Tunisian playwright Jalila Baccar at the PEN World Voices Festival in New York City. More than 150 writers and theatre artists from 30 nations gathered in April 2014 for the event.
The World Voices Festival celebrates those who have dared to stand “on the edge,” risking their careers, and sometimes their lives, to speak out for their art and beliefs. Building upon PEN American Center’s tradition of defending freedom of expression, the festival fosters cross-cultural dialogue among writers, artists, and citizens around the globe, offering a new generation to see beyond cultural divisions and misconceptions.
Baccar’s play chronicles the events that shook Tunisia in the hours after the Jasmine Revolution— the event that triggered the Arab Spring. Tsunami is part of a trilogy devoted to the contemporary history of Tunisia.
Saheem’s professional directing credits include productions at the Public Theater, O’Neill Musical Theater, New York Theatre Workshop, Lincoln Center, Theatre de la Jeune Lune, and Signature Theatre. He served as assistant director on the Tony Award-winning Broadway production of The Normal Heart. He received a Presidential Scholarship in Theatre at Northeastern University 2003.