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Interview with Heather Raffo, Iraqi American Playwright and Actress

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 London’s House of Lords to classrooms nationally and internationally. Her work has been supported by the State Department, Doris Duke, Mellon and Annenberg Foundations and has been seen off Broadway, off West End in regional theater and in film.

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, hailed by Gloria Steinem as a truly feminist refugee narrative (Weissberger Award, Helen Hayes MacArthur award Best Original New Play) 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 feature an Iraqi female protagonist and its commercial success helped birth a whole new genre of Middle Eastern American theater.

Raffo’s libretto for the opera FALLUJAH, the first opera about the Iraq war and the first to openly confront the alarming rates of veteran suicide, was part of Kennedy Center’s International Theater Festival, received its world premiere at Long Beach Opera and opened at New York City Opera in 2016. A film of the opera aired on PBS accompanied by a documentary titled Fallujah: Art, Healing and PTSD. Her new anthology, Heather Raffo’s Iraq Plays: The Things That Can’t Be Said, was just released in 2021 and brings together Raffo’s groundbreaking contribution not only to the American Theater but to a deeper national conversation, giving voice to nearly two decades of rarely examined traumas that have reshaped cultural and national identity for both Americans and Iraqis since the events of 9/11.

Check out her book here https://www.amazon.com/gp/product/1350145173?pf_rd_r=400MY2CK2XS40G3J1396&pf_rd_p=5ae2c7f8-e0c6-4f35-9071-dc3240e894a8&pd_rd_r=66ab890d-1000-46f4-a90f-e8f488c9e65f&pd_rd_w=4DGOs&pd_rd_wg=PqUXP&ref_=pd_gw_unk