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Muslims in New York City. 

Muslims in Kuala Lumpur.

Muslims in Damascus. 

Muslims in Khartoum. 

Muslims in Mascara. 

Muslims in Iowa: 


hearing their stories.

There has never been a more critical time to foster understanding between Muslim and non-Muslim Americans.

Muslims in Iowa [working title] is a documentary play currently in development about Muslims who live in Iowa.  Professor Anne Marie Nest, along with playwright Jennifer Fawcett and nine University of Iowa students, are collecting stories of Muslims living throughout the state of Iowa. So far, we have been inspired by the openness and bravery of the interviewees and we hope that you will consider following us on our journey - or maybe even telling us your story!  A reading of the work in progress will take place at Hancher Auditorium in Iowa City on April 10.
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April 10 // 2018

A public reading of the work in progress will take place at Hancher Auditorium in April 2018. Talks surrounding the future of this project include a full-scale production, in cooperation with University of Iowa’s Theatre Arts Department, and the creation of a touring version of the script to be performed in secondary schools and community organizations throughout Iowa.
Anne Marie Nest is an Assistant Professor of Theatre with a specialization in Voice and Speech at the University of Iowa and an Associate Teacher of Fitzmaurice Voicework. She is also a professional actress, director, voice/accent coach, and voiceover artist.  Some of the theaters she has worked at include: Contemporary American Theater Festival, Playwrights Horizons, Ensemble Studio Theater, Philadelphia Theatre Company,Denver Center Theatre Company, Actors Theatre of Louisville, Pennsylvania Shakespeare Festival, and Shakespeare Orange County. Anne Marie is currently writing a solo show, and developing a documentary theatre project, in conjunction with Hancher Auditorium, about the lives and experiences of Muslims living in Iowa.www.annemarienest.com
Jennifer Fawcett A graduate of the University of Iowa MFA Playwrights Workshop, Jennifer’s plays have been produced at theatres such as Tennessee Women’s Theatre Project (Nashville), The Drilling Company (New York), Riverside Theatre (Iowa City), Available Light Theatre (Columbus), the Hatchery Festival (Washington, DC), and developed at the Lark Playwright’s Week, Cultural Conversations (Penn State), the LiPttle Festival of the Unexpected (Portland Stage Company, ME), and Performance Network Theatre (Ann Arbor, MI). Recently, Jennifer has had three plays premiere: The Broken Chord (Hancher Auditorium commission) about caregivers and Alzheimer’s Disease, Birth Witches (Riverside Theatre/Cornell College) and her youth show about cyber bullying, Out of Bounds (Hancher Auditorium commission).In 2013, Jennifer made her third trip to Africa as a teaching artist and director with the International Theatre and Literacy Project. In both 2011 and 2013, she helped the students of Agahozo-Shalom Youth Village in Rwanda create an original play about their lives. The 2011 play toured to the Centre x Centre International Theatre Festival in Kigali. In 2010, Jennifer worked on another original play with students in Arusha, Tanzania which was performed for the community. www.jenniferfawcett.org

the company

Hancher's Embracing Complexity, will take a multidisciplinary and collaborative approach to building understanding of contemporary Islamic cultures and Muslim identity. Artists will be in residence at various times over the course of two years and will work with partners both on and off the University of Iowa campus on a broad range of activities including performances, classes, exhibits, discussions, and lectures. View more about the project here.

Upcoming Hancher Events:

Amir ElSaffar and Rivers of Sound

Thursday, February 8, 2018 at 7:30 pm

Feathers of Fire: A Persian Epic

Wednesday, April 4, 2018, 7:30pm

Zeshan Bagewadi and the Transistors

Friday May 25, 2018 at 6:30pm

Saturday, May 6, 2018, at 2:00pm

"Nest hopes to not only give Muslims in Iowa a wider voice, she also hopes her students will see and appreciate the power of documentary" 
 Cedar Rapids Gazette
Dellyssa Edinboro is a Doctoral student at the University of Iowa. She is enrolled in the College of Education's Educational Policy and Leadership Studies (EPLS) program with an emphasis on Schools, Culture, and Society. She received her B.A in Humanities and Justice (Summa cum Laude) and her A.A in Liberal Arts (with Honors) from the City University of New York (CUNY). Dellyssa's research interests addresses how race, ethnicity, and gender historically shaped the educational experiences of students.

about the creators

William Goblirsch is a theatre artist from Minnesota, and an MFA Acting candidate at the University of Iowa. He has a BA in Theatre from Bemidji State University and an MS in Theatre from Portland State University. He has received additional training from Second City (Chicago) and Black Box Academy (Chicago). In January, he was awarded a fellowship with the Graduate Institute on Engagement and the Academy by the Obermann Center. Some of the theatres he has worked at include: Riverside Theatre (Iowa City), Theatre Pro Rata (Minneapolis), Oracle Theatre (Chicago), Suitcase Shakespeare (Chicago), Portland Actors Ensemble (Portland, OR), and Bag & Baggage Theatre Co (Portland, OR). www.williamgoblirsch.com
Raised in central Colorado, Zach Twardowski is a graduate student at the University of Iowa, currently in the final year of the MFA acting program. While studying film at the University of Oregon, he worked on the documentary The Hunting Ground (2015), the IFC series Portlandia, and the recently released independent film, Tracktown (2016). He is honored to collaborate with this exceptional team in creating a new work that seeks to share the lives and experiences of Muslims living in Iowa.
Clara Reynen is a sophomore at the University of Iowa, and she is pursuing degrees in Theatre Arts and Religious Studies. Her interest in the intersection between theatre and religion drew her to this project, and she became involved because she deeply believes that everyone's stories deserve to be heard! Throughout this process she has learned so much about the Muslim community and is extremely grateful for this opportunity. She enjoys acting and directing, and is currently dabbling in a bit of playwriting as well. 

Mackenzie Elsbecker is a student at the University of Iowa and is proud to be a part of a talented team creating such an inspiring project. Mackenzie is involved in this project because she believes everyone's experiences are unique, they all deserve to be heard, and theatre is the perfect platform for just that. Mackenzie is a junior pursuing a major in Theatre Arts with an emphasis in Acting, along with a minor in Gender, Women's & Sexuality Studies.

Greg Walker is an MFA Candidate in acting at The University of Iowa, originally from Ottawa, Canada. He received his BFA in Theatre Performance from Concordia University, in Montréal. He is an actor and playwright working in both English and French. He also recently began working as a accent/dialect coach. He co-founded Lifelong Productions in Montréal in 2012, serving as an actor in The Pillowman (Katurian) and Osama The Hero (Gary). Other acting credits include: The Last Days of Judas Iscariot (Sigmund Freud/Saint Matthew), The Seventh Seal (Jof), Islands of Love (Arlecchino), Arcadia (Chater), Rome Sweet Rome (Cassius), Mr. Burns: A Post-Electric Play (Gibson/Marge). Greg is very excited to be collaborating on this project as an opportunity to learn and help spread voices that seems often forgotten or misunderstood.

Jessica Misra is very excited to be working on this project with this group of talented and passionate people. She is currently double majoring in Speech and Hearing Sciences and Theatre Arts. Jessica runs a stand up open mic on Thursdays at High Grounds. She is a Capricorn. 

Miriam Randolph is a senior studying Human Physiology and Theatre at The University of Iowa. Some of her past theatre credits are: Antigone (Welcome to Thebes), Hilda (Lady from the Sea), Jane, (Feminaal), and others. She has also an acting workshop for Pre-health students, teaching basic attacking techniques and applying them to a healthcare setting. Miriam is currently helping Anne Marie Nest develop a documentary piece about Muslims living in Iowa. 

image sourcing

  1. Header image // Photo by Kevin Bluer on Unsplash
  2. Tan Temple Photo by Sara Santandrea on Unsplash
  3. Hancher Auditorium // https://inspire.uiowa.edu/gallery/hancher-auditorium
  4. Hancher Building // https://inspire.uiowa.edu/gallery/hancher-auditorium
  5. Embracing Complexity // https://hancher.uiowa.edu/embracing-complexity
  6. Blue Temple Photo by Igor Ovsyannykov on Unsplash
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You can always contact us at annemarie-nest@uiowa.edu.