Art, culture, and creativity can make a way out of no way.

I use theater, story, and creative tools to build community,
transform spaces, and develop visionary leadership
from the grassroots.

Welcome to Artivista Productions

 Photo: Marisol Diaz. Bronx Artists Showcase 2017. Conversation on art, cultural equity, building community and making change. Produced by Pepatian.

Photo: Marisol Diaz. Bronx Artists Showcase 2017. Conversation on art, cultural equity, building community and making change. Produced by Pepatian.


Interactive theater methods and
storytelling practices that help audiences engage
with important social issues.

Create original stories.
<>
Facilitate workshops and trainings.
<>
Make socially engaged art.


WRITING

Storytelling for a new world.

EDUCATION

Workshops, institutes, and laboratories to develop creative capacity and explore new methods.

GRASSROOTS

Creative projects to address complex issues.

WRITING

TELEVISION - THEATER - PUBLISHING

Culturally relevant stories and creative content.
From T.V to graphic novels to theater.


K&J_momIran (2).JPG

THERE IS A PORTAL

My new one-woman show, There is a Portal asks, can the story of an Iranian-Indian immigrant be a universal one in today’s America? Using video projections, live performance, and humor, I share anecdotes from my childhood growing up in Queens, embody characters I’ve met along the way, share family tales, and invite the audience to tell their own stories. 

Directed by: Rania Lee Khalil
Video art by: Gazelle Samizay
Production Support by: Desipina Productions

------------------------------

"I wanted that. I wanted someone to say, 'Welcome, we’re so glad you’re here. Tell me about you.' ... Didn’t Americans want to know about us? Our history? We’re the ones who sweeten the milk. Don’t you know that? ... You don’t? ... Why not?"

------------------------------

"She came in, wrecked, covered in dust. We hugged. The dust tumbled off. More and more of it kept coming, falling, everywhere. ... Sacred, filthy, toxic. It covered us."

------------------------------

"This place is home. My connection to each one of you that’s my home. It is always here, just below the dust. We don’t have to let it come undone."

------------------------------

"Del Beh Del Rah Dareh ... From one heart to another there is a portal."

K_LittleGirl.JPG

 

 

 

 

Upcoming Workshop Presentations:
July 25
November 9
November 30


WE ARE NEW YORK
An Emmy Award-winning television show created to help immigrant New Yorkers practice English.

We Are New York is a 9-episode broadcast TV drama used as an English language and civic engagement tool for immigrant New Yorkers. It was a project of the NYC Mayor’s Office of Adult Education and the City University of New York.

Kayhan wrote the scripts and created a linked, community-based conversation initiative that brought thousands of immigrants, throughout the five boroughs, together to practice English in volunteer-led conversation groups.

She and her team also created educational comic books based on the series which were translated into 5 languages and distributed in NYC public hospitals, courts, CBOs and local meeting places.


WE'VE COME UNDONE

Performed from 2003-2007 to explore the impact of post-9/11 legislation and scapegoating on Arab, South Asian, and Muslim Americans. This performance details the effects of being othered, targeted, and shunned while offering a view of how the fabric of our democracy frays when we rip apart families and communities. A series of moving monologues from a young girls' bewilderment at her father's disappearance, to an INS agent's rant and a Sikh woman's humorous conversation with an arsonist, the characters' truths aim to enlighten, activate and inspire.


 Art by: Alejandra Delfin

Art by: Alejandra Delfin

JACKIE AND THE BEANSTALK

Jackie is after more than beans as she battles asthma and a giant polluter while trying to hold on to her dreams in this delightfully funny, environmentally-conscious theatrical event. Jackie and the Beanstalk reflects the lived experience of many families in the South Bronx, and combines serious social issues with theater and circus arts to engage young people in decisions about their neighborhood.

Performances engaged over 1,000 Bronx residents. Customized lesson plans were used by hundreds of local teachers. Organized annual post-performance community health fair with local information, resources, on-site services, and food. Open to all residents.

More images here.


Telling Stories to Change the World collects moving and powerful essays from across the globe that speak to the power of storytelling and the resilience of the human spirit. It proves that telling stories, and listening to one another carefully, does have the power to change the world. It’s a terrific collection!
— Dave Isay. Founder of StoryCorps and MacArthur Fellow
Reading this book, we add ourselves to the host of witness-bearers as the vivid, compelling, and unimpeachable testimony of lived and reimagined experience open new vistas for direct action and creative collective response. This collection inspires, instructs, and sets some terrific examples. This is a rare and beautifully curated resource of hard-won joy and deeply flowing currents of renewal.
— Peter Sellars Professor of World Arts and Culture UCLA and Cultural Activist

COMMUNITY-BASED PROJECTS

PROGRAMS, Workshops, & Trainings

Customized Trainings; Program Design; Audience Dialogue & Facilitation;

 

 "Guide" ART Magazine, Aug. - Dec. 2016-17. p.3

"Guide" ART Magazine, Aug. - Dec. 2016-17. p.3

 
 
 Educator's Institute participants standing with a ranger in front of Little Rock Central High School National Historic Site.&nbsp;  NPS Photo.

Educator's Institute participants standing with a ranger in front of Little Rock Central High School National Historic Site. 
NPS Photo.

 

ANNA DEAVERE SMITH PIPELINE PROJECT

Designed and implemented all aspects of a participatory theater and dialogue process for the Cambridge, MA production of Notes from the Field at the American Repertory Theater at Harvard University. Act II asked the audience to move from their seats in the theater to one of 23 different small group conversation circles, led by a facilitator, to discuss the issues the play raised.  

I guided the methodology of the dialogue process to align with the playwright’s approach to her work and her vision. Successfully engaged approximately 17,000 people in dialogue around race, education, incarceration, and equity over the run of 30 shows.

 
 

 

MUSLIM WOMEN'S STORY LAB

The Muslim Women's Story Lab was a partnership with Women in Islam, Inc which built women's capacity to lead creative, culturally resonant community engagement projects using strategies that harness and reclaim Islam's empowerment of women. Over the course of 5 months, twelve participants came together in bi-weekly workshops to nurture seeds of projects and generate networks for change.

 


CIVIL RIGHTS EDUCATOR INSTITUTE
CENTRAL HIGH SCHOOL NATIONAL HISTORIC SITE - LITTLE ROCK, AR

The Little Rock Civil Rights Educator Institute brings together educators, community workers, and cultural activists from around the country to exchange knowledge and experiences, and to learn with and from each other in an intensive week-long learning community. By visiting important civil rights and human rights sites such as Central High School and Rowher Japanese American Internment Camp, we critically look at race and resistance and bring these themes into clasroom discussions to look back at our history in order to understand our present.  Click here for application.


THEATER IN AFGHANISTAN: FOSTERING LOCAL DIALOGUE THROUGH THE ARTS

From 2010 – 2012 Kayhan trained over 12 theater troupes working in various provinces of Afghanistan – from Kandahar to Kunduz.  Theater troupes engaged in a 10-day intensive training and development of Forum Theater process culminating in the creation of original Forum Theater plays performed in their home towns for local audiences.

She also worked to create a radio drama with a focus on youth and justice.  Supported by the U.S. Institute of Peace and their Afghan media partner, Equal Access, Kayhan helped to create a storytelling for social justice framework for the scripts and a structure for post-show audience dialogues between callers at home and issue experts in the studio.

http://www.usip.org/publications/usip-supported-radio-drama-aims-strengthen-justice-young-people-in-afghanistan


 Design:  Luba Lukova

Design: Luba Lukova


THEATER OF THE OPPRESSED AND POPULAR EDUCATION WORKSHOPS

We facilitate Theater of the Oppressed workshops and training for community organizations, social and activist organizations, schools, universities, places of worship, international development and aid organizations, and cultural institutions to grow leaders and heal from hurts. 

Since 2003 we have partnered with The Theater of the Oppressed Laboratory (TOPLAB), the oldest Theater of the Oppressed training and education group in North America. We offer storytelling laboratories, daylong or half-day workshops, as well as intensive training.

Contact us to learn more.