This just in: Artists Repertory Theatre has pulled together last-minute plans to host the American University of Iraq-Sulaimani Shakespeare Company. The 10-student troupe is the first to perform an English version of Shakespeare in a public theater in Iraq, ever. Arguably more experienced in dramatic conflict than many Western thesps, the group’s members hail from different factions of Iraq’s wide but often troubled diversity: Sunni and Shia, Arab and Kurd, North and South.

And thanks to the Oregon Shakespeare Festival, they’re now also the first traveling company of Iraqi Shakespearian actors. OSF heard about the troupe and invited them to Ashland to perform from July 3–8 as part of the Green Show. Then the Middle East Studies Center at Portland State University heard about the OSF performance and pitched the idea to Artists Rep to have a performance in Portland. Word travels fast—even national media and a documentary team are now following the troupe.

The result for you, dear Portlander, is that the Iraq-Sulaimani Shakespeare Company will perform excerpts of Romeo & Juliet, Julius Cesar, and Macbeth, followed by a Q&A, on Monday, July 9, at 7:30pm on the Morrison Stage at Artists Repertory Theatre. The event is free and open to the public.

“All the world’s a stage,” indeed.

Check out the troupe’s Kickstarter video below or donate to help cover their stay and food during the Portland leg of their tour (click here and select “Iraqi Shakespeare Artists” in the donation category).?

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