The Scheherazade Project 1 Favorite 



Jun 9 2020



The Scheherazade Project is a Performing Arts Non-profit based in Washington DC. Co-founders Lisa Leibow and Julia Alvarez were inspired by Scheherazade in the Arab classic 1001 Nights and created The Scheherazade Project.
For more information, our website is

For those not acquainted with this classic from the Arab world, The 1001 Nights collects the stories told by a young woman who is living in a kingdom where the cruel sultan is killing all the women. Every night a girl is brought to him, violated, and put to death at dawn. Scheherazade hides out in her father’s library, reading his many books, learning all the stories. But she is not satisfied with safety and armchair inspiration. Instead, she volunteers to be the sultan’s next victim. That first night, she asks the sultan if he would like to hear one of her tales. He agrees and Scheherazade proceeds to mesmerize him with a wonderful story. As the sun is coming up, she begins another tale. Because the sultan wants to hear the ending of this second tale, he spares her one more night. Again, the next night, Scheherazade finishes one tale and begins another. Her strategy works! After 1001 nights, the sultan is smitten with love and repents his evil ways. Scheherazade has succeeded in saving not just herself but all the women in her kingdom as well as transforming the sultan from a bloody, violent despot to a loving, enlightened ruler.

This has been a very important tale for women and storytellers down the generations, reminding us all of the power of female creativity, solidarity, courage, and of our arts in promoting social justice, nourishing our spirits, enabling a more beloved community.

This summer, The Scheherazade Project is holding its first major activism through a storytelling arts event. At least one woman/womxn telling a story through any artform – spoken word, written, visual, musical, dance, and more – will volunteer to perform via livestream every day from Saturday, July 25th through Monday, November 2nd – the eve of Election Day 2020. We’ll host shows featuring bigger lineups of performers at a kick-off event and occasionally throughout the 101Nights. The original plan was to have these womxn speak and perform in front of the White House, but due to current circumstances, we believe it would be safer for public health to transition the event to be fully online.

The stories do not need to be political in nature, and we invite any artist of any medium to share their story. Scheherazade’s 1001 stories aimed to change the heart of a sultan, and together, we aim to share the power of our voices for good because we believe that every story is worth sharing and we are done with being silenced!

If any of this sounds appealing to you, and you would like to participate, please reach out, check out our website, and email for more details!

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Timeframe For change

We must mobilize and think outside the box so that we protect, love and therefore save each other, affirming the values we hold dear. We must not be pulled by the strong currents of the status quo, the worn ruts of divisive rhetoric and thinking. Instead let’s together create a groundswell of creative expression and stir up our own powerful currents of beauty, inspiration and love which will carry us forward, ever closer to the beloved community we must become if any of us is to survive in this hurting nation and ravaged planet.