This Week on One Detroit, Arts & Culture:

Detroit Public Theatre presents Heather Raffo’s ‘Noura,’ an Iqari American story of belonging

A new play by the Michigan-born and internationally renowned Iraqi American actor and playwright Heather Raffo has premiered as part of the Detroit Public Theatre’s eighth season and the theatre’s first season at its new, permanent home in Detroit. 

Heather Raffo’s play, “Noura,” tells the story of an Iraqi American woman named Noura and her family after fleeing their home in Iraq eight years prior. But, as the family gears up for a festive Christmas dinner in their New York home, the arrival of an unexpected visitor causes Noura to retrace their past and confront what they’ve left behind. The play runs at the Detroit Public Theatre through Dec. 18, 2022. 

One Detroit Arts & Culture producer Sarah Smith talked with Heather Raffo, who also acts as the lead role in “Noura,” actor Amanda Najor, who plays the character Maryam in the play, and Detroit Public Theatre Co-Founder and Producing Artistic Director Courtney Burkett about the production, its themes of family, marriage, motherhood and belonging, and the diverse story it tells. Plus, viewers can see snippets from a performance of the play. 

Detroit’s Black fraternities and sororities: A tour of their history and contributions

From skyscrapers to historic homes, Detroit is filled with historical landmarks, including some of the city’s African American fraternity and sorority housing. What is the history of Detroit’s Black fraternity and sorority houses? And what contributions have they made to Detroit, one of America’s largest majority-Black cities?  

In conjunction with acclaimed documentarian Henry Louis Gates, Jr.’s new PBS documentary, “Making Black America: Through the Grapevine,” “American Black Journal” continues to look at Black Greek Letter Organizations from a local perspective. City of Detroit Historian Jamon Jordan and producer Marcus Green come together for a look at the historical houses and contributions of some of Detroit’s chapters of the Divine Nine fraternities and sororities. 

Obsidian Theatre Festival celebrates Black stories, features ‘Wild Horses’ play as season two finalist

A new play, ‘Wild Horses,’ by playwright Brandy Victoria Durham of Silver Springs, Maryland, is one of four finalist-chosen plays that celebrated and highlighted African American stories and voices at this year’s Obsidian Theatre Festival. The play follows a Black couple faced with a peculiar challenge brought to them by another camper as they’re camping. The play was chosen as a finalist against more than 140 other submitted works by Black playwrights, composers and lyricists. 

One Detroit Arts & Culture host, Satori Shakoor, talked with ‘Wild Horses’ director Ny’ea Reynolds to learn more about the meaning behind the production and the message she wants viewers to take away from watching it. The Obsidian Theatre Festival began in 2021 through a partnership between Ghostlight Productions Founder John Sloan III — this show’s guest host — and the Nicely Theatre Group with the mission to celebrate Blackness, break down barriers to entry for minority creatives, and spread understanding through storytelling. 

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