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ABOUT

Written by James McManus
Directed by Michael John Garcés

Inspired by stories from the community, The Rivers Don’t Know explores the experiences of refugees and immigrants in Pittsburgh. Through three interlocking stories of a 1940s steel miller worker, a Somali family, and a class of ESL students, the production explores what it means to call the steel city home.

The Rivers Don’t Know is presented in partnership with Point Park University’s Pittsburgh Playhouse and Cornerstone Theater Company. Our community partners for this production are All for All powered by the Global Switchboard, ARYSE, Global Minds, Literacy Pittsburgh, JFCS Refugee & Immigrant Services, and the World Affairs Council of Pittsburgh.

The Rivers Don’t Know contains adult language and is recommended for ages 12 and up.

Read the show program here!

ARTISAN MARKETPLACE

Join us an hour before each performance for an Artisan Marketplace and Artist Performance.

Friday, September 10
Zafaron Afghan Cuisine
Kelen Creations Jewelry
JFCS
Costa RicArt
with performance by
Kelsey Robinson & Sam Boateng

Saturday, September 11 Matinee
Zafaron Afghan Cuisine
with performance by
Vic Muthama

Saturday, September 11 Evening
Zafaron Afghan Cuisine
Kelen Creations Jewelry
Live Painting
Dominique Briggs
with performance by
Miguel Sague

Sunday, September 12
Zafaron Afghan Cuisine
Carmencita’s Art
Kardelens Fiber Arts
Costa RicArt
Dominique Briggs
with performance by
Kaleb Kenner
Thursday, September 16
Zafaron Afghan Cuisine
Paparazzi Accessories, Inc.
You Can Call me YOKO
Kardelens Fiber Arts
Costa RicArt
with performance by
Samuel Boateng

Friday, September 17
Zafaron Afghan Cuisine
Paparazzi Accessories, Inc.
You Can Call Me YOKO
Kardelens Fiber Arts
Costa RicArt
with performance by
Jvggy

Saturday, September 18 Matinee
ARYSE
Paparazzi Accessories, Inc.
Olaya’s Cake
with performance by
Jin Yang
Saturday, September 18 Evening
Zafaron Afghan Cuisine
Paparazzi Accessories, Inc.
Olaya’s Cake
Carmencita’s Art
with performance by
Hugu Cruz and Caminos

Sunday, September 19
Zafaron Afghan Cuisine
Paparazzi Accessories, Inc.
You Can Call me YOKO
Olaya’s Cake
Costa RicArt

JAMES McMANUS

JAMES McMANUS (Playwright) is the author of ten plays: Radioman, Love on San Pedro, Dry Bones, The Friendly Tavern, Full Ride, Dorothy 6, Morning in America, Underground, Cherry Smoke, and Blood Potato His plays have been developed and performed at La Jolla Playhouse, Cornerstone Theater Company, Labyrinth Theater Company, The Road Theatre, Dell’Arte International, Working Theater, Apothecary Theatre Company, The Clockwork Theatre, Glass Umbrella Creative (Sydney), Revolt Theatre (Melbourne), New Dramatists, The Kennedy Center, Round House Theatre, Pittsburgh Playwrights Theatre Company, The Edinburgh Festival Fringe, Barebones Productions, Irish Repertory Theatre, Son of Semele, The Side Project Theatre Company, The Lark Play Development Center and the August Wilson Center for African American Culture. James was the recipient of the Princess Grace Award in Playwriting for Cherry Smoke, which is published by Samuel French. He has also received the Helen Merrill Playwriting Award and is a proud alumnist of New Dramatists. 

ABOUT POINT PARK UNIVERSITY'S PITTSBURGH PLAYHOUSE

Point Park University’s award-winning Pittsburgh Playhouse reopened in the Fall of 2018 in a new 90,411 square-foot center for arts and entertainment that serves as an artistic laboratory for the prestigious Conservatory of Performing Arts (COPA) and Downtown Pittsburgh’s newest home for arts and entertainment. The Pittsburgh Playhouse is designed to be both a learning laboratory for all Point Park students and a cultural asset for the community. 

TICKETS

Admission is free, but tickets are required.

CLICK HERE TO RESERVE YOUR TICKETS

CAST

SERAP UZUNOGLU
(Serap)

DANIELLE OBISIE-ORLU
(Khadija)

KHARA TIMSINA
(Khada)

MAX PAVEL
(Deb0)

SHRAVANI CHARYULU
(Advika)

MICHAEL SHAHEN
(Stash)

AWEYS MWALIYA
(Pops)

FAROOQ AL-SAID
(Ezzy)

JANE TINKER 
(Zofia)

NAMRATA TEWARI
(Chorus)

DANIELA CANCHE VELA
(Chorus)

GRACE SHIM
(Chorus)

SAHIB ALRAMMAHI 
(Chorus)

LAURA COYT ZAVALA 
(Chorus)

MICHAEL JOHN GARCÉS

MICHAEL JOHN GARCÉS (Director) has been a Cornerstone ensemble member since 2006. Directing credits at the company include Highland Park is Here by Mark Valdez; Native Nation (commissioned and presented by ASU Gammage) and Urban Rez by Larissa FastHorse; California: The Tempest by Alison Carey; Plumas Negras by Juliette Carrillo; Café Vida by Lisa Loomer; and What Happens Next by Naomi Iizuka (a La Jolla Playhouse “Without Walls” production in association with Cornerstone). Plays he has written for Cornerstone include Magic Fruit, the “bridge” project of the multi-year Hunger Cycle which brought together the many communities of the cycle; Consequence, out of story circles with students, teachers, administrators and parents in South Kern County; Los Illegals, created in residence with communities of day laborers and domestic workers; and The Forked Path, a collaboration with the Van der Hoeven Kliniek and Stut Theatre in the Netherlands, which was performed at the Net Even Anders Festival in Utrecht and The International Community Arts Festival in Rotterdam. Michael has developed and directed several works by Marc Bamuthi Joseph: the just and the blind, with composer Daniel Bernard Roumain (Carnegie Hall and The Kennedy Center), /peh-LO-tahfutbol freedom suite (premiere at Yerba Buena Center for the Arts, subsequently at the Museum of Contemporary Art Chicago), red, black and GREENa blues, in collaboration with artist Theaster Gates (various venues including The Brooklyn Academy of Music and REDCAT), and the break/s (premiere at Humana Festival and The Walker Arts Center). Directing credits at other theaters include Seize the King by Will Power (The Alliance); Larissa FastHorse’s The Thanksgiving Play (The Geffen Playhouse); The Royale by Marco Ramirez (Arizona Theatre Company); Epic by Ellen Struve (The Great Plains Theatre Commons); and Wrestling Jerusalem by Aaron Davidman (premiere at Intersection for the Arts; other productions include The Guthrie Theatre, Cleveland Public Theatre and Mosaic Theatre). His full-length plays include south (Great Plains Theatre Commons), THE WEB (needtheatre), points of departure and customs (INTAR Hispanic American Arts Center) and Acts of Mercy (Rattlestick Playwrights Theater); as well as a solo performance, agua ardiente which ran Off-Broadway at The American Place Theatre as part of “Dreaming in Cuban”; and short plays include Las Llamadas and every step (24 Hour Plays: “Viral Monologues”); americanas (Mixed Blood Theatre – “DJ Latinidad’s Latino Dance Party”), A Parable (Great Plains Theatre Commons), hymn in three parts (Chalk Rep), tostitos (EST Marathon of One-Act Plays), on edge and the ride (Humana Festival), and audiovideo (The Directors Project). He collaborated with composer Alexandra Vrebalov on the oratorio Stations, which received its premiere at the Rhode Island Civic Chorale and Orchestra and was also performed at the NOMUS Festival in Novi Sad, Serbia. Michael is a recipient of the 2020 Doris Duke Artist Award, the Princess Grace Statue, the Alan Schneider Director Award, the Rockwood Arts and Culture Fellowship, a TCG/New Generations Grant, the Non-Profit Excellence Award from the Center of Non-Profit Management, is a Southern California Leadership Network Fellow and a proud alumnus of New Dramatists. He serves as first vice president of the executive board of SDC, the theatrical union for stage directors and choreographers. 

ABOUT RAD

The Allegheny Regional Asset District (RAD) invests in Allegheny County’s quality of life through financial support of libraries, parks and trails, arts and cultural organizations, regional attractions, sports and civic facilities, and public transit. With half of the proceeds from Allegheny County’s additional one percent sales and use tax, RAD has invested more than $2 billion in our regional assets since its inception. An additional $2 billion has gone directly to the County and its 128 municipalities for property tax relief and local government services. RAD is a time-tested solution that works for the economy, for assets, for citizens, for municipalities – for all. Visit radworkshere.org for more information. 

RAD

Support for The Rivers Don’t Know comes from the Allegheny Regional Asset District’s RADical ImPAct program, made in honor of RAD’s 25th Anniversary in 2019. The premiere will be part of the program’s annual RADical days, which offers an annual thank you to the public with free admission, tours, performances, and family activities offered by the organizations and attractions that are funded by RAD.   

ABOUT OUR COMMUNITY PARTNERS

CORNERSTONE THEATER COMPANY has been making new plays with and about communities throughout Los Angeles and beyond since 1986. Nationally recognized as a leader in community-engaged theater, our plays celebrate many voices as we strive to include people new to theater experiences as artists and/or audience. Combining the artistry of people with many levels of theatrical experience, we act upon the conviction that artistic expression is civic engagement and that access to a creative forum is essential to the wellness and health of every individual and community. Our plays are staged in theaters, parking lots, factories, schools and subway stations. Each venue is specific to its project and community; audiences pay what they can so our performances are always accessible to all. Visit Cornerstonetheater.org and follow the story on social media @cornerstonetheater on Facebook and Instagram, @cornerstonethtr on Twitter and youtube.com/CornerstoneTheater. 

ARYSE began in 2013 as a grassroots effort led by local refugee youth and college students who realized that the students they were tutoring, low-income immigrant youth, were falling through the cracks. We organized the only summer program in the region specifically tailored to the needs of immigrant youth, which centered literacy development, community building, and storytelling through the arts. Since then, thanks to the power of a passionate team of volunteers, we’ve grown from serving 25 youth through one summer program to reaching nearly 200 youth through 4 programs throughout the school year. Our vision is for ARYSE to become an international model for supporting immigrant youth as they transition into their new lives. We are honored to do this work here in Pittsburgh, especially at a moment when it feels more important than ever to stand with immigrant and refugee communities. 

THE ALL FOR ALL COALITION POWERED BY THE GLOBAL SWITCHBOARD is an action-oriented collaborative network that aims to advance immigrant inclusion to create a welcoming region for all. The coalition’s action framework is anchored in the ongoing implementation of the Immigrant Community Blueprint: Helping Immigrants Thrive in Allegheny County and designed to adapt to new and unanticipated challenges shared by the group. 

GLOBAL MINDS INITIATIVE  is a for-youth, by-youth organization created to combat the issues of cultural intolerance and discrimination through an after school tutoring program between English-as-a-Second-Language (ESL) and Native English Speaking (NES) students. Global Minds serves as an educational support system for ESL students, while educating NES students about other cultures, in order to create more globally minded young leaders. 

 

LITERACY PITTSBURGH offers free educational programs for adults and families in Allegheny County and Beaver County. Each year, we help nearly 5,000 people in the Greater Pittsburgh area improve their reading, writing, math, English language, digital literacy, and workplace skills. Adult literacy classes and tutoring move students from learning to earning and help them succeed as workers, parents, and neighbors.
 

JFCS REFUGEE & IMMIGRANT SERVICES are known as a leader in providing innovative and effective social service solutions to problems facing families and individuals of all ages and walks of life. Services are provided and referrals are made without regard to race, color, religion, ancestry, national origin, place of birth, sex, sexual orientation, familial status, age, handicap or disability. 

 

WORLD AFFAIRS COUNCIL OF PITTSBURGH mission is to provide a pathway for a more globally minded region, offering students and the community a learning space that covers key international issues. The Council is a member of the World Affairs Council of America (WACA), a network of more than 90 nonprofit, nonpartisan member Councils around the country.