Kholoud Sawaf

Kholoud Sawaf

She // Her // Hers

[ID: A woman wearing a navy-blue top with dark-gray hijab crosses her arms and looks into the horizon with a slight smile. Behind her are railings and an out-of-focus background.]

Portrait photo by Sarah Bentham; courtesy of NPR.

Theater Director
Fayetteville, AR
2024 USA Fellow

This award was generously supported by the Doris Duke Charitable Foundation.

Kholoud Sawaf is an award-winning theater director and filmmaker. Sawaf was born and raised in Damascus, Syria and has worked and trained in theater and film in Syria, Lebanon, the UAE, and the US. Her work is focused on investigating cultural depth, authenticity, and representation.

Recent credits include We Are Here (a short documentary produced by Crystal Bridges Museum for American Art), Theatre For One-Nairobi Edition (Octopus Theatricals, The Arts Center at NYU Abu Dhabi (UAE) and Nairobi Musical Theatre (Kenya), The Suburbs (Thrown Stone Theatre), Much Ado About Nothing (Hudson Valley Shakespeare Festival), and 10,000 Balconies, which was awarded a $250,000 Building Bridges Grant from the Doris Duke Foundation for Islamic Art. Sawaf is a recipient of the Creative Impact Award for Northwest Arkansas (2022), the O’Neill National Directing Fellowship (2020–2021), and is a Drama League Fellow (2017). She is an Associate Member with Stage Directors and Choreographers and a member at the Nhna Cultural Club in Damascus, Syria. Sawaf holds an MFA in directing from the University of Arkansas and a BA in mass communication from The American University of Sharjah.

We Are Here. Video courtesy of the artist.
  • Artwork by Kholoud Sawaf
    10,000 Balconies. Photo by Wesley Hitt Photography.
    [ID: On a stage set, a man climbs a balcony while a woman with an umbrella stands at the top, looking down at him. The walls of the set are decorated with ivy and hanging windows.]
  • Artwork by Kholoud Sawaf
    The Caterers. Photo by Jonathan Winn.
    [ID: Two actors in period costume stand on a stage making expressions of shock and dismay. The actors are brightly lit, but the stage fades into darkness behind them.]
Artwork by Kholoud Sawaf Artwork by Kholoud Sawaf