project leader
Dale H
91 Public Square
(downtown Cleveland)
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the project

First produced by RealTime Interventions in 2019, “Khūrākī” is a culinary theatrical event created by Molly Rice in collaboration with a group of recently-resettled Afghan refugees in Pittsburgh. The initial run of Khūrākī (meaning “eat” or “meal” in the Afghan language Dari) sold out, creating waiting lists each night. Help us bring this amazing project to Cleveland in July! More than 600 Afghan refugees have settled in Cleveland recently. Often new female refugees do not speak English or have experience of working outside the home. This project offers direct assistance by providing Afghan women who love to cook a chance to connect with Clevelanders, share their culture, and possibly find a pathway to work.

This summer, the BorderLight Festival ( is collaborating with the Pittsburgh team to present Khūrākī in Old Stone Church on Public Square, with performances July 20-23. Local female Afghan refugees will cook traditional Afghan cuisine as part of each show, learning how to work in a commercial kitchen. Audiences will enjoy delicious, homecooked Afghan food as part of every performance.

Khūrākī celebrates the beauty of Afghan culture, music, and food through "theatrical portraits" of three strong women who have recently become Americans. What have they been able to preserve in the flight from home--in their traditions, in their cooking, in their hearts? What do they hope to cultivate here? And what do they want you to know about the beautiful country where they were born?

This project is assisted by Global Cleveland and USCRI (the US Committee for Refugees and Immigrants), who have facilitated introductions to the local Afghan refugee community, and by Cuyahoga Community College's Hospitality Management Center, who are donating expertise, faculty time, and kitchen space.

In Pittsburgh, this show resulted in the start of a now thriving Afghan catering business run by the original Afghan cooks. This remarkable example of refugee entrepreneurship inspired the BorderLight Festival to create an encore production for Cleveland, featuring local Afghan women who have an interest in the culinary arts. Khūrākī will provide a true cultural exchange between our Afghan neighbors and the greater Cleveland community. 

the steps

Here's some of what it has taken to get this ambitious project done: 

  • April: Partnership with USCRI Afghan women's group established with help of Global Cleveland.
  • May 1: Old Stone Church approved as production site. TriC signs on as partner.
  • May 15: Pre-production underway: recruitment of Afghan female cooks and partners; cast and production staff hired
  • May 13-July 20: PR campaign in full swing: press, print and social media, look out!
  • June 5: initial meeting and contract-signing with actors
  • June 20: the Afghan women will take their ServSafe training and certification
  • June 24: rehearsal starts!
  • Last week of June: commercial kitchen schedule finalized, menu planning complete, posters distributed
  • June 24 - July 20: rehearsals continue with actors, musicians, and facilitators
  • July 1: Childcare and food servers for the show hired
  • July 10-21: Food shopping and preparation; final rehearsals; completion of set 
  • July 21: OPENING NIGHT!

why we're doing it

The women involved in this project want to share the beauty of their homeland with their new home/land.  While American media reports on war, strife, and the darker side of military conflict, that is not the narrative these women want to reinforce.  They would like their American audience to experience a taste of the beauty and diversity of their country, a country that has served as the crossroads of many cultures through the centuries, and has developed its own culture in the meantime.

The end goal of this project is to make the women of Cleveland's Afghan refugee population feel welcomed into the greater community, through telling their stories and sharing their food.  They will learn the basics of how to start a food business, and gain exposure to commercial cooking practices and other refugee entrepreneurs. Because of their diligence and determination, Zafaron Afghan Cuisine became the first Afghan food business in Pittsburgh, and with your help, we can create similar opportunities in Cleveland!

Together we can help reinforce the image of Cleveland as the welcoming city we all know and love: one that builds bridges, not walls.


Disbursed budget 08.012.22:

TOTAL RAISED = $1,972.00
ioby Fiscal Sponsorship Fee (5%) N/A
ioby Donation Processing Fee (3%) $59.16

Original budget:

ioby Fiscal Sponsorship Fee (5%) N/A
ioby Donation Processing Fee (3%)
(Donation processing fee does not apply to match funding.)

Donation processing fees apply to donations only. 100% of match funding goes to projects. Please note, fees are estimated here and final numbers may change based on the final amount raised and amount of match funding applied to this campaign.

Personnel (cooks, translator, performers, stage manager, musicians, producer, director): $10,120

Community Engagement (translator, talkback fees, research with Afghan community): $3,890

Production Costs (rehearsal space, truck and storage rental, boxed meals for audiences, equipment and theatre rental): $5,000

Production Administration: $5,000

Transportation/Lodging/Per diems: $8,877

Marketing/Educational: $1300




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