B.A. Theatre, Wesleyan University, 1999 M.A. Individualized Study, New York University, 2008
Leila Buck is a Lebanese American writer, actor, storyteller, and educator who has lived, traveled, performed, and taught throughout the US, Australia, and over 20 Arab and European countries. Her solo show, ISite, about growing up between the US and the Arab World, toured the US, Europe, and China for more than ten years, and was published in Four Arab American Plays (McFarland Press 2013). Her second play, In the Crossing, an ensemble piece about her experience in Lebanon with her Jewish husband during the Israeli-Hezbollah war of 2006 and the challenges of telling that story on her return, was first performed in the Public’s New Work Now! 2006, and developed with support of Silk Road Rising, Lark Play Development Center (Finalist, Playwrights’s Week 2009), The Public Theater, Culture Project-Women Center Stage, and New York Theatre Workshop.
As a teaching artist and collaborator, Buck has conducted workshops on storytelling and drama for cross-cultural engagement at universities, conferences, schools, and cultural centers including the Khalil Gibran International Academy, the Arab American Family Support Center, New York Theatre Workshop, and Lincoln Center, among many others. She was a founding member and Education Director of Nibras Arab-American Theater Collective and Artistic Director of Nisaa Arab-American Women’s Collective, with whom she edited and performed in SAJJIL (RECORD), an investigation of what it means to be Arab in America (Winner, Best Ensemble, 2002 NY Fringe Fest), and THE PANEL, a satirical piece based on dialogues with Arab American women (Princeton University–Utopia Station). Buck’s work has been published or featured in American Theatre magazine, WNYC’s “Brian Lehrer Live;” WBAI; Innovation in Five Acts; Four Arab-American Plays, and Etching Our Own Image: Voices from the Arab American Art Movement.
Teaching and Research Interests
storytelling; participatory performance, audience engagement and civic dialogue; representation of Arabs, Muslims, and other under/mis-represented groups in theater, film and television; Arab American history and stories; immigrant narratives; inter-and cross-cultural dialogue creation and facilitation; playwriting; Boal/Theatre of the Oppressed; Levantine languages, history and culture; US-"Middle East" relations
In June 2016, Leila Buck will be an actor and dramaturg for R & J: Damascus at TheatreSquared in Fayetteville, Arkansas, a project of the Doris Duke Foundation’s Building Bridges Grants.
On April 23, 2016, Leila Buck was the keynote speaker and recipient of the Alumni Achievement award at the Edgar Beckham Social Justice Awards at Wesleyan University in Middletown, Connecticut.
On April 30 and May 1, 2016, she performed her play Hkeelee (Talk to Me) at Arena Stage, produced by Mosaic Theatre Company in Washington, DC.
Leila Buck co-presented, along with Kristin Horton, the opening of the 2016 NoPassport Conference at Gallatin in March 2016. She spoke on a Gallatin panel on Artists as Global Citizens event, moderated and hosted by Judith Sloan, at the NYU School of Journalism in March 2016.
With the author Colm Tóibín, actress Saoirse Ronan, and Karen AbuZayd, Special Adviser on the Summit on Addressing Large Movements of Refugees and Migrants, Leila Buck spoke on a panel on large-scale migration at the United Nations that followed a screening of the movie Brooklyn, held in February 2016.
In the fall of 2015, Leila Buck performed the story of a Syrian refugee for World Humanitarian Day at UN Headquarters in New York, and at the Global Consultation for the World Humanitarian Summit in Geneva, Switzerland, where she also moderated the opening plenary panel and facilitated a workshop on cross-cultural communication for UN member delegates and humanitarian workers.
Leila Buck traveled to Saudi Arabia, Tunisia and Beirut as a State Department Speaker Specialist, performing her play Hkeelee (Talk to Me) in Arabic and English and leading workshops for educators, youth, and community leaders on using drama and storytelling tools for developing English, empowerment and self-expression.