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Leila Buck

Part-time Faculty
431 - 1 Wash Pl

Office Hours
Wednesday By Appt: 3:30-4:30

B.A., Theatre, Wesleyan University, 1999
M.A., Individualized Study, New York University, 2008

Leila Buck is a Lebanese-American writer, performer, and intercultural facilitator who has lived and worked in more than 20 Arab and European countries and throughout the US. She has performed, taught, and facilitated workshops in English and Arabic in Denmark, Palestine, Saudi Arabia, Tunisia, and Lebanon as a State Department Speaker Specialist and Cultural Envoy, and at UNHQ in NY and Geneva and the World Humanitarian Summit in Istanbul, and taught storytelling and drama for literacy, conflict resolution, social and cross-cultural engagement at universities, schools, and business and cultural centers across the US, internationally, and in New York with the Khalil Gibran International Academy, the Arab American Family Support Center, New York Theatre Workshop and Lincoln Center.  In 2015, she received the Edgar Beckham Social Justice Award for her work as artist-in-residence for Wesleyan University’s Doris Duke Foundation Building Bridges grant, teaching and creating work with students about the (mis)representation of Muslims in the US. In the spring of 2017, she co-taught a course at Rutgers-Newark with Tim Raphael, guiding students on the most diverse campus in the country to create theatrical pieces in response to the first 100 days of the current administration. As a founding member and Education Director of Nibras Arab-American Theater Collective and Artistic Director of Nisaa Arab-American Women’s Collective, Leila 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).  Highlights:  Writer/Performer: American Dreams (Cleveland Public Theatre); Hkeelee (Talk to Me) (Mosaic Theater - Arena Stage, National Museum of Women in the Arts (DC); El Teatro (Tunis), Theatre Gemmayze (Beirut)); In the Crossing (Public Theater and Culture Project -WCS, New York) Actor: Aftermath (New York Theatre Workshop/International Tour -Drama League nomination); Scorched (Wilma Theater-Barrymore Award). Publication and Press: Al Hurra TV; Brian Lehrer Live; TCG Finding Home Essay Salon; Lark Stages of Resistance blog; Innovation in Five Acts; Etching Our Own Image: Voices from the Arab American Art Movement; and Four Arab-American Plays. Member: EWG- Public Theater; Usual Suspect – NYTW.      

Grants & Fellowships


Resident Actor Fellowship

Leila Buck was named a 2020 Fox Foundation Resident Actor Fellow by the Theatre Communications Group (TCG) and the William and Eva Fox Foundation.

Teaching and Research Interests

immersive  interactive and participatory performance; audience engagement and civic dialogue; storytelling; 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 

Recent News


Leila Buck's latest work, American Dreams and Arabian Nights, received a BRICLab residency in December 2017.

In 2016, 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.


Leila Buck's participatory play, American Dreams, developed in collaboration with director Tamilla Woodard and their actors, premieres at Cleveland Public Theatre February 8 through March 3, 2018.

In June 2016, Leila Buck was 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 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.


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.

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