// Northern California




On May 8, AGBU YP Northern California (YPNC) hosted the Bay Area premiere of Lousine Shamamian’s “Shake The Earth.” Produced by YPNC Vice-Chair Rose Nemet, the groundbreaking show debuted in the San Francisco Bay Area to a packed house of over one hundred young professionals, family and guests at La Peña Cultural Center in Berkeley. The evening brought together the community in support of Syrian and Nagorno-Karabakh Armenian relief and featured a live production unlike the community had ever seen and raised funds for the Syrian and Nagorno-Karabakh Humanitarian Emergency Relief Funds.


New York-based writer and performer Lousine Shamamian premiered her one-woman show at the New York International Fringe Festival in August 2015 where it was named a Fringe Festival “Best Bet” amid rave reviews from the Huffington Post and Theatre Is Easy. This April, Shamamian premiered “Shake the Earth” on the West Coast with two sold-out shows in Los Angeles.


“We are honored and privileged to have presented this astounding story of survival during the Armenian Genocide. Simply put, Lousine is a raw talent and we’re thankful to have had the opportunity to work with her and bring this show to Northern California. To have the Armenian community come together in overwhelming support of new and crucial content, to bear witness to her great-grandfather’s remarkable journey and Lousine’s coming of age,” said Nemet.


“Shake The Earth” follows Lousine’s journey growing up gay in the Armenian community of New York City. Hinging on the tension between Armenian pride and gay pride, driven by the centennial of the Armenian Genocide, and the Turkish government’s denial, this tragicomedy is an explosive tale of survival, resilience and freedom. Lousine yearns to bring the injustice inflicted on her ancestors to light while standing up for herself and recounting her great-grandfather Georgi’s remarkable story of survival.


“There was concern that our community wasn’t ready for a show that tackled issues of sexuality within the context of Armenian identity, history and pride, but what this performance so powerfully demonstrated was that many in our community are receptive and supportive of such stories. I was so moved by the standing ovation I received and by being asked to return to the stage for a curtain call. Then, having people both young and old, Armenian and non-Armenian, approach me after the show to share how they were moved and transformed by the performance was very touching and affirming. To tell a story of being Armenian and gay, to educate non-Armenians about a very personal story of survival during the Armenian Genocide and to welcome the broader mainstream Armenian community to sit with those of us who are often marginalized within our community was truly an astounding gift for me and hopefully for others. I am encouraged by this successful night and strongly believe that this movement of inclusiveness within our community will continue,” said Shamamian.


For more information about AGBU YPNC events, projects, and programs and to donate please visit norcal.agbuyp.org. For additional questions, email norcal@agbuyp.org.


Established in 1906, AGBU (www.agbu.org) is the world’s largest non-profit Armenian organization. Headquartered in New York City, AGBU preserves and promotes the Armenian identity and heritage through educational, cultural and humanitarian programs, annually touching the lives of some 500,000 Armenians around the world.


For more information about AGBU and its worldwide programs, please visit www.agbu.org.

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