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A SECOND BIRTH by Ariel Mitchell

  • Balcony Theater 165 W 86th Street New York, NY 10024 (map)

The Center at West Park presents
THML’s production of

A Second Birth

A new play by Ariel Mitchell
Directed by Kayla Friend

In a rural village in southern Afghanistan, a family struggles with the tradition of bacha posh - the practice of raising a daughter to act, dress, and behave like a boy. As her feminine features begins to blossom, Nasim(a) must confront the relationships of her past and the traditions of her future to find out who she truly is.


Nasim/Nasima - Mukta Phatak
Yasir - Abuzar Farrukh
Laila - Bahar Beihaghi
Azadeh - Grace Benedetto
Hoda - Pilar Rehert*
Zeman - Islaam Balbaa
Mr. Rafaat - Jon Freda*

*AEA member

About THML - THML is a majority female-run theatre company in New York City dedicated to engaging audiences with stories of women who survive and thrive. Our programming provides opportunities for women in the "in-between" stages of artistic career development. THML Theatre Company provides a platform for new artists to have their works read or sung aloud, resources for artists with new work ready to be staged, and professional management for artists to see their new works come to fruition as a fully staged production. One hundred percent of our work in our current season is written by women, and more than eighty-five percent of our current creative teams for these projects are female or non-binary. Learn more at

Ayenda Flyer.jpg

The Ayenda Foundation and THML Theater Company Present:

A Second Birth: A Discussion

Please join us immediately following the March 15th performance of A Second Birth, for a one night only special event. We will be hosting a panel discussion in honor of International Women's Day and Nawroz (the Afghan New Year) on women's issues in Afghanistan, theater, music and tech. The panel discussion will be followed by a Q&A with the audience.

The panel will be moderated by:
Nawa Arsala Lodin, Esq.
Ayenda Foundation Board Member
Since 2006, the Ayenda Foundation has been supporting the health, education and artistic abilities of children and women in rural Afghanistan. Please consider making a tax-deductible donation to our mission.


Kayla Friend
THML Theater, Founder and Artistic Director

Kayla Friend is a performing artist, director, writer, and producing consultant based in New York City. Kayla originally hails from a small town in southern California, where she first developed her love for live theatre and music. She received her Bachelor of the Arts in Theatre and Anthropology from California Baptist University, and pursued professional education through the Center for Alternative Theatre Training (CATT) in Athens and the City University of New York (CUNY). Kayla is the founder and Artistic Director for THML Theatre Company, a nonprofit, female-focused production company based in New York City. As a theatre professional, Kayla has more than 8 years of experience internationally, having worked in California, Texas, Turkey, the Sultanate of Oman, the United Arab Emirates, and New York City. She is a member of the International Association of Professional Writers and Editors, an Irene Ryan Award nominee, and a certified Green Dot Facilitator for the Department of Defense- training military members and contractors on the prevention and awareness of sexual assault, suicide, and domestic abuse.

Fereshteh Forough
Code to Inspire, Founder

Fereshteh Forough was born as an Afghan refugee in Iran during the USSR's invasion of Afghanistan. One year after the Taliban regime collapsed, Fereshteh and her family moved back to Herat, Afghanistan. After returning to Herat, she earned my Bachelor in Computer Science and later her Master's from Technical University of Berlin in Germany. She taught as a professor at the Computer Science faculty of Herat University for almost three years. In January 2015 she founded the first coding school for girls in Afghanistan with the mission of educating Afghan women with in-demand programming skills, empower them to add unique value to their communities, and inspire them to strive for financial and social independence.

Code to Inspire (CTI) is the first coding academy for girls in Herat, Afghanistan. Founded by Fereshteh Forough in 2015, CTI has given more than 150 female students the skills and confidence to code, build apps, and generate work opportunities for themselves. CTI believes in giving these young tech entrepreneurs the latest skills including classes in Web Development, Unity Game Development, Mobile Application Development and Graphic Design.

Yelda Ali
Camel Assembly, Founder

Yelda Ali is a German-born Canadian citizen of Afghan descent living in New York City and the founder of Camel Assembly, an international women-only collective of creative leaders. Although she’s also an in-demand DJ who travels the globe for work, these days the jack-of-many-trades is focused on building engaged creative communities. The seeds for Camel Assembly were planted through a recurring date Ali had with friends circa 2015. She’d always credited her deep network and social community for much of her success, and found herself wanting women to have similar access to the strength she got from the creativity and support of other women. The Camel, Camel Assembly’s monthly digital newsletter, features first-person essays and other articles from women all over the world. And the collective’s members regularly participate in acts of civic engagement, from volunteering with #HashtagLunchbag to producing campaigns highlighting female activists in member cities.

Earlier Event: March 14
THE OWL GIRL by Monica Raymond
Later Event: March 16
THE OWL GIRL by Monica Raymond