Kayhan Irani

Kayhan Irani

India India


Kayhan is the daughter of a Irani father, whose parents migrated to Bombay from Yazd, and a Parsi mother, whose ancestors migrated to India pre-colonization. She was born in Bombay and raised in New York City where her love of storytelling collided with diverse cultural forms of expression, and blended with her passion for justice. She is an Emmy-award winning writer, a performer, a cultural activist, and a Theater of the Oppressed trainer. She creates storytelling spaces to build community, offer healing, and to re-connect participants to their innate creativity and transformative power. She works internationally and in the US with community organizations, social service providers, educational spaces, and government agencies to expand what’s possible when we deepen our relationships to community and to walk a path of truth (Asha) through storytelling. 

Kayhan was one of ten artists named by President Obama’s White House as a 2016 White House Champion of Change for her storytelling work.  Her one-woman show, ‘We’ve Come Undone’ toured nationally and internationally, telling stories of Arab, South Asian and Muslim-American women in the wake of 9/11. She has trained hundreds of groups in Theater of the Oppressed and participatory storytelling tools over the years, both nationally and overseas, in Afghanistan, India, and Iraq.

In 2012 Kayhan was a Fulbright-Nehru Senior Researcher in India working on her play, ‘Tree of Seeds’ and studying Parsi embroidery and identity-making with the PARZOR Foundation. She is currently building There is a Portal, an immersive digital experience, pedagogy, and refugee leadership development model that asks how we can create networks of belonging even when we feel most broken.