Press Release

World Premiere of ‘Draw the Circle’ to lead PlayMakers’ 2016/17 lineup

Performer’s own funny, moving story of a Muslim-American family dealing with their daughter’s gender transition brings a human face to today’s headlines

(Chapel Hill, N.C.—June 15, 2016) PlayMakers Repertory Company is pleased to announce that the world premiere of “Draw the Circle” written and performed by Mashuq Mushtaq Deen, directed by Chay Yew, will lead off its 2016/17 Season.

The one-man show will be presented Aug. 24-28 as the first play in PlayMakers’ PRC² series, the theater’s topic-driven second stage format in which each performance is followed by artist-audience discussion. “Draw the Circle” joins “De Profundis” (Jan. 11-15, 2017) and “Mr. Joy” (April 26-30, 2017) in the upcoming PRC² lineup.

“Draw the Circle” is the funny and deeply moving story of a bewildered immigrant Muslim family coming to terms with a child who defies their expectations of what it means to have a daughter when that child transitions from one gender to another. The play is a unique and personal look at universal themes of family, the quest for understanding, and one woman’s commitment to unconditional love. The play has been described as an “effortless blend of comedy and intense intimacy” (Stephen Shelley, Artistic Director of Brooklyn’s BEAT Festival).

Deen, an award-winning actor/playwright, has been described as “an artist whose work reflects and imagines the national cultural identity.” New York Theatre Workshop (NYTW) named him a 2050 Fellow. His plays have been produced and/or developed by New Dramatists, The Public Theater, NYTW, InterAct Theatre, Page 73, Ma-Yi Theater Company, Hemispheric Institute of Performance and Politics, BEAT Festival and Berkshire Fringe as well as colleges and universities across the country.

“In a series devoted to opening dialogue about the important issues of our time, and at a moment when we as a community must confront intolerance, Deen’s ‘Draw the Circle’ explores the complex humanity at the heart of one transgender story, expanding our empathy through a 21st century understanding of inclusivity,” says PlayMakers Producing Artistic Director Vivienne Benesch. “This compassionate look at a family’s struggle with their child’s gender transition will be followed each night by a facilitated discussion with our audience, Deen, and various scholars, community leaders, politicians and trans artists. We hope to welcome a broad spectrum of theater-goers to this show and responsibly entertain, educate and perhaps even transform them through art and storytelling.”

Describing his eagerness to perform at PlayMakers, Deen quotes the poem that inspired the title of his play saying “Edwin Markham wrote, ‘He drew the circle that shut me out, heretic, rebel, thing to flout. But Love and I had the wit to win: We drew a circle and took him in!’ He adds, “I cannot wait to come to the beautiful state of North Carolina, and if I have to draw a circle around the whole, entire state, I’ll be glad to do it.”

“Draw the Circle” will be performed at 7:30 p.m. nightly and 2 p.m. on Aug. 28 in the Elizabeth Price Kenan Theatre in the Center for Dramatic Art on Country Club Road. Tickets are currently available as part of the theater’s new season subscription packages. For more information, call the PlayMakers box office at (919) 962-7529 or visit

About PlayMakers
Based in UNC’s College of Arts and Sciences, PlayMakers is the professional theater in residence at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill and the Carolinas’ premier resident professional theater company. New York’s Drama League has named PlayMakers one of the “best regional theatres in America.”

PlayMakers contact (for press information, interviews, photos and art): Connie Mahan, (919) 962-5359,