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Vinita Sud Belani on creating South Asian theater with 'universal appeal'

Sukanya Chakrabarti
EnActe Arts in rehearsal


A new play in the South Bay tells the story of a remarkable woman you may not know about.

Noor Inayat Khan, a Muslim Indian radio operator, was one of the most important spies for the Allied Powers in World War II. Her life is memorialized in a new play called Soundwaves: The Passion of Noor Inayat Khan. It’s from EnActe Arts, an acting troupe that focuses on ‘South Asian Theater with universal appeal.’ Artistic director Vinita Sud Belani sat down with KALW’s Jen Chien to talk about what it means to be an immigrant creating art in the United States, and why these kinds of stories are so important today.



"Art is not art unless it has a little activism involved.

Soundwaves: The Passion of NoorInayat Khan will show at the DeAnza Visual and Performing Arts Center in Cupertino Friday April 7th through Sunday April 9th. For more information click here.   


Jen Chien was the managing editor for Crosscurrents and KALW News from 2016 to 2018. She has been a contributor to All Things Considered, Radio Netherlands Worldwide, BBC/PRI’s The World, Making Contact, SF Public Press, East Bay Express, New America Media, and KPFA in Berkeley, where she took part in the First Voice Apprenticeship Program. She is the recipient of the 2013 Outstanding Emerging Journalist Award from the Society of Professional Journalists of Northern California. She holds a BA in American Studies from Smith College, and an MA in Interdisciplinary Performance from New College of California. Before entering the field of journalism, she had a successful career as a professional dance and theater artist, teacher, and massage therapist.