Naseem Badie is a storyteller working in multiple mediums.

She started out as a visual artist in San Francisco, exhibiting her site-specific video installations in galleries and art spaces throughout the Bay Area. After working for three years at early stage hardware startup, OQO, Inc, she began a graduate program at Oxford University. Upon receiving her PhD four years later, she took a position as Assistant Professor of International Development and Humanitarian Action at CSU Monterey Bay.

As a scholar, Naseem’s work focused on the plight of communities impacted by poverty, war, and forced migration. In the course of her research, she lived in squatter settlements and tent camps in South Sudan, on couches in Nairobi, and hostels in Tanzania where she met rebel soldiers and missionaries, refugees and aid workers, collecting strange and powerful stories along the way.

After six years as a university professor, Naseem began working for the Alameda County government on criminal justice reform initiatives, including a collaboration with the California Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation focused on improving the transition from prison back to the community.

© Lenny Gonzalez for New Factory Friend

Alongside her career as a sociologist and academic, Naseem works as a performer, filmmaker, and playwright. From 2008-2017, she performed in art installations, music videos, and short films; she founded an oral history project; and she directed and produced a short documentary film, The Sky is the Same Color.

After completing Theater Bay Area’s ATLAS program in 2017, Naseem has focused mainly on writing. Her full-length play, Seek the Water, was selected for the Custom Made Theatre Company’s New Play Development Program in 2018. The play had two readings at Custom Made Theater in 2018, and one in 2019 produced by the Playwrights’ Center of San Francisco. Following that, she collaborated on an adaptation of the Welsh myth, the Mabinogian, with theater director, Edward Morgan for the 2019 San Francisco Olympians Festival. Their play, Written in the Stars, premiered at the Exit Theater in November 2020 and was also produced as a radio play by Poltergeist Productions in spring 2021. It will also be performed at the Pear Theater in Mountain View, California for their fall 2021 reading series.

In 2020, she also completed a full-length play, A People’s History of the Twentieth Century, a collaboration with nine other Bay Area playwrights. The full production was scheduled for July and August 2020 at the Exit Theater in San Francisco, but was postponed due to the COVID-19 pandemic. In spring 2021, she contributed a short play entitled, Six Months, to the Fresh-baked Pears One-Act Festival.

Currently, she’s working on a full-length play for the 2021 San Francisco Olympians Festival entitled, Sheherezad. Adapted from the framing tale of 1001 Arabian Nights, it is set in a future Kabul under the Taliban. The play will have a reading at the Exit Theater in San Francisco in November 2021. Since fall 2021, Naseem has been a member of the Pear Theater Guild.

© Lenny Gonzalez for New Factory Friend

A native of Iran, Naseem moved to Germany with her family after the Iranian Revolution. After four years, they settled permanently in the United States, landing in Los Angeles before eventually migrating to the Bay Area. She is the product of Middle Eastern culture, shaped by European sensibilities, and a typical California upbringing.

Naseem has a BA from UC Berkeley, a BFA from San Francisco Art Institute, and MPhil and PhD degrees from the University of Oxford. She is a huge NBA fan and loves to read genre fiction.

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