Who is Nadia Parvez Manzoor?


slide2 Nadia P. Manzoor is a writer, performer, and producer. She was born a twin, in the USA, to Pakistani parents. She was raised in Dubai, Singapore, and London, and she is as diversely talented as her geographical upbringing. She is a storyteller because she believes that the stories we tell become the stories we live and she lives as enthusiastically as she tells. Nadia moved to NYC to shake up her own understanding of self, and place, and creativity, and earned a Masters from Boston University in Social Work. Her passion to merge the arts and social reform has brought her to designing arts curriculum for marginalized teens affiliated with the Hetrick-Martin Institute, to teaching and performing improvisation with Improvolution. Throughout all of this, she has written, and her writing has now taken her to the stage where you can see her perform with wit, insight, humor and precisely real characters.


burq_smDo you have upcoming events you’d like people to attend?


Yes! Burq Off!  My autobiographical one-woman show just finished a sold out run in December, and due to its success, it’s coming back!


We’d love for you to join us for Burq Off!’s second run:

 Walkerspace, 46 Walker St., NYC.

 Dates: March 27 at 8pm, March 28 at 8pm, March 29 at 2pm & 8pm and March 30 at 2 pm

 Click here for info on the show.

 Click here to purchase tickets.


Unknown-1What is your favorite dramatic work/s?


John Leguizamo’s Freak is an amazing piece of theater and a big inspiration for my one-woman show. His wry, outlandish, sense of humor, his vibrant physicality, and his dance moves transform his hour and a half long solo show in a spectacle of hilarity, brilliant storytelling, and personal expose. His ability to turn stereotype on its head, and to make you laugh so hard you cry and cry while your laughing is something I really aspire to on the stage.


Who are the playwrights (and writers) you most admire?


Irshad Manji is someone I deeply admire and respect because she has the balls to ask really provocative questions in the face of an extremely dogmatic and confined religion. In her passion for reconciling faith with freedom, she is standing up and challenging the leaders of the Islamic world to reconsider and upgrade their religious and spiritual ideals. I’ve never seen anyone whose work is so deeply infused with that level of moral courage.


I also find Jason Silva to be pretty incredible. His ability to synthesize ridiculously complex facts about science, existentialism, and technology and put them into these bite sized poetic rants is just absolute beauty.


And recently, I’ve been really intrigued by Russel Brand. The way he takes the things he cares about and presents them in an entertaining and humorous light, along with his sheer lack of self-consciousness is mind-blowing to me.


th-1Who is your greatest inspiration and why?


Radhika Vaz, Indian writer and comedian, is one of my best friends and biggest inspirations. Rad’s ability to take an idea and make a show from it is what inspired me to believe that I could make a show about my life. Rad is continuously moving forward, following her passions and interests. She’s not letting doubt get in the way of her creativity, or of pursuing her dreams and putting herself out there.


What are the top five things you’d like to accomplish in the next five years?


1. Let’s start with this year, in which I hope to complete a successful international tour of Burq Off!


2. Once Paprika Productions has taken the show to England, Dubai, Singapore, Toronto, and India, I am absolutely dedicated to bringing the show to Pakistan in an effort to promote and raise money for women’s education in the Muslim world


3. In the future, I can see Burq Off becoming a Broadway show. It’s unique combination of Bollywood dancing and street dance has not been seen before, and its blend of eastern and western aesthetics and choreography would make it a brilliant piece of theater on a bigger scale.


rAtElgFZ5PD8sxu8fqSFjHcp-4iPeHxK_K9btbDQuKQ4. On another scale, within the next five years, Paprika Productions aims to be working on a screenplay. In fact, in five years time, my team and I would like to have completed the screenplay and to be in the beginning phases of production.


5. In five years time, Shugs and Fats, the comedic characters in the web series that Radhika and I are currently co-producing, will hopefully be established and recognized personalities who create laughter and conversation around taboo topics.



If you could dream of trying something in the arts you haven’t tried, but would like to, what would that be?


Rap and spoken word. Some of my biggest loves are the art of freestyle, movement, and hip hop. I’m enthralled with improvisation because I love the art of creating something from not knowing—you’re forced to lose yourself and respond in the moment, and there’s a realness in that. I also am fascinated with words and language and finding meaning through poetry, so for me the next step in bringing all of these elements together would be doing rap and spoken word.


slide5What was the best gift that someone gave you that inspired or facilitated an interest in your art?


The stories my mom would tell me every night at bedtime gave me the yearning to imagine and dream. I loved how a story could transport me to a different dimension, to a different world where different rules would apply. And if I let myself go into that world I would have different powers. I would imagine myself as the protagonist of the story I would be able to do all of these things that I never even imagined were possible. But because of the stories I could dream. I think breaking outside of the limitations of what we think of as real is really important for us as humans. It’s what allows us to fight the bigger fight, and to overcome the impossible.


Nadia P. Manzoor Website 

Nadia P. Manzoor Facebook page



Nadia Parvez Manzoor
Nadia Parvez Manzoor

“I can’t stop rewinding last night in my mind! What an incredible cast of talent, surrounded by an audience in awe. A truly magical evening. Thanking you over and over.” Barbara O’Connell


With a brilliant sense of comedic timing and heart, Nadia Manzoor kicked off the evening with a hilarious segment from her one woman show, Dirty Little Paki. Nadia’s segment featured both the aspirations of a five year old and the cultural limitations faced as a woman.  Her story of a Pakistani girl facing the dichotomy of a strict Muslim upbringing in free-spirited London is both universal and intensely personal.  I first saw Nadia performing in Brendan Connellan’s Pompa Pompa earlier in the year and just as her humor, intelligence and charm shone through then, it did so again on Wednesday night.


Eimear O'Connor
Eimear O’Connor

Dr. Eimear O’Connor followed Nadia and held the audience rapt with a slide presentation that featured the art of Irish born Sean Keating. The art teacher you always wanted, Eimear presented a picture of Keating, his projects, his expansive career and his overtly political paintings with an ease and wit that brought Keating’s work to life. Sean Keating: Art, Politics and Building the Irish Nation is a book that is richly illustrated with over 200 color paintings, sketches, and photographs, and the definitive work on this hugely respected, yet controversial Irish artist. 


Maggie O'Farrell
Maggie O’Farrell

Best selling author and award winning novelist Maggie O’Farrell, whose most recent award was the Costa Novel Award in 2010 for The Hand That First Held Mine, gracefully read from her latest novel Instructions for a Heat Wave, the story of a family that is falling apart and coming together and the truths about who they really are. Earlier, Maggie said, “I’ve always been interested in how extreme weather affects behavior.” Maggie combined that interest with an interest in dyslexia and her own life long stammer to develop her novel’s main character, Aoife. 



Deni Bonet and Charles R. Hale
Deni Bonet and Charles R. Hale

Incorporating humor and edginess, violinist Deni Bonet dazzled the audience with her breathtaking virtuosity. Beginning with “Last Girl on Earth” from the CD with the same title, Deni moved into a sizzling violin solo called the “Goddamn Violin Solo,” so called, as Deni laughingly said, “For lack of a better name.” Deni concluded with a foot stomping, rocking “Alone.” Deni will be playing every Tuesday in August at the Garcia’s Club at the Capitol Theater in Port Chester, NY.  The show is called “A Tribute to Old and in the Way”. 




Pamela Herron
Pamela Herron

Pamela Herron began the second half of the evening with a dance, a very moving, untitled, Butoh solo that she performed with a grace and intensity that echoed throughout the space. She dedicated the piece to the healing of an artist she has been collaborating with since 2009, Jogyo (aka/ Dru Barnes) who recently suffered a brutal attack that took his left eye. Enthralling, heart wrenching, and spectacular.



Liv Mammone
Liv Mammone

Poet Liv Mammone is a vivacious young voice that will be heard on the New York performance poetry circuit for years to come. Using her background as a novelist, she uses various characters, including Venus de Milo, a fictional gangster, and a certain part of her own anatomy, to provide insight into what she calls “all the million ways one must be moved; the changes we make on our migrations through the world.” Her poems were titled “Venus de Milo answers a Tumblr Feminist,” “Elegy for James Darmody,” and one of the funniest poems imaginable, the laugh out loud “Vagina Resigning.”


Brendan Connellan
Brendan Connellan

Playwright Brendan Connellan ended the evening dipping into crazed, frenetic prose, racing through some fresh and fun thoughts on his visit to Japan. Brendan touched on scraping away calf muscles, Perry blasting his cannons at Japan’s gates, foreigners being welcome but only if they leave quickly and Joseph Stalin turning out to be a friend with benefits. 


The next Artists Without Walls Showcase at The Cell will be on August 27, 7pm. For more info on becoming a member of Artists Without Walls write to info@artistswithoutwalls.com 


Cat Dwyer’s photos from Wednesday night’s “AWoW Showcase at The Cell.” Names appear above each photo.

Nadia Parvez Manzoor


Eimear O’Connor


Maggie O’Farrell


Deni Bonet


Pamela Herron


Liv Mammone and Connie Roberts


Brendan Connellan




There’s a fascinating line up planned for this week’s “AWoW Showcase.” Imagine your favorite singer-songwriter – with a violin and a better sense of humor. You’ve just described Deni Bonet. Not every classically-trained musician plays the violin like an air guitar! Deni Bonet is a college radio favorite who’s performed with the likes of Cyndi Lauper, R.E.M., Sarah McLachlan & Robyn Hitchcock and fits her string & vocal skills into ironic, catchy alternative pop. This past week Deni opened for the Eagles in Washington and Pittsburgh and we’re thrilled she’ll be joining us. 

1026061_538279549565861_372940734_oMaggie O’Farrell’s debut novel, After You’d Gone, was published to international acclaim, and won a Betty Trask Award, while her third, The Distance Between Us, won the 2005 Somerset Maugham Award. Maggie will be discussing and reading from her recently published Instructions for a Heatwave.

303813_2067615775422_420406457_nPoet Connie Roberts, who has referred two wonderful poets in the past, Koro Koroye and Ciara Thompson, will be introducing poet Olivia Mammone a professor of creative writing at Queens College. Liv has opened for poets such as Martin Espada, Mayda del Valle, and Lemon Anderson and was an actress in and co-writer of Words: a Drama in Poetry which sold out the Gene Frankel Theater in New York City. Liv, who is also an editor for American Book Publishing, has had her poetry appear in Message in a Bottle and Wordgathering Magazine


Dr Éimear O’Connor is an art historian, curator, lecturer, art advisor and archivist. She was born and lives in Dublin, Ireland. O’Connor began her professional career as a visual artist and has exhibited in Ireland, Denmark and North America. She specialized in site-specific work, and has also designed album covers, book covers and stage settings. Eimear will be discussing her new book titled Sean Keating: Art Politics and Building the Nation.


photo-3Pamela Herron, skilled in Butoh, commonly referred to as the “dance of darkness,” and who dances with The Vangeline Theater will be making her first appearance at an AWoW Showcase.  Butoh, which is concerned with creating movement that is distinct and different from Western influences,  is characterized by slow, controlled movement and images that are sometimes whimsical, sometimes grotesque. 



IMG_0946Frequent AWoW contributor Brendan Connellan, off his recent success with his play Pompa Pompa, and just returned from his honeymoon in Japan, has written some thoughts on his honeymoon. Given Brendan’s wit and pithy observations this is sure to be both entertaining and captivating. And reuniting with Brendan, although presenting separately, is one of the stars of Pompa Pompa, Improv artist Nadia Parvez Manzoor. Nadia believes that Improv has the potential of transforming culture in a significant way. What will she be doing? Probably making it up on the fly.


IMG_3074For all that, and maybe a surprise or two, join us at The Cell Theatre, 338 West 23rd Street, Wed., 7pm. It’s sure to be a great evening.