Participatory Theatre in Iran

Artist: Inter Act

In December 2013 a unique theatrical event took place in Tehran. Its title was The Odour and the location was a former bath house. There, spectators took part in an interactive performance about life under a totalitarian regime, about the need to be in control of your own life, and about the hope for change and freedom. The event was closed: all the actors invited two people they knew. A professional film crew documented the show and the resulting documentary will be screened for the first time outside Iran in this ICAF workshop. The Odour is also on the shortlist for an Iranian theatre festival later this spring.

In this workshop, director Nasrin Ghasemzadeh (formerly a well-know screen actress) and writer and producer Farhad Foroutanian will share their experiences in trying to get participatory theatre off the ground in Iran. Over the past few years, they have been introducing their home-made interactive theatre approach to students, actors and other interested people through a series of workshops. The people they trained have since facilitated their own interactive theatre in hospitals and on oil rigs. Recently, they formed their own theatre company, with which they performed The Odour.

Nasrin Ghasemzadeh and Farhad Foroutanian use the power of theatre to invite the audience on stage. The audience thus not only experience the emotions and stories of the actors; they can also act themselves and engage in a dialogue with the actors and each other. With their company InterAct Nasrin and Farhad previously participated in the interactive theatre project Without Invitation about refugees (which was part of the Rotterdam Cultural Capital of Europe programme in 2001). They also created theatre shows around safety in schools and about saying farewell to a neighbourhood (in the context of urban renewal) and they collaborated with well-known theatre makers like Dries Verhoeven (No Man’s Land) and Alan Yadegarian (Persians).

Thursday 27 March 13.30

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