Iran plays host to British theatre production
13 Sep 2010
Members of a Manchester based theatre company are setting off this week to Tehran where they will perform the first ever British production over three weeks at Iran's main theatre venue.
The English language play - a world premier - is written by University of Manchester PhD research student Mehrdad Rayani Makhsous - an established writer, academic, documentary maker and director in Iran.
The Kolectiv theatre company project is supervised by Dr Sasha Dundjerovic, a senior lecturer in drama at the University, with a cast of three Brits and one Iranian.
The trip -one of very few cultural exchanges to take place in Iran over recent years - is funded by the Iranian Dramatic Arts Centre, the country's most important cultural institution.
They will perform ‘Human is human’, at Tehran City Theatre, inspired by Brecht's 'A man's a man', concerning an animal who is locked up in a mental institution and eventually transformed into a woman.
Sepidah Mazaripour ,who is also a PhD student at The University of Manchester, plays the animal kept in a prison cell who gradually develops a relationship with the prison guards and a doctor.
The other members of the cast are Krystyna Musiol, Robin Sidwell and Wayne Jackson.
The performers will also engage in a question and answer session with the audience at the end of some of the performances - a requirement of Makhsous' research.
Dr Dundjerovic said: "We are incredibly excited about this unique opportunity to exchange our cultural values and interests with Iranians.
"Cross cultural performance has always been interesting for me, and this is an powerful example of that."
He added: "There is certainly a turbulent political climate in Iran but despite- or because of that- the cultural scene is vibrant and interesting and that is what concerns us.”
Makhsous said: "The West is largely unaware of what happens behind the 'Islamic curtain': cinema, the visual arts and theatre are all thriving within Iran.
"Audiences wait in long lines to visit the many theatres in Tehran not perhaps what you might imagine in the West.
"A new generation of directors is leaving its mark on Iranian theatre and some combine traditional and innovative approaches to dramatize social conditions experienced by a wide variety of characters and groups.
"I hope this venture will be able to bring the people of our two countries a least a little closer together."
Makhsous is a former director of the City Theatre, a member of the academic staff of Azad University (Tehran), and a board member of the National Iranian Theatre Critics Association of Iran.
He has written 20 plays - 6 of which have been published - and is the Director of the 2nd MAH National Theatre Festival - the second largest theatre festival in Iran.
Notes for editors
Images are available
Dr Sasha Dundjerovic and Mehrdad Rayani Makhsous are available for interview before 16 September when they leave for Iran. They return to the UK in October.
For media enquires contact
Faculty of Humanities
The University of Manchester
0161 275 0790