Worldwide Locations

Worldwide Locations

Festival of Arts, Shiraz-Persepolis


1. The official English title in festival catalogues published annually, 1967-1977.

2. The primary sources for this paper include the Shiraz Arts Festival catalogues, bulletins, and program notes published during 1967-1977. Supplemental program data were provided by several individuals with firsthand knowledge of the Festival, among them, Reza Ghotbi, Sheherazade Afshar, Bijan Saffari, Arby Ovanessian, Parviz Sayyad, and Mohammad-Baqer Ghaffari. Secondary sources include, in Persian: interviews with Farrokh Gaffary (1984) and Bijan Saffari (1983), Foundation for Iranian Studies, “Program for Oral History;” “Jashn-e Honar-e Shiraz,” Kargah-e Nemayesh az Aghaz ta Payan, 1348-1357 (The Theatre Workshop from Beginning to End, 1969-1978), Setareh Khorramzadeh Esfahani, ed. Tehran: Afraz, 1387, pp. 101-199; “Jashn-e Honar-e Shiraz-Takhte- Jamshid: 1346-1358,” Yad-ha va Boud-ha: Khaaterat-e Iraj Zohari. Tehran: Mo’in, 1382, pp. 171-227; and in English, “Iran,” The World Encyclopedia of Contemporary Theatre: Asia/Pacific, Don Rubin, et al., eds. London/NY: Routledge, paperback edition, 2001, pp. 191-221. This is a fairly comprehensive, but by no means exhaustive account of the Festival; it omits countless artists and other relevant information due to considerations of space. All data have been meticulously reviewed for accuracy. All omissions, special emphases, editorialized commentary and concluding remarks are the personal views and the sole responsibility of the author and do not necessarily represent the sources that contributed to this report.

3. One of many such accolades by foreign critics over the life of the festival, excerpted from an interview with Professor Enrico Fulchignoni, director of UNESCO’s International Committee for Cinema and Television, first published in Il Tempo at the close of the 9th festival in 1975, translated in Talash, No. 51, Mehr 1354, p. 10.

4. Pazhouheshi zharf va sotorg va no dar sangvareha-ye dowre-ye bist-o-panjom-e zamin shenasi (A Modern, Profound and Imporant Research into the Fossils of the 25th Geological Era)

5. The other notable productions were Nalbandian’s Nagahan Haza Habibulla, Maat fi Habbullah, . . .’ (All At Once ‘Beloved of God, Died in the Love of God, . . .’)(1972), and Savari dar-amad rouyash sorkh, . . .  (There Appeared A Knight with a Red Face, . . .) by Mahin Jahanbegloo (Tajadod)(1976), and Albert Camus’ Caligula (1974), all three directed by Ovanessian.

6. NITV was launched in March 1967; it merged with Radio Iran in 1971 and was renamed NIRT.

7. Excerpts from a 1967 address by Empress Farah Pahlavi at the first festival, printed in the 1st festival catalogue.

8. The festival’s principal programs were music, theatre, dance, and film (described separately below under “Programs”) seminars and conferences, and related publications. Poetry and painting, exhibitions (Persian carpets and handicrafts), children’s theatre and dance workshops, and other special and intermittent programs organized by the festival are not covered in this report.

9.  Khosravani was only involved with the festival in 1967 but his lighting design for Hafezieh and Persepolis endured and defined the tone, ambience, and the accents of the outdoor venues for the next ten years through 1977. 

10. Gorouh-e Jam'avari va Pazhouhesh-e Musiqi-e Navahi

11. Later became the NIRT Chamber Orchestra


13.  Robert J. Gluck, “The Shiraz Festival: avant-garde arts performance in 1970s Iran.” Department of Music, University at Albany, 217.

14.  Robert J. Gluck, “The Shiraz Festival: avant-garde arts performance in 1970s Iran.” Department of Music, University at Albany, 217.

15. Terry Graham, Tamasha Magazine, No. 8, September 1972.

16.  Gluck, Ibid.

17. On NIRT’s Kargah-e Nemayesh (est. 1969) see further below under “Contemporary Iranian Theatre.”

18.  In 1973, Iran was host to the 2nd Third World Theatre, a festival and conference that was held in Shiraz and supported by the 7th festival on the organizational, though not on the programmatic level.

19. For the history and development of theatre in Iran, and a discussion of the numerous plays performed at the Shiraz Arts Festival not mentioned here, see: The World Encyclopedia of Contemporary Theatre, Don Rubin, ed. London & New York: Routledge, 2001, pp. 204 ff.

20. Gisèle Kapuschinski, Ph.D. Dissertation, Graduate School of Arts and Sciences, Columbia University (1982).

21. A photograph of the scene appeared the next day in the festival Bulletin No. 4, Aug. 20, 1977, p. 3, in a review by Alireza Rezai titled “In Search of a Historical Battle,” with the two slaughtered babies on the floor, the woman in the long flowery skirt, and next to her, her boy standing on a table wearing a long dress. The image is archived on the Squat Theatre website along with an image of the uniformed soldier from a 1975 production of the same scene, “Assassin of Children in Bethlehem.” In his Yad-ha va Boud-ha: Khaterat-e Iraj Zohari. Mo’in: Tehran 1382, p. 211, Iraj Zohari, drama critic and writer, describes the scene in some detail and scoffs at the Shirazs religious leaders for their uproar over what was a ‘symbolic gest in a play.’

22. In Persian صحيفه امام، مركز نشر آثار حضرت امام خميني (ره)، جلد سوم، ص ٢٢٩ـ ٢٣١.(“Center for Publishing Imam Khomeini’s Works, Vol. 3, pp. 229-231”) which cites Khomeini’s edict in full plus a translation of Anthony Parsons, The Pride and the Fall: Iran 1974-1979, Jonathan Cape, London, 1984, repeating the incendiary fiction.

23. In 1974, CIRT was renamed Centre International de Créations Théâtrales (CICT) to include theatre production.

24. For a detailed discussion of Orghast see Negin Djavaherian, Not Nothingness: Peter Brook’s Empty Space and Its Architecture, Ph.D. dissertation. School of Architecture, McGill University, Montreal, Canada, August 2010 (

25. For Wilson’s perspective on this subject see the Asia Society Museum exhibition catalogue, “Iran Modern.” New Haven & London: Yale UP, 2013, p. 93.

26. A variation on the theme of KA MOUNTAIN appears in a video by Bob Wilson, produced in 2012 (in which Overture is mistakenly situated at the shrines of Haft-tan) that outlines the seven-day progression of the play and ends with him chanting the dinosaur song (