A Utopian Stage: Festival of Arts Shiraz-Persepolis

  • Shiraz poster3_0167

    Posters for Festival of Arts, Shiraz – Persepolis (1967-1977) designed by Ghobad Shiva.

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    Mantra, Karlheinz Stockhausen,1972. Courtesy of Stockhausen Foundation for Music, Kürten

  • Balinese-Gamelan,-1200-x-60

    Balinese Gamelan Gong Kebyar Concert & Traditional Dances – Open-Air Theatre, 1969. Courtesy of Malie Letrange.

  • Shiraz poster2_p40

    Posters for Festival of Arts, Shiraz – Persepolis (1967-1977) designed by Ghobad Shiva.

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    Posters for Festival of Arts, Shiraz – Persepolis (1967-1977) designed by Ghobad Shiva.

  • Caligula, NIRT Theatre Workshop – Persepolis, 1974 Courtesy of Mehdi Khonsari

    Caligula, Albert Camus (playwright), Arby Ovanessian (director), NIRT Theatre Workshop – Persepolis, 1974
    Courtesy of Mehdi Khonsari

Past Exhibition

The ancient Persian ruins of Persepolis were a spectacular backdrop for ‘one of the most adventurous and idiosyncratic festivals in the world’ (Artforum). The Festival of Arts was held around Shiraz, Iran every summer from 1967–1977.

A melting pot of traditional and avant-garde music, theatre and performance, the festival featured artists from both East and West, including the Beatles’ muse, sitar player Ravi Shankar and American composer John Cage, alongside Rwandan drummers and Balinese Gamelan musicians and dancers. Orghast,
a play by poet Ted Hughes and Mahin Tajadod, co-directed by Peter Brook, was staged, while Merce Cunningham’s dancers performed calisthenics among the ruins of Persepolis.

The festival came to an end with the Iranian revolution, but is now brought to life through this display of archive film and photographs, original theatre programmes and posters seen for the first time in the UK.

Free entry

Curated by Vali Mahlouji in association with The Whitechapel Gallery.

 

The Whitechapel Gallery archive exhibitions are generously supported by Catherine and Franck Petitgas.

A UTOPIAN STAGE: The Shiraz-Persepolis Festival of the Arts has been generously supported by:

Reza Derakshani
Maryam Eisler
Dina Nasser-Khadivi
MOP Foundation
Fatima Maleki
Maryam Massoudi
And those who wish to remain anonymous

 

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Large print interpretation and labels available here.


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