The third edition of Visiting Arts’ Contemporary Myths programme took place this month in Farnham, Liverpool and Dartington. Director Ali Alized and performer Morteza Hosseinzade (84 Theatre, Tehran) were reunited with Directors Julia Samuels and Kully Thiarai (20 Stories High, Liverpool) in Liverpool, where they explored their ideas and stories in workshops with young people.
…for young people to encounter new places and new way of thinking is very special, and we’re grateful to have that opportunity – Julia Samuels, 20 Stories High, Liverpool
Nasim Ahmadphour (Don Quixote Scene, Tehran) worked with Kevin Dyer (Action Transport Theatre) on the next stage of developing ‘The Girl Under the Piano’ in Farnham, along with Iranian actresses Fariba Kamran and Diana Fathi. Nasim will continue her stay at Farnham Maltings to work on a separate Contemporary Myths proposal with Creative Director Julie Ellen (Playwrights Studio Scotland, Glasgow). The pair will create a new piece of theatre combining the physical power, beauty and the textural richness within contemporary Iranian and British Theatre. Meanwhile, Fariba and Diana were invited to visit the Theatre Royal York to work with writer Janys Chambers and actress Rokhsaneh Shahidi to explore a new contemporary adaptation of a Greek myth.
It was about my country and all countries in the world looking for freedom and peace. I just want to collect some experiences from this, and everything here is different to my country. Visiting Arts is a bridge. When we have this time to discuss, it can improve our work. That’s why I’m here, I just want to learn – Diana Fathi Rasgani
In Dartington, Kiomars Moradi (Iran Tajrobeh theatre Group, Tehran/USA) and Ninaz Khodaji (London) created a work about a woman moving to the city in the west from the Middle East, looking at a new way of life. This work is by a very experienced director and is already advanced and well constructed.
Also in Dartington, Hamish MacDonald (Dogstar Theatre Company, Inverness) and Sasan Pirouz (Leev Theatre Group, Tehran) worked on a piece using the Scotland V Iran 1978 World Cup football match as a backdrop looking at the social and cultural outcome of the game. Despite the fact that his was the first proper encounter of the two parties, the script was already well formed, witty, fast moving and a brilliant piece of work that easily crosses cultural boundaries.
we realise how similar English Myth stories and Iranian Myth stories are – Ali Alized, 84 Theatre, Tehran
The final collaboration took place in London between LIFT and Hamid Poozari from Tehran. Hamid’s work was one of the acknowledged highlights of the recent Producer’s visit to Tehran and as a result of this, Mark Ball invited him to come to London, along with two of his collaborators, to explore the potential for a new participatory or large scale piece in London. It is hoped that funding will be found to take this forward.
A sharing event took place at Farnham Maltings on 21st May which brought the collaborations together and showed how far the artists had developed even in a short space of time.
A short film on the project will be available online shortly.
All images by Santiago Posada