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L.I.S.A. Redaktion | 08/30/2017 | 3415 Views | Movies by the Gerda Henkel Foundation |

Nationalism on Stage - Theatre in Iran

The City Theatre Library | Episode 1

To what extent is a country’s history also reflected in its culture, art and theatre? This is one of the fundamental questions in the research project of Iranologist Anna Heller from the University of Marburg. She explores the history of modern theatre in Iran and asks what role theatre plays in nation building and creating a national identity. For Anna Heller the library and archives of the Municipal Theatre in Tehran are key sources of research material. Here she searches for texts and biographical references to the authors of the dramas she considers relevant. In this way playwrights also come to light who never gained literary fame, but are nonetheless of especial importance for historical reasons.



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The Project
To date, little attention has been paid to modern art forms as an expression of secular and anti-Islamic movements; at most the topic was skimmed over in cultural and socio-historical studies on the Middle Eastern region. Both modernist literary figures whose thinking was influenced by Western concepts of nationalism and the Pahlavi state saw their task as shaping a modern national conscious. The preferred medium for advocating their secular concepts of morality and modernity was the theatre. This project seeks to examine nationalism in Iran at a time when no other mass media existed apart from the press, and theatre played an important role as a vehicle for communicating nationalist ideas. The aim is to reach socio-historical conclusions about the way the Iranian state’s modernization policy was disseminated and its social reception by the multimedia phenomenon of the theatre. A key issue in analysing the ideological effectiveness of the theatre is the extent to which this secular art form projected the image of an anti-Islamic movement.

Project leadership

Prof Dr Christoph Werner



Academic Project Manager
Prof Dr Christoph Werner

Academic Project Assistant
Anna Heller

Editorial Teams
Dr Natascha Bagherpour

Camera Technicians
Resa Asarschahab

Edting Technicians
Resa Asarschahab

Overall Planning Teams
Gisela Graichen and Peter Prestel

All episodes
The City Theatre Library
Episode 1
Search for Traces in Lalehzar Street
Episode 2
The National Libraries in Tehran - Centres of Knowledge
Episode 3
Theatre then and now: A Talk with Delara Noushin
Episode 4
Work on Sources: What the Texts Reveal
Episode 5
The General Interview with Prof. Dr. Christoph U. Werner
Episode 6
The General Interview with Anna Heller M.A.
Episode 7

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