British theater troupes barred from Fajr festival in reprisal move

January 31, 2008

TEHRAN -- Iran plans to bar British theater troupes from participating in the Fajr International Theater Festival and other Iranian cultural events in retaliation for the recent actions of the British Embassy in Tehran.

The theater troupe led by veteran actor Azim Musavi had been scheduled to give a series of tazieh (Iranian passion play) performances in London in the forthcoming weeks, but the British Embassy took measures clearly meant to create obstacles for the troupe.
The British Embassy said the troupe’s members had to be fingerprinted before it would issue visas for them, Center for Dramatic Arts Director Hossein Parsaii told the Mehr New Agency on Wednesday.
They also asked the troupe members to provide the deeds to their properties as security and made several other demands which the embassy had never made before, Parsaii said Musavi told him.
In addition, the British Embassy asked the members of the troupe to provide financial statements and lists of their properties, he added.
“The behavior toward our artists and veterans in the tazieh group was totally unacceptable and uncultured, and unfortunately, they did not revise their behavior, despite all the letters and explanations sent to them,” Parsaii said.
“The organizers of the Fajr Theater Festival have been asked to take reciprocal measures against British theater troupes to in practice prevent them from participating in the Fajr festival and any other Iranian cultural events,” he explained.
Twelve theater troupes from Germany, France, Switzerland, Poland, Russia, China, and three other countries will be performing in Tehran from February 1 to 11 during the 26th Fajr International Theater Festival.