Iran cancels intl. competition of Fajr theater festival as global coronavirus cases grow 

October 14, 2020 - 18:27

TEHRAN – Director of the Fajr International Theater Festival said on Wednesday that the international competition of the 2021 edition of the event will not be held due to a spike in coronavirus cases around the globe.

“There will be no international section for the 39th edition of the festival, because most of the theater companies around the world are currently closed,” Hossein Mosafer Astaneh told the Persian service of MNA.

“Being international is supposed to have some advantages, which cannot be realized in this situation,” he added.

He said that several overseas troupes and stage experts will be invited to organize workshops or performances and added, “However, we cannot consider the festival an international event.” 

“Due to the pandemic, these times have not resulted in an ideal opportunity for Iranian troupes to produce new plays for taking part in the festival. Consequently, this year’s festival should not be compared with the previous editions,” he noted.

Earlier in July, Mosafer Astaneh said that the 2021 edition of the event will likely be held online due to the coronavirus pandemic.

“This is one of the issues we need to take into consideration, and of course, we have no alternative but to make the best use of technology. Either the festival will be held online or in its usual form,” he stated.

“We also need to make the best use of the potentials in the virtual world, while the necessary and appropriate infrastructures should be provided,” he said.

He noted that there are no plans as yet to postpone the festival, which is held annually during January, and added, “The festival is a strong motivation for many troupes in Tehran and other cities, and that we should not be hindered by coronavirus.”

Mosafer-Astaneh’s play “Return”, which was on stage at Tehran’s Sarv Theater Hall during spring, was halted due to a significant rise in the number of COVID-19 infections in the country.

“At the present time, the new virus is with us and we must continue with our lives and cannot shut down theaters completely. However, we need to adapt ourselves to the current situation,” he concluded. 

Many international festivals and movie theaters around the world have been shut down amid the pandemic.

Photo: A poster for the Fajr International Theater Festival.

MMS/YAW

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