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Talking in Difficult Times: a German Iranian Theater Project

Arian Fariborz (kh)July 8, 2006

There might be ongoing tension between Iranian and European leaders, but a new theater exchange project aims to bring Iranians and Germans closer together.

The Stuttgart Theater production of "I Furiousi" in Teheran (2003)Image: picture-alliance/ dpa

The three-year University Dialogue project brings together Iranian and German professors, students, actors and directors to look at various aspects of theater, from using it as an educational tool to taking a combined theater piece on tour.

The first six Iranian lecturers from the University of Tehran's College of Fine Arts, Azad University and the Tehran's Theater and Film School are due to arrive in Germany later in July. They will visit the Institute for Theatre Studies at Osnabrück's Technical College in northwestern Germany.

University lecturer and exchange representative at Osnabrück, Andreas Poppe, said that the project initially focused "on technical and scientific exchanges in the field of theater pedagogy."

"That means learning with theatre," Poppe said. "We want to know about their experiences in Iran, how theater is used as a learning tool, what kinds of tools are available both here in Germany and in Iran, and how the field can be expanded."

Excursions and theatre visits on the program

The exchange participants will take part in excursions and visits to cultural events in Germany, such as the International Children's theatre festival in Lingen, near Osnabrück.

The project developers have also planned a combined tour with the German and Iranian participants.

Poppe said he wants the students to work together on the project and to deal with diverse issues. One topic that will be included, he said, was respect for women.

The project, which is funded by the German Academic Exchange Service (DAAD), also aims to develop a mutual research project. This could be, Poppe said, something like the question of how Islam and Christianity approach theater.

Tehraner Stadttheater
Germans on exchange hope to visit see as many performances as possible. Tehran's State TheaterImage: DW

The German participants, who will visit the Iranian capital Tehran in a few months time, see the exchange program as a way of gaining hands on experience of Iranian theater.