Theater background in Persia goes back to antiquity (641-1000 BC). The first initiation of theater and phenomena of acting in people of the land could be traced in ceremonial theaters to glorify legendary and national heroes and humiliate the enemy like "Soug Sivash" or "Mogh Koshi" (Megakhouni), and also dances and theater narrations, musical history of mythological and love stories that have been reported by Herodotos and Gezenphon.
- Khaymeshab Bazi (Puppet shows)
- Saye-bazi (Shadow plays)
- Rouhozi (Comical acts)
- Ta'zieh (Shi'i martyr plays)
Kheimeh-shab-bazi is the Persian traditional puppetry which is performed in a small chamber. There are two people involved in the performance: a musical performer and a person called morshed. The dialogue is between morshed and the puppets. The method of performance, its characters and the techniques used in writing the puppet show make it unique and distinguish it from other types of puppetry. Also, a new genre of Iranian puppetry emerged during Qajar era. Puppetry is still very common in Iran. Rostam and Sohrab puppet opera is an example of the most notable performance in modern day Iran.
Ta'zieh and Naqqali are traditional Persian theatrical genres in which the drama is conveyed wholly or predominantly through music and singing. Tazieh dates before the Islamic era and the tragedy of Siavash in Shahnameh is one of the best examples. Naqqali is included in UNESCO's Representative List of the Intangible Cultural Heritage of Humanity.
In Persian tradition, Tazieh and Parde-khani, inspired by historical and religious events, symbolize epic spirit and resistance. The common theme is the hero tales of love and sacrifice, and of resistance against the evil.
While in the west the two major genres of dramas have been comedy and tragedy, in Persia (Iran), Tazieh seems to be the dominant genre. Considered as Persian opera, Tazieh resembles the European Opera in many respects.
Contemporary Persian theatre
The Iranian professional theatre movement is especially active in Iran’s main city, Tehran.
Farroukh Qasim (1948 - 2010, Tajikistan) has brought renewal to theatre in Tajikistan through his approach to the creative reworking of an eclectic repertoire. He has created performances based on sources as varied as Rumi, Zoroastrian and Koranic texts, Sufi mystics and plays by Molière and Bulgakov, for example a Tajik King Lear incorporating 10 th century Persian verses.
Persian theatre of Afghanistan is rising after several years of silence.
- "Naqqāli, Iranian dramatic story-telling". UNESCO Culture Sector. Retrieved 2012-09-01.
- Iranian performance of Beethoven's 9th Symphony (BBC Persian)
- Prince Claus Fund: Prince Claus Awards 2004 - Farroukh Qasim