Streets do not have their daily rhythm anymore. Every sentence and breath outside the house has changed its context and meaning. Existence in this harrowing situation has become a form of resistance. During the past few years, the circle of curators and active members in the culture scene, especially the theater field, has dropped immensely…
Here [in Iran], we don’t have an institution helping us to produce a theater piece, and we are all solely dependent on the box office, which is a form of a gamble to see whether you will be lucky enough to make costs and income meets ends or that was your last piece. Yet this is only after being filtered by the censorship mafia, which is not a giant monster but is embodied through many double-faced theater critics, directors, actors, and scholars who most of you even work with. So the scene doesn’t let many critical individuals exist, let alone produce.
During the past decade, more private theater houses started to grow overnight, and with the help of capitalism, there were to find everywhere. While this matter is horrible for theater makers since they are based on milking us and our artworks, it gave us more room and leeway to produce and duck censorship. Most importantly, it helped us find each other and have hope. Obviously, the censorship mafia didn’t like this and tried its best to combat the achievement, and believe me, they tried. Nowadays, we even have to ask for permission for rehearsal; otherwise, that can even be a violation of law. Yet we continue cause we are more, and we believe in a never arriving yet near future where all we fight for comes to a realisation.
During this path, many of the freelance houses (at this point, you can guess I am writing about which city) was forced to shut down. No aid supported cultural institutions during covid, and that immediately had an impact on us, resulting in looking for new jobs and doing double and triple jobs to make ends meet yet keep the spirit of civil society alive in the performance field. With the beginning of Jina Mahsa Amini’s revolution, we brought our performance to the streets by joining what the body of the society collectively decided to perform, and it felt so refreshing to this time be directed by the collective of civil society without needing permission or waiting for censorship mafia to come and approve you. It felt so refreshing to stand against them, even though they brought guns to fistfight this time.
We all joined countrywide strikes, and despite all the financial and mental pressure we are all going through, we will never turn our back on civil society, even if all theaters get forced to close because Vida Movahed showed us all that theater is a concept and doesn’t need a specific place. For us, every power box, podium, or step is a place of performance, and this show will continue until we are all emancipated.