Hardliners mount coup, take over management of leading student theatre

Hardliners mount coup, take over management of leading student theatre.

Iranian theatre has irritated the authorities with performances that do not fit the current orthodoxy. This picture shows actor and director Atila Pesyani on stage at the Shahr Theatre in Tehran. (Photo: Reza Moattarian)

One of Iran’s leading theatres is playing centre stage to the latest attempt by President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad’s supporters to take control of cultural and intellectual life.

Security staff from Tehran University closed the Mowlavi Hall theatre in the capital Tehran on the evening of June 21.

The Mowlavi Hall is the only student theatre in the Iranian capital, and is located on the university’s premises.

Iranian news agencies reported that the theatre was shut down because the audience’s dress and behaviour were not in accordance with Islamic rules and customs.

A week later, it was announced that the theatre was to be run by Tehran University, whose head of cultural affairs Majid Motaharinejad was placed in charge of managing it.

Some of the theatre’s staff were replaced by members of the Basij volunteer force from Tehran University.

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