TEHRAN — Iran’s Ministry of Culture and Islamic Guidance said on Sunday that theaters across the country will limit their audience to 30 percent of their capacity during the 40th Fajr International Theater Festival as a new wave of COVID -19 recently started across the country.
Speaking at a press conference, Culture Minister Mohammad-Mehdi Esmaeili said the decision was taken by the national coronavirus control headquarters.
Tajikistan is the guest of honor at this year’s festival, which opens on Thursday.
Bands from Afghanistan, Armenia, Azerbaijan, Iraq, Italy, France, Algeria and several other countries will perform during the festival, which will run until February 15.
The groups as well as troupes from all over Iran will perform more than 100 pieces during the festival, festival president Hossein Mosafer Astaneh said at the press conference.
“Due to the pandemic, there have been no special theater performances in Europe for the past two years, so we preferred to focus on bands from that region,” he noted.
About twenty pieces on Sacred Defense and Resistance have been selected to be performed during the festival.
The festival’s lineup also includes three plays about health workers during the pandemic. In addition, 32 plays will also tell stories about drug addiction.
Mosafer Astaneh said the festival would decentralize its performances due to criticism from theater troupes in other Iranian cities. Accordingly, the central Iranian city of Yazd will host an opening ceremony.
The 39th edition of Fajr Theater Festival was held in 2021 without an international section due to COVID-19 restrictions.
Every February, Iran holds a series of Fajr festivals across film, visual arts, music, drama, and several other categories to celebrate the anniversary of the 1979 Islamic revolution.
Photo: Poster of the 40th Fajr International Theater Festival.