EghtesadOnline: With up to 110 stage plays every year, Iranian theater is no longer a small-scale economic activity, a prominent theater director said.
“Twenty-eight theater buildings are operating in Tehran, in addition to 16 out-of-use cinema halls hosting theater groups. Drama artists generate around 600 billion rials ($15 million) in revenues on a yearly basis,” Qotbeddin Sadeqi’s commentary in the Persian daily Donya-e-Eqtesad reads. Excerpts follow:
All across the world, there are different amateur, commercial and student theater groups, as well as a few state-run theaters. One of the oldest state theaters is the Comédie-Française, the national theater of France, which receives millions of dollars in state subsidy each year.
Yet, the administrator of the company is selected from the country’s celebrated directors and the government does not interfere in managing the company, except for regularly sending financial auditors. There are also other national theaters that receive a share of government’s theater budget, according to Financial Tribune.
There is no such system in Iran, however. The Ministry of Culture and Islamic Guidance used to allocate a fraction of its budget to production of significant plays. But today, the private sector has been entrusted with the total care of the country’s theaters.
As a result, theater has turned into a commercial business. Even the government has gone into the business of making money out of renting its venues, regardless of the quality of performances.
Private-run halls are now home to hundreds of young artists performing in all branches of theater. There are 18 drama faculties today.
About 3,000 permits have been issued for holding free theater training programs. This comes as the government has only established two theater halls (Ferdowsi and Hafez) in the past decades, clearly passing on the responsibility to the private sector. So the private sector is filling the gap created by the underperformance of the government in this regard by at times turning even residential buildings into theater halls.