Long before Western-style theatre came to what is now Iran, a unique performance tradition had already developed that fused song, movement, and religion. Known as “ta’ziyeh,” it has since spread among Shiite communities in Iraq and Lebanon, as well as even farther afield. William O. Beeman, chair of the Department of Anthropology at the University of Minnesota, introduces us to the fascinating world of ta’ziyeh in this episode.

Kamal-ol-molk's 1892 depiction of the Tekiyeh Dowlat, a famous ta'ziyeh theatre from 1868 to
1947. Via Wikimedia Commons.


  • Read more on ta’ziyeh in this essay by Dr. Peter Chelkowski.
  • For more information on ta’ziyeh and other Iranian performance traditions, read Dr. Beeman’s book on Iranian Performance Traditions and Dr. Willem Floor’s History of Theater in Iran.
  • Information on The Troupe, a 2004 documentary by Rabeah Ghaffari, on a production at Lincoln Center that was directed by renowned ta’ziyeh artist Mohammad B. Ghaffari.

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