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Iran: New Voices - Quartet: A Journey North

photo by Shokoofeh Hashemian2-6 December 2008
The Pit, Barbican Centre, Silk Street, London, EC2Y 8DS

Mehr Theatre Company
Written by Amir Reza Koohestani and Mahin Sadri, directed and designed by Amir Reza Koohestani, translated by Vali Mahlouji


Presented by the Barbican, co-produced by Kunstenfestivaldesarts, Brussels; Wiener Festwochen, Vienna; Festival Theaterformen, Hanover and Holland Festival Amsterdam, in association with Iran Heritage Foundation and Vali Mahlouji

Sponsored by

Balli Group plc
Bank Julius Baer
British Council
Magic of Persia
Visiting Arts


Baran Kosari
Mohammad Hassan Madjouni
Attila Pessyani
Mahin Sadri


This documentary-style performance takes us deep into the motivations of the human mind. Based upon real-life cases from Iran, four witnesses are questioned in a police investigation following the murder of four people. Two of them are the murderers. The audience is seated in four separate seating banks, whilst the actors, beneath television screens projecting their own faces, sit back to back, each one facing a quarter of the audience. In turn, the characters describe their version of events whilst their testimonies are filmed and simultaneously broadcast live to the audience.

A Journey North asks the question: what is it that makes an ordinary person become a murderer?

Amir Reza Koohestani tackles political issues through poetic and allusive forms. He is known for creating work that involves face-to-face encounter, with minimalist staging that serves the words, the language and a smooth, impassive acting style.

In Persian with English Subtitles

Dates & Times

2-6 December 2008, 7.45 pm
80 mins/no interval



Box Office

+44 (20) 7638 8891 or Online

Post Show Talk

3 December 2008, for info click here
Free to same day ticket holders (subject to availability)


Barbican Centre, Silk Street, London, EC2Y 8DS, T + 44 (20) 7638 4141
Vali Mahlouji,

Iran: New Voices

A series of live performances, Q & As, a panel discussion and a symposium exploring performance in Iranian culture.
Iran: New Voices Symposium
Daedalus & Icarus
Quartet: A Journey North
Power of a Cliché
Film & Video Art (link to follow)

Creative Team Biographies

Amir Reza Koohestani
Amir Reza Koohestani was born in 1978 in Shiraz. He is a playwright and director. His artistic activities started with publishing short stories in local papers. Initially he studied film and cinema, soon abandoning this media in favour of writing for theatre. In 1996 he started collaborating with Mehr Theatre Group. His first play 'And the Day Never Came' was never performed. The second play 'The Murmuring Tales' however, opened the doors of success to him by becoming candidate for five awards at the International Fajir Theatre Festival. His third play 'Dances on Glasses' has been one of the most controversial and successful plays in Iran during recent years and has been staged on more than twenty international venues and festivals, namely Theater der Welt in Bonn (Germany) 2002 and Chekhov International Theatre Olympiad in Moscow 2003. His first co-production with European Festivals, 'Amid the Clouds' 2005 , which he wrote and directed at the Royal Court Theatre, London has been performed in over twenty cities in Europe. In 2007 he was appointed Artist in Residence at the Manchester International Festival and is now John Thaw Fellow in Drama at the University of Manchester.

Mahin Sadri
Mahin Sadri is a young poet and filmmaker. Born in 1979, she began her literary work as early as the age of 15. She studied cinema in her native town Rasht, and started writing critical reviews for a number of national newspapers such as Iran and Jam-e-Jam. Her collaboration with Koohestani started first as assistant in 'Recent Experiences' and 'Amid the Clouds' and later as co-writer of 'Quartet' in which she is also a member of the cast.

Vali Mahlouji
Associate Producer: Iran New Voices
Born in Tehran, Vali Mahlouji came to London as a result of the outbreak of the Islamic Revolution in Iran to study archaeology and linguistics at the University of London, specialising in ancient Iranian art and antiquities as well as studying Old and Middle Persian for an MPhil in Iranian Philology. He subsequently established his own art gallery before also training in Fine Art and Theatre Design. As a designer his recent projects in theatre and film range from Maeterlinck's The Blind to Dvorak's Rusalka for amongst others the ICA, Riverside Studios, Arcola Theatre and Grange Park Opera, as well as short films for the BBC and UK Film Council. Vali has also worked extensively as a translator in collaboration with the Barbican, NFT, BFI, V&A and Channel 4. His translations and publications include Koohestani's Amid the Clouds (Royal Court), Samini's Eleventh Minute (BBC) and as a co-contributor on Islamic Affairs and Arts & Education for The Guardian.

Cast Biographies

Baran Kosari
Born in 1985, Tehran, Baran is the daughter of director Rakhshan Bani Etemad, a celebrated director in Iranian contemporary cinema and the producer Jahangir Kosari. She graduated from Soureh Academy but her acting career goes back to when she was five 'The Best Papa of the World' 1991 and in a number of her mother's films. Baran is also an accomplished theatre actress and has performing in such plays as 'Amid the Clouds', 2005 and 'Quartet: A Journey North' 2008 both by Amir Reza Koohestani.

Mohammad Hassan Madjouni
Born in 1969, Hassan Madjooni is an actor as well as stage and theatre director. Educated in Drama Literature, he is now a mentor in Tehran Performing Art University. He is the founder of Leev Theatre Group and the winner of Anerkennungspreis from Zurcher Theater Spektakel in 2005 for his performance in 'Amid the Clouds' by Amir Reza Koohestani.

Attila Pessyani
Born in 1957, Attila Pessyani is an actor, playwright, director and the founder of Theatre Bazi. The son of one of Iran's leading actresses Jamileh Shaikhi, he trained with Yoshi Oida and the legendary Grotowski actor Ryszard Cieslak and as youthful actor himself had roles in Peter Brook's Orghast Tadeusz Kantor's 'Dainty Shapes and Hairy Apes'. Pessyani has written some 15 plays for stage, performed more than 40 stage roles, appeared in 30 films for cinema and 26 television serials, while also teaching students of theatre and cinema at university and workshops.

In 1989 he founded Theatre Bazi, a group which has taken part in several international festivals and theatre venues, i.e. Edinburgh Festival in England and Lincoln Centre Festival in New York Theatre Bazi's most recent production is 'Devil's Ship' played at the Edinburgh in 2008.

Mahin Sadri
Please see above.

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