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Farnham Maltings – The Iranian Feast

NRTF Associate Member Farnham Maltings have been touring village halls and arts centres across the UK with The Iranian Feast – A play with food from the heart of Persia.

We invite you to join us to feast on traditionally Persian food prepared by Abbas, his wife and daughter with help from their friends and neighbours. Part thriller, part cookery lesson this is a story of a family working out how life will be in the future. One that is surprising, uplifting and a celebration of being alive. Going in the pot are fresh herbs, spices, sweet vegetables, and Eli’s mother’s secret ingredient.

The show is thought-provoking and topical, confronting political and social issues in Iran. This is an honest and moving story of a family in an oppressed society. And together with the ‘feast’ has given audiences the opportunity to enjoy this unique experience with their neighbours keeping alive a community spirit.

”This piece started four years ago when the writer Kevin Dyer and I visited Tehran to run a series of workshops at the Fadjr festival. That visit confounded and delighted both of us in equal measure. We saw an astonishing range of work in theatres brim full of audiences, with people sitting on every step and children hoisted onto laps. And what struck us was how alive these spaces are. In Iran making theatre is extremely challenging. The work has to first be sanctioned by the state and can only be presented in theatres owned and managed by the state, a government official sitting in on every rehearsal with the authority to censor or stop a particular performance. Men and women cannot touch or sing or dance. Despite all these challenges theatre makers manage, somehow, to say everything from the stage. Whilst in the UK, where we can say anything, much of the work on the stage says nothing. 

So here we are four years later, making a contemporary Iranian play for village halls. Demonstrating, once again, that some of the most relevant, experimental and new work can arrive from the most surprising of places. Our hope is that by the time ‘The Iranian Feast’ is over you have spent time in the company of friends, that we might understand something new about the world and ourselves, and that we are reminded of our common humanity.”    Gavin Stride, Producer

We premiered the show here at Farnham Maltings before going to the North, then down to the South-West, then heading over to Wales and finally, the company was in Scotland for the last week of the two month tour. We have had an overwhelming amount of positive feedback in response to the show and here’s a sample –

“This is the third time that we’ve had Farnham Maltings and every performance has been good but this one was outstanding. The play is innovative in its staging and the food, which was delicious. The play is topical, very funny at times but extremely thought provoking. […] Audience feedback was all very positive. […] This show wasn’t just a performance it was an experience which moved me a great deal.”
Promoter, Thomas Cranmer Centre, Aslockton

“The play was certainly a mixture of the bitter and the sweet.  I think the sharing and caring that was established by the feast lulled us until we were woken up and reminded of the repressive regime that surrounded the storyline.  A topical piece that invited us to think, but was entertainment all the same.  Needless to say, we all delighted in the culinary offerings! […] We are very grateful to be able to receive quality professional productions, like yours, with the help of the Live & Local subsidised scheme.” Chairman of Spring Bank Arts Centre, New Mills, High Peak

“[…] drew in the audience with its intimacy and good humour, ratcheted up the drama as we grew to care for its characters and delivered a powerful finale which had you thinking way after the performance was over. […] The writing was finely judged with its contrasting moods and totally compelling towards the end as the family wrestled with working out the right thing to do.” Audience member, Anslow Village Hall

“Totally immersive, beautifully acted and truly engaging.  Food for the body, mind and soul, opening a window onto another world from ours.” Audience member, Whittingham Village Hall

For more information on The Iranian Feast tour, please visit our website. We will be re-touring the show in 2015.

In spring 2014, we will be re-touring In Praise of Elephants – a celebration of the greatest animal on the planet and a touching story of a quiet man turning 60 trying to make sense of the world. Like you, we are committed to reaching and developing relationships with a wider rural audience and with this in mind we would be keen to know if you’d like to be a part of the spring tour next year? 

If you are interested in booking the show please contact Janice Brittain on Janice.brittain@farnahmmaltings.com