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Sangelaj Theater

 On October 10, 1965, alongside the commencement of the first Iranian theater festival, the Sangelaj Theater opened its doors to Iranian audiences. Originally named the “25 Shahrivar Hall,” the first play posters raved about its “state of the art facilities” and “central location,” which made it accessible to Tehran's “various social classes.” Placed under the Ministry of Art and Culture, the Sangelaj Theater was designed as a national theater for the production of Iranian plays. Indeed, it soon became a place where Iranian playwrights “revolutionized” Iranian scripts, and where audiences went to see plays that reflected Iranian society and culture. 

In the 1970's, however, the theater lost some of its original momentum. Audiences started turning their attention to newer theaters as well as to Western plays. Moreover, after the 1979 revolution in Iran, 25 Shahrivar Hall was placed under the authority of the Ministry of Culture and Islamic Guidance, where its name was changed to the “Sangelaj Theater.” Following these changes, some of the theater's original artists retired, while others went abroad. Thus, the Sangelaj Theater slowly became known mostly for Ruhozi, or small satirical plays, and traditional Iranian theater. 
In 2007, the Sangelaj Theater underwent major renovations to revamp its facilities and interest. Now, the 46-year-old Sangelaj Theater stands as the oldest operating theater in Iran. Located next to what is now called “City Park” in Northwestern Tehran, it still serves as a hub for those interested in Iranian theater. 
In this multimedia report, we hear from Atabak Naderi, the current manager of the Sangelaj Theater, about the theater's historical significance. Some of the newer photographs in the report are the work of Amin Soururi and Sadegh Miri, while the older images of past performances and play posters have been taken from the archives of the Sangelaj Theater. Lastly, we also hear some audio clips from the documentary, “...And The Blue Sky,” directed by Ghazaleh Soltani. 

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