Zahak: Dragon King of Persia
Performance – London & Cambridge
A new stage work, giving a contemporary interpretation
of a myth drawn from the Shahnameh, the Persian epic
poem written by Firdausi more than a thousand years
ago, ‘Zahak, Dragon King of Persia’ celebrated the Persian
minstrels’ art of Naqqali – a now near-extinct tradition
of travelling performers who interpret folklore handed
down through generations largely through
improvisation. In this performance verses from the
Shahnameh were sung in the original Persian,
accompanied by surtitles of English translations. A group
of nine female dancers interpreted the story through
sounds produced by percussionists from instruments as
unusual as hacksaw, stone, chain and baking foil.
Paintings by the Iranian surrealist painter Ali Akbar
Sadeghi were used for projections, creating the painted
curtains that minstrels used as backdrops.
The performance was staged in London at the RADA
Studio on October 26th and West Road Concert Hall
Cambridge on October 28th. The stage work was devised
by Hossein Hadisi and performed by the music ensemble
EXAUDI directed by James Weeks. The performance was
choreographed by Rick Nodine. The project was an Arts
and Humanities Research Council and Higher Education
Funding sponsored project under the Cultural
Engagement Fund. It was produced with the help of the
Shahnama Project at Cambridge University in association
with the Iran Heritage Foundation.

Source: Iran Heritage Foundation