Stage Door News

Toronto: Theatre and dance at the Tirgan Festival July 25-28

Wednesday, June 12, 2019

Tirgan Festival is excited to announce the arrival of its much anticipated biennial event, July 25-28, 2019 in Toronto, Canada, presented by TD Bank.

What is Tirgan?
Tirgan refers to an ancient Persian/Iranian festival traditionally held in the month of July, also known as Jashn-e Tirgan (The feast of Tire-gan). It coincides with other midsummer festivals, celebrated with music, dancing, poetry, and serving authentic foods, and Toronto’s 2019 edition of Tirgan promises to delight!
Tirgan Festival 2019 is currently one of the world’s largest celebration of Iranian arts and culture; taking place in Toronto, and includes 230+ artists, 30+ free events, 28 retailers, and 8 restaurants, and 2 traditional teahouses for the over 160,000 visitors who flock to experience this Festival

This year’s theme is UNITY, honouring our historical commitment to the celebration of diversity, talent, freedom, and equality. Through music, dance, theatre, culinary delights and more, Tirgan Festival highlights the richness of the contemporary and traditional arts and culture of Iran.
Tirgan Festival 2019 is presented by TD Bank, and brought to you by our sponsors, including our Platinum Sponsor Options, our Diamond Sponsors Cameron Abassi, Kantium Development and Construction, PHD Furniture, and Reza Ahklaghi, among others.

A commendable group of 400+ hard-working volunteers makes the Festival happen for four exhilarating days at some of Toronto’s most iconic performance venues including Harbourfront Centre, St. Lawrence Centre for the Art, the Michener Institute of Education, and The Distillery Historic District.

“On behalf of Tirgan Festival, I am pleased to welcome friends, fans,  and everyone to the 2019 edition of the Tirgan Festival in Toronto, Canada. This year we are excited to bring more talent and more Iranian culture to thousands of people in the city,” said Tirgan Festival CEO Mehrdad Ariannejad.  “Along with Harbourfront Centre and The Distillery Historic District, this year we have added two more venues to the festival, the St. Lawrence Centre for the Arts, and the Michener Institute of Education at UHN in order to expand the program and offer a better variety to the audience. This initiative has given us the opportunity to invite even better-known artists because of the higher capacity of our new venues.”

He added, “For the first time in the history of Tirgan, we are holding a conference on Iranian Intellectualism,  inviting more than 10 scholars from universities across the globe to discuss the subject on four different panels at the Michener Institute of Education at UHN. In a way, these panels are going to review the modern history of Iran during a cultural festival, combining art and scholarly work.”

What’s in store for audiences at Tirgan 2019?  Both ticketed and free events, with child care available for some, from musical masterpieces to kid-friendly entertainment to intellectually stimulating conferences to late night dancing under the stars  - Tirgan has something for everyone!


Manushan Band Featuring Shahrokh Moshkin Ghalam, July 25

Paris- based Iranian band and a prominent voice in the world music scene, Manushan launches the festival with music and dance not to be missed! Encompassing a mixture of world music, gypsy, flamenco, and jazz styles and new renditions of classical Iranian music, Aida Nosrat and Babak Amirmobasher infuse classical European music into their own contemporary style, mixing a culture of melodies beyond borders.

What’s music without dance? Internationally renowned dancer and choreographer Shahrokh Moshkin Ghalam takes the stage in an unconventional twist - for contemporary extremists, women’s singing is forbidden and in traditional minds, men’s dancing is considered unconventional. Manushan’s musical performance coupled with Moshkin Ghalam’s choreographies constitutes an artistic resistance against both of these concepts.


Khale Sooske, directed by Shahrokh Moshkin Ghalam  (performed in Persian), July 26-27

Based on Bijan Mofid’s masterpiece, Khale Sooske has been performed numerous times on stage to outstanding reviews by audiences and critics. A popular musical drama by revered playwright and stage director Bijan Mofid, it was first performed in 1968 to extraordinary praise., and is now a part of Tirgan 2019. A graduate in the history of art and theatre from the Paris 8 University, Shahrokh Moshkin-Ghalams a choreographer, actor, and director. He is also the founder and former artistic director of Nakissa Art Company. He is the first Iranian to be part of the prestigious Comédie-Françaiss troupe.In Khale Sooske, Moshkin-Ghalams takes a humorous and playful approach to storytelling and brings to life a modern rendition of a beloved classic.

Zahhak: The Legend of the Serpent King, July 27-28

This fantastic tale will delight audiences young and old with every movement on stage. Join us!
Originally penned in the tenth century AD by the Persian poet, Ferdowsi, The Serpent King tells a story for the ages of father vs. son and good vs. evil - a Persian masterpiece, still relevant today, over a thousand years since its creation.

Featuring a stunning array of intricate, handmade shadow puppet figures silhouetted on a backlit screen, Zahhak: The Legend of the Serpent King blends mythologies alongside historical events with limitless artistic improvisations. The Legend of the Serpent King introduces us to some of the most well-known Persian names such as Jamshid, Kaveh, Feraydun, and Faranak magnificently depicting our cultural roots and the underlying values of contemporary culture.

The Silver Poet,  July 27

Presenting “Silver Poet”, an exceptional play by Houshang Touzie portraying the story of love & sacrifice of Fereydoun Farrokhzad.

Fereydoun Farrokhzad was a singer, performer, poet, actor, political scientist, opposition member and the leading TV and Radio Showman of Iran. Lucid, eloquent, and intellectually structured, Fereydoun Farrokhzad is considered to be one of Iran’s finest artists. His life can be seen as a tragedy, or a historical play, or a political drama, or as one part of a vast dramatic cycle which helped to generate Iran’s contemporary national identity. His television show “Mikhakeh Noghrei”, (Silver Carnation), ran from 1976 to 1978. Through it he was able to make connections and meet many other Iranian artists, giving them a platform and launching them into the spotlight.

Houshang Touzie is a renowned Iranian playwright and actor. He has written and acted in numerous plays in exile, including his latest work based on his personal friendship with Fereydoun Farrokhzad.

Houshang Touzie performs the role of Fereydoun and is accompanied by a talented group of artists who join him on stage.

2019 Tirgan Festival, presented by TD Bank
July 25 – 28, 2019, multiple locations, Toronto
Free – $100.00
Visit for tickets and more information.