Virgule film & performing arts company
Performance is no longer only inside theatres: it’s everywhere. You just need a virgule to capture it.
Virgule means ‘a small pause’, a brief period of culture between the motions of everyday life.
Our company is all about experience, adventure, and the joy of creating something new. We stand for art that impacts. For everyone. Our works are targeted acts of cultural activism.
We believe art has to be disruptive, meaningful and impactful. Art should offer a fresh perspective on important issues of our time.
That said, it is also doubt that drives us. This is not a time for fixed ideas, including those we might have about ourselves.
Our productions are usually born out of frustration of what we see around us. Usually each topic finds itself taking on a different form, be that theatre or film, performance art, site-specific interventions, commercial big productions or low-budget arthouse works. Diversity is essential to us – we don’t believe in sticking to one particular style of performance or design for every project. Instead, we carefully consider the core contents and needs and then come up with a unique interpretation that works best for each individual production.
Sometimes we feel the need for undertaking structural activistic roles, for example by building a new theatre, or setting up educational programmes. We are always looking to review our structures of creating and producing to challenge the capacities of our artforms.
Virgule has been one of the most important and active theatre companies in Tehran for the past 20 years. Throughout its journey Virgule has been a pioneer of a great and expanding theatre scene in Tehran. It has tirelessly continued to research and develop in different directions and fields of performing arts. Virgule was the first experimental theatre company in Iran that ventured into performing arts, with practical research in performance studies. This research grew to include intercultural performance with international residencies, collaborations and performances. And expanded into the interdisciplinary, extending performance research to include a variety of artistic fields: visual arts, industrial design, painting, sociology, literature.
Virgule was at the forefront of the wave of independent theatre in Tehran in the 2010s, staging the unsubsidized production Sag Sokout (Dog Silence) in 2009. Virgule also initiated the design and building of the first new theatre building after the 1979 revolution: Hazef Hall. A light-weight 400 seat portable theatre that would tour through Iran’s provinces. Hafez Hall is now one of the most active theatre’s in Tehran. In the decade to follow a wave of new independent theaters would open throughout the city.
With the understanding that if the theatre in Iran is to develop it must do so structurally and broadly, Virgule began developing in structural arts management. Following international workshops and delving into marketing & advertising. With little to no formal training available in Iran, Virgule set up a Theatre Producer’s Training Program in Tehran.
Virgule’s artistic work has never become static or signatured and ventured through many phases: design-based, research-based, concept-based, site-based, actor-based, text-based. Virgule has worked mostly with Iranian playwrights, supporting young and working with established great avant-garde writers, such as Naghmeh Samini, Mohammad Charmshir and Mohammad Rezaeerad.
In the last five years Virgule ventured into film, producing three short films and a debut feature by Arvand Dashtaray. “The Absent Director” had it’s world premiere at Busan International Film festival, and further screened at Santa Barbara, Pune and Sofia Film Festival where it was honoured with a special mention from the Jury.
Education has always been an important element in Virgule’s philosophy. From 2012 Virgule offered free theatre workshops for students who could otherwise not afford to attend workshops. These workshops have culminated in 2 performances of “Let’s keep it between us.” Virgule has always worked to share its international experiences and new knowledge with the local theatre scene, arranging workshops in for example dramaturgy, lighting design, movement with international practitioners.