Azade Shahmiri is a theatre artist and performance maker from Iran. She graduated in Theater Studies from the University of Tehran in 2009 and holds a Ph.D. in Art Studies.

  She wrote her first staged play Blind Track of Stars (2007), a semi-documentary text based on Franz Fanon’s diaries and letters while she was still studying. With her earlier works, As You Like It (2011), a solo performance installation, and Murder in Scriptorium (2011) a monodrama, she began to think of and practice in other forms of expression in performance space alongside writing plays. With her lecture-performance Damascus (2013) started to center on personal narratives and lived experiences as the material for her performances. Since then, her artistic practices oscillate between theater, performance, lecture, and forms of installation. Besides the text, the cooperation of film, video, sonic and visual materials are her means for creation.

  Research, reflection, and critic have been always an indispensable part of her works. She focused on writing as a cultural journalist between 2008 and 2012. She was one of the founders and board members of a pioneer student journal Simia (2002-2007) which is considered the first specialized magazine on Dramatic Literature in Iran. Her later studies on postcolonial theory and criticism, the concepts of representation, self-description, and autocommunication are reflected in her academic publications as well as her artistic practices.

  As a continuation of the idea of self-reflection through performance, her story-telling video installation Not to Be (2016) portrayed a possible future juridical system while narrating a personal issue. A year after she co-wrote and directed Voicelessness (2017) a theater piece based on the same core concept attempting to experiment stillness and minimalistic expression of the performers on stage while reverberating the ideas of producing realities, alternate histories, and the facticity of the past documents and evidence.

  Her enthusiasm in challenging the theater’s power structure and the qualities of co-presence of performer and spectator in a non-theatrical condition was actualized in her three performances Unperforming (2018), Museum Nearby (2018), and Museum (2019) when she moved out of the black box to explore the potentiality and readability of other space.

  Sine 2020 she started to experiment the process-oriented creation. Quasi (2021) was developed through constant conversation and collaboration with the three performers, dramaturg, documentary filmmaker, and sound and video creator during a relatively long-term rehearsal process. In Quasi she reflected on the notions of incompleteness and incompetence through (re)using the unedited documentary footages, fictional narratives, and the performers’ immediate potentialities as tools of creation.

  Considering the importance of the shared experience with the audience and within the artistic collaborations, process-based practices, and performance as personal and social communication, Azade was also involved in two collaborative art projects in 2021. Together with seven artists across the world, she contributed to the virtual performative project The Sun Sets Eight TimesA Day that led to the artistic interaction in a digital garden. Tempor(e)ality, her lecture-performance was also made and premiered as part of the White Money project together with 3 other performances and 2 installations.

  Her artistic works were presented in various theater and performance festivals across Europe and Asia in Tehran, Gwangju, Kerala, Vienna, Zürich, Basel, Edinburgh, Brussels, Berlin, Geneve, and Mannheim.

  She also teaches mentors and lectures in the context of workshops, student festivals, and theater schools in Iran.

Awards, Residencies, Talks

Artist Residency, Konee Foundation, Finland, 2020 (Postponed due to the Covid19 Pandemic)
Artist Residency, Villa Ruffieux Residency, Switzerland, 2020 (Postponed due to the Covid19 Pandemic)
Invited Artist, IMPACT19, Pact Zollverein, Essen, 2019
Artist Visit, International Visitors Programme: Ruhrtriennale and Urbane Kunste Ruhr, Germany, 2018
Invited Artist, South-Asian Regional Theatre Workshop, Kathmandu, 2018
Invited Lecturer, The notion of Autocommunication in Cultural Semiotics, Tajrobeh Student Theatre Festival, University of Tehran, 2017
Invited Artist, Uberleben nach Iranischer Art, Symposium, Performance und Gesprache, Suite 42, Berlin, 2017
Artist Visit, Kunstenfestivaldesarts, Brussels, Belgium, 2016
Invited lecturer, In-between Theatre Spaces in Tehran Performing Art Scene, Iranian Theatre Today Seminar, Brussels, 2016
Scholarship, Ph.D. Visiting Student, Tartu Semiotic School, Estonia, 2015
Invited Artist, Asian Arts Theatre, Gwangju, South Korea, 2014
Parvin Etesami National Award, Tehran, 2013
Emerging Artist Visit, Festival Theaterformen, Hanover, 2011
Selected Play Award, the 12th Iran International Festival of University Theatre, Tehran, 2008
Akbar Radi Playwright Award, the 12th Iran International Festival of University Theatre, Tehran. 2008
Selected Research Award, the 12th Iran International Festival of University Theatre, Tehran, 2008
Literary Award, Iranian Students Literary Biennial, Tehran, 2006
Award in Art Research, the 6th Iran University Student’s Journals Festival, Mashhad, 2004
Award in Research, the 9th University Student’s Journals festival, Tehran, 2003


Damascus A Performance Text, Mania Honar Publications, Tehran, 2021
Murder in Scriptorium Monologue, Ketab-e Azad Publications, Tehran, 2015
Postcolonial Theory and Criticism, Elm publications, Tehran, 2010

©Photo Leila Ahmadi Abadeh