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Siavash Shabanpour - Founder & Artistic Director

Siavash Shabanpour is a poet, director and actor in theatre and cinema He was born in 1981 and immigrated to Canada in 2003. Although he was studying law in Iran, his passion for the dramatic arts persuaded him to abandon law and to continue his dream by pursuing Theatre Studies at York University. In 2011 he graduated York University with a Bachelor of Arts in Theatre Studies. Despite theatre and acting being his first love, his primary professional artwork began in writing. Due to several difficult circumstances he was not optimistic about pursing a career in theatre, as a result, Siavash decided to pour his heart and soul into performing his own written work.

 He began writing poetry at the age of 15 and later at 18. He recited his poems in multiple “Poetry Night”, many of his work was published in well-known literary and university journals. In 2002, he was elected the chief editor of the literary section of “Sootak”, a political-literary journal. In 2003, he was elected the “Bargozideh” poet of Tehran Universities at the Forough Farokhzad Festival of Poetry.Upon immigrating to Canada, he acquired the title of Chief Editor of the poetry section in the Persian online-based journal “Ghasedak” at the University of Toronto.

His poetry has been selected several times for publishing in professional Farsi poetry journals both inside and outside of Iran. In 2006 he was elected as a jury member for the literary-artistic association of “Vajhe” in Toronto, and held multiple performance poetry sessions within the association.

In 2014 he was once again elected to be a jury member for the Persian Academic & Cultural Student Association (PACSA) in UFC of California. Boutimar Publishers in Iran published Shabanpour’s first poetry book, named “Eshghizophreni” in 2015. He currently holds his translation of “The Conference of the Birds” play, adapted by Peter Brook and Jean-Claude Carrière from the original poetry book written by Faridud-Din Attar, and his second poetry book “saying about the unsaid”, to be published. Modern Times Stage Company performed his translation of “Conference of the Birds”, once in 2013 at Toronto’s Harbourfront Center Theatre and another in 2014 at Richmond Hill Center of the Performing Arts.

Siavash Shabanpour also has experience in storytelling and playwriting; one of which is “Apartment 812”, a play written and directed by him. In 2008 “Apartment 812” was performed at the Glendon Campus Theatre. After his success with the show he continued working as a director. He directed his first English play “The Story of the Panda Bears Told by Saxophonist Who Has a Girlfriend in Frankfort”, written by Matei Visniec, in 2010 which was also performed at the Glendon Campus Theatre. In 2011 he took to the Baxter’s Centre of Performing Arts stage “when it all falls down”, written by Natalie Miller. In the winter of 2011, he was Aleksandar Lukac’s assistant director and actor, in Lukac’s adaptation of “Doctor Faustus” written by Christopher Marlowe.

In 2012 Siavash directed “Horses at the Window”, written by Matei Visniec, at the Theatre Center. Siavash Shabanpour went on to direct and dramaturge the performance of “Operatic Narration of Arash the Archer” in 2013 for the opening ceremony of Tirgan Festival. This performance was a combination of the dramatic arts, video art, opera singing, and symphonic concert performed at the WestJet stage of Harbourfront Centre. In March of 2014 in Toronto and later in September of the same year in Toronto, Montreal and Ottawa, he performed “Two Ducks in the Mist”, written by Housein Panahi, in which he both directed and portrayed one of the two main characters in the play. “Two Ducks in the Mist” was performed at the Atelier RZLBD and Contemporary Dance Centre in Toronto, SSMU Ballroom at the University of McGill in Montreal, and Carlton’s theatre in Ottawa.

In 2015 he did an active play reading of “The Good Doctor”, written by Neil Simon, with the students of his workshop class under the supervision of Student Association at York University. Later the active play reading was performed at the Fairview Library Theatre. In 2016 Siavash Shabanpour directed and dramaturged “Thirty Rubles for Delicacy”, a collaborative piece from the works of “The Good Doctor” by Neil Simon and “Theatre Without Animals” by Jean-Michel Ribes, which was performed by his workshop students at the Fairview Library Theatre. Directing “The Cripple of Inishmaan”, a play by Martin McDonagh, performed at the Glendon Campus Theatre in 2017, is Siavash’s last experience as a director.

He has performed in many student plays and workshop performances such as performing for the Modern Times Stage Company workshop taught by Soheil Parsa. In 2006 Soheil Parsa Directed “Arash” which was performed at Dance Maker Studio and in 2009 “Only Sound Reminds” that went on stage at the Harbourfront Centre Theatre. Siavash has also portrayed characters in the play “Doctor Faustus” directed by Aleksandar Lukac at York University performed at the Gelendon Theatre. Siavash Shabanpour played in the active reading of “A Moment of Silence” directed by Mohammad Yaghoubi in 2013 and in 2014. He portrayed one of the main characters in the play “Two Ducks in the Mist” directed by himself in the winter of 2014. He later went onto portray a role in “The Pillowman”, written by Martin McDonagh, directed by Aida Keikhaee and Mohammad Yaghoubi performed both in Toronto and at the Second International Festival of Martin McDonagh in Perm Russia. “The Pillowman” was also performed in the Baran Theatre in Tehran Iran. Siavash has also worked as an actor for the Nowdays Theatre Company; in works such as “HayoolaKhani” directed by Mohammad Yaghoubi, and “Sleep in an Empty Cup” directed by Aida Keikhaee.



Siavash has also made four short films named “Departure” in 2007, “At the Cross Road” in 2009, “Breakfast 2011” and “Daddy Daddy Can I have a Lollipop” in 2012. Siavash Shabanpour has also worked as a casting assistant and actor for a feature film named “The Bright Side of the Moon” directed by Farhad Ahi in 2011. The film was getting attention from multiple film festivals; the most notable one being The Washington Film Festival. In 2014 he portrayed the secondary role in the feature film“Anomie” directed by Mazdak Taebi and in 2017 he played in the movie “Languages” directed by Elizabeth Lazebnik. His journey as an actor in cinema began in 1999 with the short film “ezdeham and Silence”, directed by Hormoz Jahandari, and produced by Young Cinema Association.

Shabanpour began writing workshops taught by himself in 2011. His first writing workshop called “Breathing and Writer” was successfully held in Toronto, and later in 2013 in Los Angles and California with the collaboration of Persian Academic & Cultural Student Association. To this day, “Breathing and Writer” has accepted students for more than 20 terms and more than 40 students have had the experience of writing with Siavash Shabanpour. In addition to writing workshops, Shabanpour holds acting workshops called “Introduction to Acting” both in Toronto and Tehran. The workshops were hold independently in 2014, under the supervision of the Iranian Students Association at York University in 2015, Iranian Association at the University of Toronto in 2016, and Association of Ryerson University 'Iranian Students in 2017.

The integration of theatre and literature has enriched his theatre to become poetic and his poetry to become a performance. Thus he began to perform his poetry in Toronto and other cities. Siavash Shabanpour has performed his poems in Toronto, Los Angeles, Montreal, and Tehran at venues such as the U of T’s Hart House, North York Library, Montreal’s Café Unja, Queen Gallery, California’s USC and Caffeka in Tehran.

Shabanpour has been invited as a guest speaker to many literary and non-literary gatherings for cinema such as the panel discussion for CIFT festival at the TIFF Lightbox in 2015. In 2015 he was invited to speak about acting at the Innis Town Hall Theatre and at multiple gatherings by the Literary Vajhe Association held at the North York Library. He has also held one day workshops and seminars for the Na Ma Na Cinema Association in U of T’s OISE. Shabanpour held the one day “Presentation and Communication” workshop for the WISE National Conference at the Li KaShing Knowledge Institute in March of 2013.

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