Ardavan Mofid


Ardavan Mofid is an entertainer with over 40 years of writing, directing and acting experience from theatre, television and radio productions. At the present time, Ardavan has his own television show where he performs many adaptations of traditional storytelling accompanied by musical performances; Persian communities around the world enjoy the program's informative and entertaining content. He tours nationwide and internationally performing the epic history of Iran - the Shahnameh.


Master of Arts in Theatre Arts from Florida State University, Tallahassee, FL.
Bachelor of Arts in Education from Tehran University.
Bachelor of Arts In Theatre from Tehran Dramatic College.


Ardavan Mofid was born to a traditional theatrical family, often compared to the Barrymores. His father was the first to utilize traditional storytelling (Naghali) in a theatrical presentation with his founding adaptation of Shahnameh. At the age of six, Ardavan began his apprenticeship under his father as a drummer and reciter of the Shahnameh.

His older brother, Bijan Mofid, was the founder of the contemporary folklore theatre ‘Novin’ that produced and performed the famous Shahr-e ghesseh, a form of traditional theatre using animal fables and fairy tales; Ardavan appeared professionally with the production from 1966 to 1970. Shahr-e ghesseh also won the coveted ‘Festival of Shiraz’-award and many more commanding performances for the royal family. Alongside theatre, Ardavan starred in several films, his most famous role being that of ‘Hassan Siyah’, a blackface clown in the tradition of Siyah-Bazi theatre.

In 1971, Ardavan co-founded the ‘Children’s Theatre of Iran’ with his brother Bijan and the talented American director Don Laffon. Sponsored by the ‘Institute for the Intellectual Development of Children and Young Adults’, the ‘Children’s Theatre of Iran’ was the first theatre for children in the Middle East, subsequently touring throughout Iran with Ardavan as the first assistant director and a managing director. Later, Ardavan was appointed by the Iranian government to aid the governments of Jordan and Sri Lanka to establish similar organizations.

Due to his fame and academic accomplishments, Ardavan served as an official delegate to several international conferences and festivals on traditional and children's theatre including events in the former Soviet Union, East Germany, West Germany and Wales.

Theatre In Exile

After the Islamic Revolution of 1979, when all traditional theatrical activity, dance and music was banned as un-Islamic in Iran, Ardavan immigrated to the United States with his family, founding ‘Kaneye Namayesh’ in 1980; it was the first Persian theatre company in California.

The mission of ‘Kaneye Namayesh’ was to preserve and present the traditional Persian Legends and epic stories in theatrical form. Its first performances featured a series of improvised, comic blackface acts (Siyah-Bazi) - similar in many ways to the ‘Commedia dell'Arte’. The early years of ‘Kaneye Namayesh’ consisted of social and political satire, and when great numbers of Iranian political refugees began to arrive in the United States between the years of 1980 and 1984, the performances of Ardavan Mofid & Co. were in high demand. Typical theatrical presentations by Ardavan during this period were: ‘Siyah-Bazi’, ‘Mohallel’, and ‘Typist and the Donkey’.

Later, Ardavan’s elder brother, Bahman Mofid, also a well-known Iranian movie star and his son Tahamtan Mofid joined him in the performance of ‘Seven Gates’, written and directed by Ardavan. This was a theatrical production utilizing the elements of traditional storytelling, classical poetry, and traditional forms of comic theatre.

The highlight production of 2009 was the first Persian Broadway-esque show titled ‘From Lalezar To Westwood’, a musical comedy written and directed by Ardavan Mofid. The last two productions of 2010 consisted of a musical comedy ‘Love at First Sight’ and a one-man musical show ‘Iran My Beloved Land’.

To preserve the Shahnameh - the epic history of Iran by the legendary poet Ferdowsi, Ardavan Mofid has produced a series of adaptations from 1983 to the present day. These productions were performed on-stage in the form of Naghali.

Notable performances include:

Rostam and Sohrab, Ebell Theatre, Los Angeles 1983.
Haft Vad and the magic worm, Zoroastrian Center, Orange County 1986.
Kerme Haft Vad, San Jose Cultural Center, San Jose, 1993.
Kaveh and Zahak, Mehregan Festival, Orange County 1995 to 2008.
Rostam and Sohrab, Ferdowsi Cultural Center, San Jose, 2000.
Bahram Gur, British Museum, London, 2005. (outdoor)
The Story of Ferdowsi, British Museum, London, 2005. (indoor)
Bahram Gur assumed his kingdom, Albert Museum, London, 2006.
Bahram and Shah Shangal, Albert Museum, London, 2006.
The Legend of Arash, New Jersey Cultural Center, NJ, 2007
The Castle of Seven Pillars, New York Cultural Center, NY, 2008
Sohrab and Gordafarid, Washington DC, 2009.
Sohrab and Gordafarid, Vancouver, Canada, 2010.
Zoorkaneh, in the Persian Parade, New York, 2010.

View the artwork sample and message to the Academy HERE