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Bijan and Manijeh: A Love Story from the Shahnameh, a Naqqali perfomance via Zoom

April 18, 2021 @ 10:00 am - 11:30 am

$10 – $30

NOTE: This Zoom performance will be recorded, and the video made available to ticket holders.

We are delighted to welcome Morshed Saghi Aghili and Arash Farhadi (Ali Farhadipour), accomplished naqqali storytellers, to perform the story of Bijan and Manijeh from the Shahnameh, The Book of Kings.

The heroic knight Bijan embarks on a mission at the border between Iran and Turan where the beautiful princess Manijeh sees him and falls deeply in love. She ends up sneaking Bijan into her father’s palace, and when he discovers them he casts them both out. Bijan ends up at the bottom of a well and Manijeh must now rescue him with the help of Rostam, the hero of the Shahnameh.

Naqqali, the ancient tradition of Persian dramatic storytelling, blends narratives in verse or prose with dance, music, painted scrolls, and improvisation. Historically, it was an art form without boundaries, as it was performed for kings, in coffee houses, and on the street. In 2011, Unesco added Naqqali to its list of Intangible Cultural Heritage in need of preservation.

It is a privilege to bring this unique and profound art form to our community.

Suggested donation: $10-$30
(Payments are through the event link above, not through Facebook — and therefore, Facebook lists as a free event. We apologize for the possible confusion about pricing)

About the artists:

Morshed Saghi Aghili


Morshed (Master) Saghi Aghili is the founder of the Naqqali Centre in Toronto. She studied Naqqali under the mentorship of many renowned masters, including Morshed Davoud Fathalibeygi, Morshed Valiollah Torabi, and Sasan Mehrpouyan. She has collaborated with Beyzaie, Moheb-Ahari, and Charmshir in various projects.

She went on to teach acting through Naqqali at the Sureh University of Tehran. She also had a hand in registering Naqqali on UNESCO’s list of Intangible Cultural Heritage.

In addition to performing Naqqali in Persian, Turkish, and English in Iran, Italy, Germany, Turkey, and Canada and USA, she has participated in more than 100 stage performances, TV series, and feature films.

Aghili’s notable accomplishments include: teaching Naqqali to youth and adults; cooperating in registering Naqqali as a cultural heritage in UNESCO; founding Naqqali Centre in Toronto; performing a Naqqali titled “300” in Iran and Italy to protest against the fictitious Hollywood film 300 (dir. Zack Snyder) which some consider as an insult to Iranian and world history.

Arash Farhadi (Ali Farhadipour)


Arash “Ali” Farhadipour is the manager of Toronto’s Naqqali Centre. He holds a Master of Arts degree from Tarbiat Modares University in Tehran, and a Master of Arts degree from Carleton University. Farhadi is a Shahnameh-reciter (naqqal), and an expert at communication, culture, theatre, cinema, and Iranian & Shahnameh Studies.

Arash learned acting and Naqqali (dramatic story-performing) under the mentorship of his mother Morshed Saghi Aghili and has worked as Naqqali’s tumar-writer, playwright, director, actor and Naqqal (story-performer) in more than 100 productions in Iran, Turkey, Italy, Canada and USA.

Farhadi’s notable accomplishments include creating and teaching a workshop- titled “Present Like Hollywood” to increase audience engagement in presentations; writing and directing a Naqqali titled “300” in Iran and Italy as a response to the fictitious Hollywood film 300 (Zack Snyder).


April 18, 2021
10:00 am - 11:30 am
$10 – $30


Dana Sherry



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