OZ Arts presents cinematic shadow theater production Song of the North

A family-friendly spectacle by Iranian-American multimedia artist Hamid Rahmanian.

Epic Persian legends are brought to life by 500 handmade puppets and props in this unique “feast for the senses” (Puppeteering International Magazine).

Nashville, Tenn. – March 18, 2024 – Contemporary arts center OZ Arts Nashville today announced that innovative multimedia artist Hamid Rahmanian and his company will present the visual splendor of their internationally acclaimed shadow play Song of the North, a theatrical adaptation of an epic Persian tale of love, courage and an extraordinary heroine. Seven performers combine the manual art of shadow puppetry with projected animation to celebrate Persian culture using 500 handmade puppets and film-like theatrical effects. The whole family will be enchanted by this cinematic performance as Rahmanian’s creativity shines in a vibrant visual display.

Challenging Eurocentric worldviews of art and storytelling, Song of the North presents a compelling narrative as the richness of Persian culture takes center stage. The stunning multimedia performance showcases Rahmanian’s remarkable adaptation of Persian poet Ferdowsi’s 10th-century epic Shahnameh (the Book of Kings). Viewers are invited to follow the tale of Manijeh, a heroine from ancient Persia, who must use all her strengths to rescue her beloved and help prevent a war. This story of a brave warrior serves as a vessel for a message of unity in the face of misunderstanding – an apt lesson for those in Western culture who seek to better understand Iranian culture. Rahmanian likens his home country to a symphony, but much of the world only hears one note.

The themes of heroism and forgiveness the characters embody are reflected in the intriguing story of the show’s recent past. In late 2023, Rahmanian nearly lost the fruits of his years of work to craft a beautiful visual complement to the story of Shahnameh, as costumes and puppets from the production were stolen after a show in California. Rahmanian and his crew were not deterred by the incident, rebuilding and continuing to present their breathtaking show to audiences around the country. Rahmanian went so far as to publicly forgive the thieves who nearly destroyed his magnum opus, noting that Song of the North is a story of forgiveness itself.

“OZ Arts is a home for adventurous artists who are inventing new ways to tell stories, and Song of the North exemplifies that goal,” said Mark Murphy, OZ Arts Executive and Artistic Director. “We look forward to viewers young and old experiencing the visual splendor of Hamid’s stunning storytelling through an extraordinary cast of shadow puppets and brilliant cinematic innovation.”

OZ Arts will present Song of the North on Friday and Saturday, April 19 and 20 in its expansive warehouse. Tickets start at $30 and are on sale now at www.ozartsnashville.org/hamid-rahmanian-song-of-the-north. Those interested in seeing a preview of the performance can view the trailer here.

This performance is made possible with generous support from donors and grants. To learn more about upcoming performances, please visit www.ozartsnashville.org.


Friday, April 19 at 8:00pm
Saturday, April 20 at 2:00pm
Saturday, April 20 at 8:00pm

Tickets: $30-$35
Seating is general admission, and tickets are available for purchase at ozartsnashville.org.

About OZ Arts Nashville

Founded in 2013 by the Ozgener family, OZ Arts Nashville has quickly established itself as one of the Southeast's most influential and respected producers and presenters focused on the creation and presentation of significant performing and visual artworks by diverse cultural visionaries who are making vital contributions to the evolution of contemporary culture. Through performances, exhibitions, and community events, OZ Arts focuses on producing and presenting the work of local and visiting artists who reflect our diverse society, utilize new artistic forms and technology in creative ways, and provide opportunities for meaningful engagement with audiences, students and cultural and civic leaders. OZ Arts' unique creative warehouse has developed a reputation as a major national and regional laboratory for experimentation and a home for contemporary dance and performance. More than 50,000 audience members have been introduced to adventurous artists from around the world since the organization opened, and hundreds of local and regional artists have used OZ’s 10,000-square-foot warehouse theater to develop new works. For more information, please visit ozartsnashville.org.

About Hamid Rahmanian

Hamid Rahmanian is a 2014 John Guggenheim Fellow and the recipient of the 2020 United States Artists Fellowship. His work centers on theater, moving image, and graphic arts. His work has been exhibited in international competitions and publications. His films have screened at Venice, Sundance, Toronto, Tribeca, and IDFA film festivals and broadcast on PBS, Sundance Channel, IFC, Channel 4, BBC, DR2, and Al Jazeera. Mr. Rahmanian undertook the immense task of illustrating and commissioning a new translation and adaptation of the tenth-century Persian epic poem Shahnamehby Ferdowsi, entitled Shahnameh: The Epic of the Persian Kings (2013). This best-selling 600-page art book, which the Wall Street Journal lauded as a “masterpiece,” is currently in its second edition (Liveright Publishing). In 2017, he released an immersive audiobook version of Shahnameh: The Epic of the Persian King, with an introduction by Frances Ford Coppola. In 2018, he released a pop-up book entitled Zahhak: The Legend of the Serpent King(Fantagraphics Books) in English and French which received the Meggendorfer Prize for the Best Pop-Up Book and was hailed “Simply breathtaking” by Le Monde. In 2014, Rahmanian shifted his focus to theater arts, working with shadows and digital media. To date, he has created five theater pieces: Zahhak: The Legend of the Serpent King (2014), Mina’s Dream (2016), commissioned by the Onassis Foundation), and UNIMA-USA award-winning Feathers Of Fire (2016) which toured in 23 cities around the world to an audience of over 100,000. In 2019, he was commissioned by Yo Yo Ma’s Silk Road Ensemble to create a video animation for their new multimedia project, Heroes Take Their Stand. Mr. Rahmanian completed his latest stage production, Song of the North, which premiered at the Brooklyn Academy of Music in 2022 and is currently touring around the world. His most recent project, the new pop-up book, The Seven Trials of Rostam, is now available.