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Tiny Owl has a surprise in store: a storytelling performance using the ancient Persian art of pardekhani!

Alia Alzougbi, The storyteller

Storyteller Alia Alzougbi will be performing Tiny Owl’s The Parrot and the Merchant in an event at Greenwich Book Festival on 27 May. At the centre of the event will be a beautiful canvas decorated with Marjan Vafaian’s stunning illustrations – the way Rumi’s 13th-century fable would originally have been performed.

  • Read this blog to see the timetable of our events at Greenwich Book Festival

Iran and other Persian-speaking countries have had performance practices such as pardekhani since antiquity. A large canvas, known as a parde, is elaborately painted with depictions of traditional stories, both religious and otherwise, such as the fables of Rumi and episodes from the Shahnameh, a Persian epic. The pardekhan, a storyteller, then takes the canvas to public places such as coffee houses and town squares, and performs the story while pointing to the relevant parts of the parde.

A canvas (Parde) decorated with the illustrations of The Parrot and the Merchant

The result is a highly immersive and interactive storytelling experience that also offers children a unique way to develop their understanding, respect and appreciation for other cultures. By placing the unique artwork of Marjan Vafaian at the centre of the performance, the story will become an exciting and truly interactive experience for children and adults alike.

Book your tickets for this event here

  • Read this blog to learn more about Pardekhani
  • Read David Almond’s words about this book in the Guardian


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