Song of the North work sample

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“A Feast for the senses”

– Puppeteering International Magazine

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”You’ve never seen anything like this.”

– Broadway Review

full article


Song of the North, a family-friendly shadow puppet production, is the second installment of Kingorama’s shadow play trilogy and a timely tale of love and adventure. Using puppets, shadow casters, and digital animation, this show tells the story of ancient Persia’s Princess Manijeh, a hero who rescues her beloved from a perilous predicament of her own making.

Song of the North is a large-scale, 80-minute multi-disciplinary live performance work by Hamid Rahmanian and collaborating visual and performing artists. The show will employ shadow puppetry, animation, movement, an original music score by Ramin Torkian and Azam Ali, and voiced dialogue to interactively tell a tale adapted from the Shahnameh.

The Shahnameh is an ancient collection of myths from the Iranian plateau, a historical and cultural touchstone that is a national treasure in Iran. Song of the North continues Rahmanian’s exploration of this significant epic, and expands the theatrical methods used in Feathers of Fire, his first award-winning multi-media work, to introduce audiences of all ages, backgrounds, and abilities to the valuable artistic, historical, and cultural contributions of Iran.

The show combines multidisciplinary modes of representation to tell the story of Manijeh, a heroine admired for her strength and determination, who helps prevent war between rival kingdoms. One of the most striking elements of this work is the use of over 250 handmade puppets in the play which are inspired by the visual culture of Iran and it’s neighboring lands that evolved around the Shahnameh, with influences from Persian miniature paintings and etchings. The puppets also reference the once vibrant puppetry tradition of Iran while imbuing it with modern and international elements. The intricate puppets and seven actor-dancer-puppeteers interact and perform in front of stunning over 200 animated backgrounds and behind a large, 16X30 foot screen set up at the edge of a proscenium, on which the audience watches the entire show projected, immersing them in a live animated adventure.

Through the multi-sensory telling of this ancient myth, and accompanying engagement programs, we aim to encourage audiences to feel a little less estranged from their neighbors, and illuminate the values and similar experiences we all share.

Conceived, Created and Directed by Hamid Rahmanian
Produced by Melissa Hibbard
Written by Hamid Rahmanian and Melissa Hibbard
Original Music by Ramin Torkian and Azam Ali
Puppet design by Saba Niknam and Hamid Rahmanian
Digital animation by Hoda Ramy
Puppets made by Neda Kazemifar
Additional creative support by Syd Fini, Parisa Harandi, Negin Keyhanfar, Shuhei Matsuyama, Ahmad Sadri

Song of the North is funded in part by the National Endowment for the Arts, Brooklyn Arts Council, Jim Henson foundation and National Theater award
Technical facilities and workspace provided by Pratt Institute


As an American citizen, born in Iran, Rahmanian works to bridge gaps of understanding, and highlight shared ideals and values in the face of cultural vilification, and official discrimination.

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