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The Conference of the Birds

Written By: Jean Claude Carrière and Peter Brook

Based on the 12th Century Persian poet Farid-ud-din Attar

Directed By: Vinita Sud Belani

Head of Production: Usha Srinivasan

Dance & Music Director: Antara Bhardwaj

Music Composer: Randy Armstrong

Fri, Sept. 9th – 8 PM | Sat, Sept. 10th – 2 PM and 8 PM | Sun, Sept. 11th 2016 – 4 PM



Thirty artists representing ten dance traditions spanning four continents feature in a vibrant, multi-sensory interpretation of the timeless Sufi quest narrative – The Conference of the Birds.

EnActe Arts and Sangam Arts present a contemporary interpretation of the 12th century Persian poet Farid Attar’s magnum opus – an inspirational parable about the painful but beautiful human journey towards understanding.

Hoopoe the wise one calls for a conference of hundreds of birds, exhorting them to embark on a perilous journey across seven treacherous valleys in search of Simorgh, their king and salvation. The seven valleys represent challenges on the path to realizing the true nature of God – Yearning, Love, Mystical Knowledge, Detachment, Unity of God, Bewilderment and finally, Selflessness and Oblivion in God. Each bird has its own significance – the nightingale symbolizes the lover, the peacock the “fallen soul,” the parrot seeks the fountain of immortality.

In 1971 Brook, Carriere and a very young Helen Mirren embarked on a journey across the Sahara from Algiers to Nigeria on their own search for the definition of universal theatre, much like the birds themselves. They engaged with villagers to devise simple, improvised pieces, using the poem as the centrepiece of their experimental repertoire and aiming to shed stale Western conventions in their quest for the universality of theater. From this effort arose the final script.

It is this universality that we seek to capture in our production, using Peter Brook and Academy Award winning playwright Jean-Claude Carriere’s play as the theatrical basis.

Made possible in part by grants from


September 9, 2016
September 10, 2016


Enacte Arts


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