Iranian director, playwright, costume and puppet designer, university professor, translator, and researcher. Ardeshir Keshavarzi eared a Bachelor’s degree in English and French from Melli University (Tehran) in 1969 and was one of the first graduates (BA, 1975) in Puppet Theatre from the Dramatic Arts College, University of Tehran, where he had already began teaching in 1972. Keshavarzi served as a translator for and simultaneously studied for two years under the Czech puppeteer Oscar Batek, who had been invited to the Dramatic Arts University to open the puppet theatre major.

In 1974, Keshavarzi and Batek’s Markaze-e teatre-e arousaki (Centre for Puppet Theatre) activated puppet theatre alongside children and adult theatre groups at the Institute for the Intellectual Development of Children and Young Adults (IIDCYA; in Persian: Kanoon-e Parvaresh-e Fekri-e Koodakan va Nojavanan). Incidents in the City of Puppets, Little Red Riding Hood, and Nokhodi were their collaborations. Keshavarzi assumed leadership after Batek of Markaze-e teatre-e arousaki from 1974 to 1980 and trained many teachers in puppetry.

In collaboration with Jerald Dan Lafoun, founder of the Centre for Theatre Production of the Institute, he produced many stage shows including Torob, Khorshid Khanoom (Miss Sun), Ali baba va chehel Dozde Baghdad (Ali Baba and Forty Thieves of Baghdad). His important creations include Kerm-e Shab Tab (Firefly), Boz Boze Ghandi, Hadi and Hoda, Land of Happiness, and Aghay-e Ertebati (Mr Ertebati).

Ardeshir Keshavarzi was director of the first International Festival of Puppetry and he frequently participated in both performances and talks as the Institute’s puppet theatre representative. He was the first from Iran to link with UNIMA, and through him the Institute for Intellectual Development of Children and Young Adults became an UNIMA member. From 1976, he journeyed to Pakistan, India, Egypt, Greece, Nepal, Germany, England, France, and Spain, and eventually settled in the United States where he cooperated with directors of puppet theatre there.

As a professor, he worked in Tehran University, on the Cinema and Theatre Faculty of Art University, and taught puppetry for IRIB (Islamic Republic of Iran Broadcasting), sharing his research, writing on puppetry, and training many students in puppetry. In 2007, the Association of Puppeteers gave their special award to Ardeshir Keshavarzi as one of the pioneers in the field of children’s theatre and modern puppetry in Iran.

(See Iran.)