The giants of traditional Iranian theater were honored on Saturday during the closing ceremony of the International Festival of Ritual and Traditional Plays. Sadi Afshar, Hassan Azimi, Majid Jafari, Abbas Gorgani, Mohammad Ahadi, Rajabali Salehi, Mostafa Rahimpur, Rahmat Eskandari, Mohammad Bakhshinia, and Zeinolabedin Khaledi were honored at the closing ceremony, which was held in the courtyard of Tehran’s Vahdat Hall. Out of respect for stage actor Majid Forughi, who is hospitalized due to an illness, Jafari declined to accept his award, saying that he would accept it later at a gathering in the office of Deputy Culture Minister for Artistic Affairs Hamid Shahabadi. At the ceremony, Shahabadi announced that the Culture Ministry plans to establish an expert committee for ritual artists to “preserve the achievements of artists active in the field of ritual and traditional plays.” Ritual and traditional plays should have a special place in dramatic arts, and modern plays should also benefit from their potential, he added. Afterwards, General Office for Dramatic Art Director Hossein Mosafer Astaneh spoke briefly about the importance of ritual and traditional theater. The public can establish a connection with this kind of theater more easily since it relates to their civilization and culture, he noted. “The fact that the fifteenth edition of the festival was held in Iran manifests the importance of traditional theater here,” he added. The festival, which was held in Tehran from July 14 to 23, hosted eight performances by troupes from Turkey, Italy, Uzbekistan, Japan, and South Korea.