A German theatrical performance was shut down recently in Iraq after an actress caused controversy in the country due to her lack of attire.
In the theatrical production’s final scene the actress begins to remove her clothes, layer by layer and ends up exiting the stage almost semi-naked. The scene infuriated some of the audience members.
The Iraqi Ministry of Culture issued a strong statement on Monday demanding the play be shut down.
However, further details on the matter were not provided.
The statement angered Iraqi art and theater groups alike, who spoke to Al Arabiya’s Iraqi correspondent and said the ministry’s latest move against the theatrical production was sparked after high-profile figures in the Iraqi religious parties criticized the females attire or lack thereof.
Explanations provided by the crew and actors were not taken into consideration by the ministry, Al Arabiya said, adding the ministry instead insisted on halting the play.
The cultural ministry also suspended Shafiq Mahdi, the director-general of the department of Cinema and Theatre, and has called the organizers of the theater festival in for investigation.
The ministry was reported saying that the steps it had decided to take was a way to steer Iraq’s cinematic and theatrical productions onto the “the right path.”
Ahmed Shurgi, an Iraqi artist, condemned the move claiming it aims to turn Iraq into Kandahar, the second largest city in Afghanistan.
“The statement confines thoughts. They want to replace a democratic regime with a Kandahari one,” he said.
The German production was part of the Experimental Theater Festival, Iraq’s 17th edition.