14:05 GMT +323 October 2019
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    Iranian Shakespeare production trailer

    WATCH: Two Arrested in Iran Over Dancing in Shakespeare Production Trailer

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    Iranian authorities have arrested two artists over a trailer for a theater production of Shakespeare’s “A Midsummer Night’s Dream” that features men and women dancing together, an activity banned in the conservative country.

    On Monday, Shahram Karami, an official for the country's Ministry of Culture and Islamic Guidance, told the Islamic Republic News Agency (IRNA) that Iran's judiciary had ordered the detention of play director Maryam Kazemi and venue manager Saeed Asadi.

    ​According to Karami, the two were taken into custody Sunday over the "type of music played" and the actors' "movements" in the video trailer of the play. He also added that the court will release the pair on a $24,000 bail each, the Guardian reported Monday. They are to be released Tuesday, multiple reports claim.

    The trailer featured female and male actors dancing together, which is illegal in public in Iran. However, the play had already been showing for seven nights at Tehran's City Theater. Kazemi and Asadi were arrested not long before the play's final performance was scheduled to occur.

    "The issue was with the trailer they released and not the play's content," Karami added, AP reported Monday.

    In July, Maedeh Hojabri, an 18-year-old Instagram star in Iran who has almost 70,000 followers, was detained after she shared videos of herself dancing on the social media platform. In many of the videos, she was not wearing a hijab, which women in Iran are required to wear in public. 

    Following Hojabri's arrest, Iranian authorities also detained several other
    unidentified women for uploading similar dancing videos on their social media accounts, Sputnik reported at the time.

    In 2014, a group of Iranian Pharrell Williams fans filmed themselves dancing to the star's hit song "Happy" in Tehran. The video, which quickly went viral, was strongly disapproved of by Iranian authorities, who swiftly arrested the participants. The individuals were later released after making confessions on Iranian TV. 


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