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Pantea Productions is a multi-disciplinary theater company led by Leila Ghaznavi with a rotating roster of contributing artists.  Pantea Productions evolved when Ghaznavi’s experiences with her first original work, SILKEN VEILS (which received five stars at the Edinburgh Fringe and was shortlisted for best new work) imbued her with a hunger to create theater that examines foreign cultures.  


Pantea Productions is named after a female general in the Persian Empire that led a fighting force comprised of soldiers from across the world. In this spirit of strength through diversity, Pantea Productions brings together artists from across the country to combine their respective artistic expertise for the creation of new work.  To date the company has combined dance, theater, aerial acrobatics, physical theater, clown, puppetry, poetry, and lighting design with original music for unrestricted storytelling.


Leila Ghaznavi is a playwright of American-Iranian descent and a masters graduate of the California Institute of the Arts, currently residing in New York City. Her background is unusually multicultural and greatly influences her work: her father immigrated to the US from Iran at 19, his only possessions fifty dollars and a prayer rug; her mother is a Daughter of the American Revolution and a proud relative of Stonewall Jackson. Her parents' improbable marriage facsimiled an ideal American family; however, the differences in their cultural perspectives tore their marriage apart and isolated her from both sides of her family. Over time this dual alienation has transformed into a dual belonging that she has claimed as her own - an ability to understand and represent both Iranian and American culture.


As an actress Ms Ghaznavi has a wide range, with experience in diverse methods of acting: classical acting, clown, film acting, mask work, puppetry, and aerial acrobatics; as a playwright Ms Ghaznavi weaves together the disparate range of her theatrical studies and her unique heritage in order to further her artistic goals. In particular, Ms Ghaznavi hopes to generate work through her playwriting that gives a voice to oppressed women across the globe, with specific focus on women in the Middle East. Ms Ghaznavi has created works on a variety of topics, ranging from the discrimination of homosexuals in the Middle East to mothers of the "Disappeared" in the Argentinian Dirty War. 


Ms. Ghaznavi's piece, SILKEN VEILS, premiered in the 2010 Edinburgh Fringe Festival, where it was nominated for the prestigious Fringe First Award for best new work. Ms Ghaznavi's works have also been performed in Philadelphia, Indianapolis, Chicago and Hollywood Fringe Festivals, as well as in Bali, Indonesia, and Kristiansand, Norway.


Ms Ghaznavi believes that art cannot be limited to one acting or storytelling method, and that the process of synthesizing artistic traditions is important in the creation of new methods of artistic expression. Moreover, she is committed to the belief that artists must challenge social conventions of what is sacred and taboo,  

Art must dare to say what is forbidden, love the undesirable, speak for those who have no voice, mourn those who have been forgotten, challenge what is sacred and dance in the clouds to reveal undiscovered planes of imagination.

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