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Issue Date: January 2010

Most Interesting People 2010 - Massoud Saidpour

by Jennifer Bowen, Katie Dragga, Emily Garvey, Lauren Hennen, Christina Ipavec, Brittany Moffat, Kim Schneider, Colleen Smitek, Beth Stallings, Carly Toyzan, Erick Trickey & Jim Vickers; edited by Colleen Smitek
Massoud Saidpour
Director of performing arts,
music and film for the Cleveland Museum of Art | 46

Why he’s interesting … Saidpour spends eight or nine weeks a year traveling to meet with musicians, vocalists, dancers and actors for the museum’s VIVA! & Gala performing arts series. He’s turned a passion for theater into a career, bringing Cleveland everything from the Shaolin Warriors of China to the Royal Dramatic Theatre of Stockholm.

Matter of meetings … His job has taken him throughout the globe to places such as Slovenia and China. Some trips are a seemingly endless series of meetings while others are visits to festivals or academic centers for research or fact-finding missions. But all his trips provide a thrill of the unknown. “It’s not just about going someplace and booking some acts and bringing them here. It’s an experience to understand this culture, what it is that makes it tick.”

His mentor … Saidpour credits much of his current outlook on performing arts to the time he spent studying with Polish theater revolutionary Jerzy Grotowski. “He was fundamental in teaching me what is acting, what is the craft of acting.”

Unlimited opportunities … When the museum closed in 2005 to begin its massive renovation and expansion project, Saidpour saw an opportunity to get Clevelanders into new neighborhoods and spaces they’d never visited. There were performances at Temple-Tifereth Israel in University Circle and Slavic Village’s historic St. Stanislaus Church and construction of a Tibetan Buddhist sacred mandala.

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