The Greek Festival, a 62-years institution has hosted numerous major Greek and world-famous performing artists. The Greek Festival consists of the Athens Festival with various Greek and international performances and the Epidaurus Festival, which presents, mainly, ancient drama at the Ancient Theatre of Epidaurus and the Small Ancient Theatre of Epidaurus from the end of June-and throughout July and August.
The Athens Festival usually starts at the first day of June and during June and July it hosts great theatre, dance, and music productions from all over the world. The last 11 years Athens Festival has been expanding its program in alternative venues and art productions so as to attract a younger audience.
Most of the productions take place at the familiar venues of “Peiraios 260” and the Odeon of Herodes Atticus. It’s difficult to mention all of them and I will have to cherry-pick some, but a second article is due in a few days with more information on the Epidaurus Festival.
Visitors will get the chance to enjoy a showcase of Greek artists and companies. Simos Kakalas with Greek Freak / all star game (June 10-11), Moonstruck directed by Nikos Chatzopoulos (June 15-18), Vasilis Noulas with Maritime Hot Baths”(June 24-25),
the Blitz group with The Institute of Global Solitude (June 30 – July 1), Georgia Mavragany with Suddenly, Last Summer (July 4-5), Dimitris Kourtakis with Failing to Levitate in My Studio (July 18-20) are only some of artists and their work that are presented this summer in Athens Festival.
As far as the international productions go, Athens Festival 2017 hosts 7 theatrical and 6 dance performances and at the same time it also hosts a great tribute to the German theatre group, Volksbühne! It opens with one of England’s most important theatrical teams. Forced Entertainment, which showcases Shakespeare, in an
original way that is pleasantly surprising. (June 1-9). Polish director and founder of groundbreaking choral company The Chorus of Women, Marta Górnicka presents the final part of her MOTHER COURAGE triptych under the name Hymn to Love”(June 1-2). The acclaimed Swiss director Milo Rau comes back this year in Athens with Empire, the finale of The Europe Trilogy (June 15-16). After dazzling the audiences of Athens Festival 2016 with his stage adaptation of Roberto Bola\o’s 2666, thirty-year-old Julien Gosselin adapts Michel Houellebecq’s award-winning,
controversial novel Les Particules élémentaires known in English as Atomised, (June 29-30). Democracy in America is the latest production by the Italian stage director Romeo Castellucci and it will be presented in Athens (June 30-July 2). Celebrated artists Robert Wilson and Mikhail Baryshnikov join forces to step inside the shattered mind of one of the greatest dancers in history, Vaslav Nijinsky in Letter to a Man (July 10-13).
Finally, the tribute to “Volksbühne” includes three performances and for the more demanding viewers, workshops and conversations with participants.
Athens Festival is, without a doubt, one of the most interesting European cultural celebrations. So, if you decided to spend your summer holidays in one of the Greek islands, I urge you to come first to Athens and visit the festival after all the culture of a country shapes our view of it.