The "International Festival of Ancient Greek Drama" in Cyprus

Anastasia Bartzi | Live the World

November 23, 2022

Cyprus and Greece, in general, are famous for their culture, their cultural heritage, their civilization, and the history that was written thousand years ago. One specific thing that these places are most famous for, is, of course, the Ancient Greek Drama. 

Every summer, in honor of our Greek ancestors and of all the heritage that they have left behind,  acts of ancient dramas are performed in ancient theaters, all over Greece and Cyprus.

One of these great and important events take place every year, in three different locations in Cyprus. Between Limassol, Paphos, and Nicosia, the Ancient Greek Drama resurrects, so as to create memories that will last forever. The performances are presented in open-air amphitheaters, such as the Ancient Odeon in Paphos, the Curium Ancient Theater in Limassol and the "Skali" Amphitheatre Aglantzia in Nicosia. All the performances take place during the month of July.

A little bit of history

In 1997, the Board of Director of the "Cyprus Center of the International Theater Institute (CCOITI)" decided to launch an International Festival of Ancient Greek Drama. This decision was motivated by one ambition; to give ancient Greek Drama a wider presence in the theatrical activities of the island and thus to contribute to the building of the "theatrical awareness" among the people, by offering them entertainment of a multi-cultural nature and high aesthetic standards. This idea was based on the fact that the CCOITI,  believed that Ancient Greek drama has direct relevance to today´s world.

Photo Credit © iStockphoto/ f8grapher

The participants

Groups and companies from different countries around the world participate in the festival´s programme. Productions from other countries that have been hosted in the Festival, come from Belgium, Bulgaria, China, Croatia, Germany, Georgia, Greece, Israel, Italy, Korea, Latvia, Portugal, Romania, Russia, Serbia, Slovenia, Spain, Sweden U.K., U.S.A, and of course Cyprus. A lot of the performances are innovative in their approach, projecting the uniqueness of the ancient Greek drama, but also carrying out an intense essence of culture, inspired by the country of their origin.

Each year the festival becomes bigger, as well does its fame. It has acquired a unique multicultural style because of the guests that are coming from different cultural backgrounds, a fact that makes this place one of the most important cultural institutions of Cyprus.

Through the last years, the festival has been developed significantly. It has embraced the "innovative through the timeless", the "contemporary through the ancient"; it has expanded its audience with local and foreign spectators and of course, it has broadened its perspective. Through these changes, the festival has achieved to bring artistic creation closer to society, which was actually the aim of it from the beginning. This "Cypriotic creativity" managed in this way to open constructive dialogues among multiple countries.

The International Festival of the Ancient Greek Drama has been honored with the EFFE Label (2015-2016, 2017-2018 and 2019-2020), as one of Europe´s finest festivals.

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