The Athens & Epidaurus Festival was founded in 1955. Since 1998, the organization operates under the legal name “Hellenic Festival S.A.” Run by a seven-member board of directors for a three-year term, the Festival is funded by a variety of sources, including grants from the state’s regular budget, a percentage of profits of the Parnitha and Corfu casinos, sponsorships, box office tickets, and rental profits.
Since 2007, the Greek Ministry of Culture and the Ministry of Economy and Economics are shareholders, the former also serving as a supervisory body.
Depending on its activities and the seasonal needs, the number of personnel employed at the Festival may vary between 30 and 300, a number which includes technical staff (110), ushers (130), cleaners, guards, cashiers (30), and many more.
Up to 2005, the Festival’s performance spaces included the Odeon of Herodes Atticus, the Epidaurus theatres (the Ancient Theatre of Epidaurus and the Little Theatre of Ancient Epidaurus), and the Lycabettus Theatre. As of the summer of 2006, a project which sees the expansion of performance spaces was put into effect. Four new theatre stages were launched at the former Tsaougoglou factory, at Peiraios 260, courtesy of the National Bank of Greece. The year 2017 will see the launch of one extra stage. Occasionally, other open-air and closed spaces in Attica are also utilized.
The Athens & Epidaurus Festival, under the current artistic direction of Vangelis Theodoropoulos, aims to highlight the work of new Greek artists and promote it on an international level, while also achieving co-productions with internationally acclaimed artists and groups in the fields of theatre and dance, as well as with regional theatres and institutions in Greece, and expanding the Festival’s scope and audience by opening up to the city and organizing various educational activities.
Furthermore, in 2017 the Epidaurus Lyceum will also be launched; an international summer school of ancient Greek drama intended for drama school students and young actors from all over the world, the Lyceum aspires to a reappraisal of our approaches regarding ancient tragedy and comedy, helping bridge the gap between historic tradition and contemporary reality. The Lyceum is expected to become an international meeting point of actors, drama teachers, directors, musicians, choreographers, theatre theorists, anthropologists, and musicologists, as well as a source of spiritual and economic development for the entire Epidaurus area.