Miranda Terzopoulou is an ethnologist and a former researcher at the Hellenic Folklore Research Centre of the Academy of Athens. She specializes in folk rituals and especially folk music and songs as a means of collective expression and as a communication code in the context of various ethnic, linguistic and religious minorities. Her research focuses on ritualistic practices associated with life cycles and annual cycles, such as the Twelve Days of Christmas and the disguises linked to the winter solstice, Carnival festivities, the Easter cycle, the fire-walking ritual known as Anastenaria and water and fire worshipping rituals of the summer solstice, wedding and death rituals, rites of passage etc.
Workshop “From Folk Ritual to Theatre”
This workshop will examine precursor forms of theatre which convey the timeless human need of expressing oneself artistically, ritually, and socially, both as an individual and – especially – as a member of a larger group, through various practices pertinent to the performing arts. We are talking about performative religious or secular customary rituals, running the gamut from the simplest to the most complex, which are invariably repeated under unrecorded laws during specific occasions of the agricultural cycle and at critical stages of the circle of life. They vary from the most rudimentary theatrical –in this context, meaning performed in front of spectators– acts and rites of a distinctly magical character, such as disguises, processions with symbolic objects and accompanying music, the worship of the phallus and the use of obscenity, the marriage and the funeral rites and lamentations, sacred dances and fire-walking, to more elaborate folk plays with assigned roles, speaking parts, costume and set requirements.