EDUCATION AT THE ATHENS AND EPIDAURUS FESTIVAL
Since 2016, strengthening the educational orientation of the Athens and Epidaurus Festival has been a priority of the artistic direction of the organization.
In the summer of 2016, the Epidaurus Creative Workshop for children programμε was launched, and the Epidaurus Lyceum , the international summer school of ancient drama, was announced. At the same time in Athens, a series of workshops, seminars and discussions with the participation of audience members and professionals from the theatre and dance world, were also held.
A few months later, the parallel activity of the Epidaurus Lyceum entitled Educating audiences in ancient drama was launched in Argolis aiming at the renewal of the relationship between the local community and the performances at the ancient theaters of Epidaurus, through experiential theatrical workshops and lectures on the themes of the ancient Greek dramatic texts.
EDUCATING AUDIENCES IN ANCIENT DRAMA
2019 Theme: Reinventing ancient drama on the contemporary stage
This year, the Educating audiences in ancient drama programme will be held for the third consecutive year in Argolida with the support of the Municipality of Nafplio and in collaboration with the Department of Theatre Studies of the School of Fine Arts of the University of Peloponnese.
The theatrical and educational activities of the programme in primary and secondary schools on Argolis are approved by the Directorate for Support of Programmes and Education for Sustainability of the Ministry of Education, Research and Religious Affairs.
The programme’s activities are addressed to residents of Argolis, of all ages, and groups of visitors from all over the world who make educational visits to Epidaurus and are run by experienced theatre educators, theatre theorists, directors and theatre artists, under the scientific supervision of the Athens and Epidaurus Festival and the Department of Theatre Studies of the University of Peloponnese.
The activities are supervised by Georgina Kakoudaki, theatre theorist, director and Athens and Epidaurus Festival co-curator for educational programmes; Christina Zoniou, who teaches acting at the Department of Theatre Studies, University of Peloponnese, and Angeliki Tsakona, theatre researcher and educator for the Creative Children workshop of the Athens & Epidaurus Festival.
Workshops, theatrical/educational activities and lectures will be structured around this year’s theme: Reinventing ancient drama on the contemporary stage. The most suitable plays, those whose themes can be better adapted to the needs and goals of the individuals attending the programme and their education level will be selected out of all the Epidaurus Festival 2019 performances.
Activity 1. Dialogues: Discussions and open workshops with artists performing in Epidaurus
Directors, choreographers, actors and other theatre artists, who are already hard at work preparing performances for this year’s Festival in Epidaurus, come in contact with the Argolis audience through discussions and experiential workshops on the themes of the plays that will be presented in the summer of 2019.
This year, the programme will take place at the Vouleftiko venue in Nafplio according to the following programme:
February 18, 2019: Georgia Mavragani
March 4, 2019: Yannis Kalavrianos
April 15, 2019: Lydia Koniordou, George Sampatakakis
May 6, 2019: Sofia Paschou
May 27, 2019: Konstantinos Markoulakis
Dialogues was launched in February 2018 and took place at the Vouleftiko venue in Nafplio with the participation of the following directors: Vangelis Theodoropoulos, Costas Filippoglou, Thanos Papakonstantinou, Kostantinos Ntellas and Martha Frintzila. These lectures and workshops were attended by more than 300 people.
Activity 2. Playing with ancient drama: theatre workshops with elementary and secondary school pupils in Argolis
An exciting journey into ancient drama from a contemporary perspective, engaging school students in the different ways ancient drama can be staged in our days. Selected theatre educators will adopt a student-centred and group-centred approach, with an emphasis on playing and the collective imaginativeness of the performing process. The programme is structured according to the needs and features of each age group.
Reeducation/retraining activities for teachers of all specializations, currently teaching at primary and secondary schools in Argolis who are interested in participating in the programme together with their class or with a group of students.
Central activity – Closing ceremony
An experiential theatrical workshop with selected activities drawn from the entire programme. Featuring students, teachers and artists who have participated in this year’s workshops.
During the 2017 – 2018 period, 27 schools of the region participated with 640 students and 43 teachers in the “Playing with ancient drama” activity.
Activity 3: Active audience – active citizens: Education for local, adult residents
Having closely followed the Epidaurus Festival and its ancient drama productions throughout the years, locals now have the opportunity to attend experiential theatre workshops and lectures free of charge. The longtime relationship between local residents and the Epidaurus performances is renewed and enriched, as residents gain insight in current theatrical aesthetic trends and urgent questions posed onstage by contemporary artists. Through experiential approaches and theoretical insight, the locals are transformed into active audiences, fully experiencing the poignant questions of these ancient texts, as well as those raised by contemporary artists. As active audience they are capable of critically engaging with the Festival performances and enjoying theatre with a new set of eyes.
So far, the Active audience – active citizens activity has taken place with the participation of cultural organizations, social support structures and educational institutions in the region of Argolis.
Activity 4: Educating international audiences
Each year, Epidaurus is visited by groups of school and university students and researchers from around the world, coming in contact with their object of studies: ancient drama. Often, visitors combine their trip with attendance of one or several performances at the Epidaurus theatres.
The Educating international audiences activity was launched in 2018 aiming to expand the international audience of the Athens and Epidaurus Festival and boost their relationship with ancient drama which includes experiential theatrical workshops, lectures on ancient drama and the ancient theatre, attending performances at the Athens and Epidaurus Festival and tours to archaeological sites (e.g. Acropolis, ancient theatre of Epidaurus, Sanctuary of Asclepios in Epidaurus).
To date, the following groups have participated in the activity: Students and professors from the Department of Theatre Studies of the University of Amsterdam, a group of theatre theorists, directors, actors and professors from the Shanghai Theatre Academy, as well as young people from theatre groups of Ireland and Spain within the framework of the European Erasmus + programme.