As if the streets of Athens were not entertaining enough, the 1st International Street Theatre Festival in Greece is taking to the streets of historical Athens beginning October 16, 2009 and continuing through October 20, 2009.
And although performance art has long been a part of the Athens street scene, this Festival legitimizes the importance of creativity and art being accessible, free and available for everyone. There are currently 45 Greek groups and 12 groups from abroad scheduled to give 180 different performances, so if you are in Athens between October 16 – 20, 2009, the odds are pretty good that you’ll catch at least one Festival show – I’m guessing that they’ll be spread out along the Apostolou Pavlou and Dionysios Areopagitou pedestrian promenades, as well as in the squares around Plaka, Thisseio, Makrigianni and maybe even Monastiraki. If you’re interested in learning more about the performers, there is a particial list of them here.
There will definitely be something for everyone, as performers from Greece, Italy, France, Germany, Poland, the Netherlands, Spain, Austria, Belgium, Brazil, Romania, Slovenia and Bulgaria will not only act, pantomime, sing and dance, but there will also be puppet theater (not sure if that’ll be kid oriented puppet theater, but I’ll keep researching and update as I find out). And, since street theater is all about bringing art and performance to the people, all performances are free, no tickets or reservations are required. You can stay as long as you’re interested in staying, and leave when you wish.
The free performances are part of a competition sponsered by the Greek Ministry of Culture’s National Centre Theatre and Dance with the support of the city of Athens, the cultural agency of the city of Athens, and the International Theatre Institute (iTi) and will include four award prizes ranging from 2000 to 4000 euro including one for best director and one for best puppet theater. Awards will be presented on the last day of the Festival, after which a procession of artists will parade through the streets of the historical center of Athens from Makrigianni Street to Theseum for the closing ceremony at Asomaton Square (where of course, in true Greek fashion, there will be a big party!)