by Alexandra Papaisidorou
Punctual to its appointment with the public even under these unprecedented circumstances, the Athens & Epidaurus Festival presents a condensed version of its programme, thus actively supporting local artists, who are going through a particularly rough patch, while also giving local and international audiences the opportunity to enjoy large-scale performances and concerts at our most iconic monuments.
The festive programme we had originally announced on March 30, cautiously optimistic in the face of the ongoing pandemic, cannot be, ultimately, realised. For all of us here at the Festival, the forced cancellation of dozens of wonderful shows and collaborations with major figures of the Arts was truly painful. We had scheduled over 70 events, inviting creative teams from 14 countries, and collaborating with approximately 1,400 artists; events that were to be held in a variety of outdoor and indoor venues.
In this newly finalised, special version of our programme, we are announcing 17 Greek productions of Music, Theatre and Opera, featuring 300 artists whose work will be presented exclusively at the open-air Epidaurus theatres and the Odeon of Herodes Atticus. These events encompass some of our own productions, as well as collaborations with fellow state institutions, all of which had already been announced in our programme and will now be adjusted to the new reality.
I would like to thank the creative teams and artists featured in this year’s Festival, who will have to work under highly unusual – artistically speaking – circumstances and be subjected to unprecedented restrictions both in rehearsal and during the shows. The entire Festival team is by their side to make their work easier, keeping everyone safe.
The 2020 edition of the Festival will kick off in an unconventional way, as this year we are collaborating with NEON Organization for Culture and Development for a daring visual and curatorial project highlighting connections between performing and visual arts, while also painting the iconic Odeon of Herodes Atticus in an entirely different, unexpected light for spectators.
Dear audiences and artists, as you may realise by now, this programme is not the total sum of our efforts; rather, it is a small but powerful FRAGMENT, that will bravely unfold on our theatre stages to remind us that Art is vital and that the Festival will only be whole again when it will be able to embrace all the artists originally included in this year’s programme, along with others added to next summer’s programme, at a time when the Peiraios 260 venue, the heart of contemporary performing arts, will be open.
With that in mind, the Athens & Epidaurus Festival 2020 will bear the subtitle ΥΠΟΣΥΝΟΛΟ – FRAGMENT.
The works that could not be realised this year are already being rescheduled for 2021, for an expanded 2020-21 Festival edition, in which audiences will have the opportunity to enjoy a large programme, enriched with new projects and co-productions, marking our 65th birthday celebration. The beginning or prologue, if you will, of this celebration starts this year.
A second set of special events is due to follow later this year, eventually culminating in our programming for the summer of ’21.
We wish you all a great summer and are looking forward to seeing you in our theatres for an altogether different Festival experience.