In May 2016, over 500 students came together for a two-day festival at the Municipal Theatre of Piraeus. The festival featured theatrical presentations which were staged by secondary school students from seven different schools in the Piraeus area. The theatrical productions included works by celebrated playwrights, including Sophocles and Samuel Beckett.
The festival was sponsored by the John S. Latsis Public Benefit Foundation, which supports the development of culture, arts and the sciences. The board members of the John S. Latsis Public Benefit Foundation, including Spiro Latsis, oversee its charitable works and contributions.
Events of the Festival
The theatrical festival was produced over the course of nine months and involved the cooperation of students and teachers. The students themselves played an important role in coordinating the staging and direction of the productions within the “The Third Bell or Theatre with a Difference” projects.
The festival used theatrical production development to introduce students to Greek theatre and history. Students were able to gain all-round valuable insight by directly participating in all aspects of staging a theatrical performance, skills which will benefit them throughout their education. The event was made open to the public and admission was free of charge.
The seven theatrical productions represented works from both modern and classical periods. Featured playwrights included notable Greek scholars as well as world-wide literary luminaries. Seven directors worked closely with the students in order to guide them through each step of production.
On 7th May, students from Kallipoli High School performed an adaptation of “Our Great Circus”, originally written by Jakovos Kampanellis. The play focused on themes of freedom and Greek history. Kallipoli students were assisted by Nikos Vasileiou.
Also on 7th May, the student group from the 9th Junior High School of Piraeus, debuted their performance of “Stories of the Gentleman”, with the help of director Giannis Moschos. The play was based on texts written by Anton Chekhov.
The second day of the festival also featured productions from secondary school students. Students from Ionidios Model High School of Piraeus staged a performance of “Oedipus the Tyrant”, written by legendary Greek philosopher and playwright, Sophocles.
Although the subject matter and themes of the play are quite mature, this renowned text allowed students to become acquainted with the scope and possibilities of theatre. They worked under the direction of Aliki Danezi-Knutsen.
Zanneio Experimental High School featured their production of the famous satirical “Waiting for Godot”, written by one of the greatest modern playwrights, Samuel Beckett. Although this play is certainly advanced for secondary school students, it is a fantastic introduction to powerful theatre commenting on society. The students were directed and assisted by Thanos Tokakis.
History of the Piraeus Municipal Theatre
Students who participated in the festival had the inspiring opportunity to perform in the historical Municipal Theatre of Piraeus. The theatre recognises important cultural and historical significance for local residents.
First constructed in the 1890’s, the theatre officially opened in 1895. The principal architect of the structure, Ioannis Lazarimos, was a resident of Piraeus, as well as a professor at the National Technical University. The theatre was built in a neoclassical style and its rectangular design is 34 x 45 meters, with a combined area of 6000 square meters.
Located in the heart of the city on Korai Square, the building is a famous sight in the city of Piraeus. Over the years, it has developed a reputation as a historic destination for theatrical and musical performances. Its famous stage has featured productions in the fields of opera, drama and dance.
Following a period of restoration, the Municipal Theatre of Piraeus has now reopened and continues to stage a variety of productions. The interior and exterior of the building were completely renovated to restore the theatre to its full potential.
Whilst a sufficient amount of work took place in order to renovate the 1300-seat auditorium, many of the signature features of the building remain intact. For example, the baroque style stage is still predominantly in its original condition and the dominating chandelier in the auditorium continues to light the room as it has for decades.
The John S. Latsis Public Benefit Foundation plans to continue to work with Greek students and provide opportunities that encourage directly engaging with culture, art and history.