A brief historical account
Τhe Cyprus Centre of the I.T.I. was established in November 1977. The initiative for its establishment belonged to the former Director of the Cultural Services of the Ministry of Education, the late Panayiotis Serghis and to the Senior Cultural Officer Mr. Nicos Panayiotou, who set up a preparatory committee which convened an institutive meeting in November 1977. Among the matters the meeting dealt with was the election of the first Board of Directors consisting of: Nicos Shiafkalis, President, Elladios Chandriotis, Vice-president, Andreas Marangos, Secretary, Andreas Antoniades, Treasurer, Leonidas Malenis, Photos Photiades, Stelios Kafkarides, Neophytos Neophytou and Yiannoula Frangofinou, members.
Τhe contribution of the Centre to the theatrical development of Cyprus has been substantial. From the very beginning of its establishment it became an agent of theatrical information to and from Cyprus. Thanks to this information the theatrical community of Cyprus had the opportunity to become acquainted with theatrical trends worldwide. But the visits of playwrights, directors, set designers, theoreticians and educationists to Cyprus were also helpful in this direction. Similarly the Centre arranged for Cypriot theatre artists to visit other countries and convey their experiences to their colleagues. Within the framework of exchange of artists, information and theatrical experiences in general, the Cyprus Centre signed bilateral agreements with Centres of other countries. Of consequence was the agreement signed between the Greek and Cypriot Centres, which provided, on an alternate yearly basis, for the organisation of a week of Greek theatre in Nicosia and Cypriot theatre in Athens. Despite its successful implementation in the first two years, it was temporarily suspended owing to financial difficulties.
The Centre, through its network of relations and connections with other national Centres, gave the possibility to many members of the Cyprus theatre community to take part in different activities of the international organisation. We mention here the visits of Cypriot delegations to the former German democratic Republic, Bulgaria, Russia, Egypt, Tunisia, former Czechoslovakia and many other countries. The participation of Cypriot groups in international activities such as the Theatre of Nations, the Theatre of the Suitcase, the Festival of Monodrama, the University of the Theatre of Nations, the Quadrienale of Prague, the Festival of Experimental Theatre in Cairo, the Bangladesh Theatre Festival is also of great significance.
Ιn its historical course the Centre included among its activities the organisation of a series of conferences which also contributed substantially to theatrical development. From 1982 to 1994 the Centre organised the following conferences:
14 November 1982, First Pancyprian Theatre Conference on Free Theatrical Creation and Theatrical Development in Cyprus.
25 May 1987, Second Pancyprian Theatre Meeting on Ways of Implementing UNESCO’s Statement Concerning the Status of the Artist.
18 Νovember 1989, Third Pancyprian Theatre Conference on Τheatre and Cultural Identity.
23 March 1992, Fourth Pancyprian Theatre Conference on Theatre Conference on Theatre and Sponsors.
20 June 1994, Fifth Pancyprian Theatrical Conference on Τhe Role of the Director – The Financial Aspect of Theatrical Development.
In 1999 the Centre in collaboration with the Cyprus College and in 2002 the Intercollege of Nicosia carried out two surveys which were also a significant contribution to development. They brought forth interesting information regarding the theatrical references of the Cypriots and the reasons for which they stay away from the theatre. The aim of the Centre was to give the theatre companies a tool that would help them build their audiences.
In the ’90’s the Centre began a series of activities relating to ancient Greek drama. They have continued successfully to this day and have become significant cultural events of international appeal that have over the years achieved the establishment of a dialogue with intercultural dimensions. Through these activities ancient Greek drama is viewed from two perspectives: as a field of academic study and research and as a stage performance. The activities include:
(a) The INTERNATIONAL SYMPOSIUM OF ANCIENT GREEK DRAMA which was first organised in 1990. It has since then been held uninterruptedly, under the auspices of the Committee of Cultural Identity and Development of the I.T.I. every other year. It is attended by academics and theatre practitioners from countries all over the world.
(b) The INTERNATIONAL FESTIVAL OF ANCIENT GREEK DRAMA is an annual event which attracts professional theatre companies from various parts of the world. Over the last eleven years it hosted companies from Greece, Britain, U.S.A., Germany, Russia, Romania, Sweden, Croatia, Bulgaria, Italy/Austria, Korea and Cyprus. This wide international participation in the Festival helps to bring out the universality of ancient Greek drama and underline its living presence in today’s world. The Festival is held in the summer and specifically in July when Cyprus attracts visitors from all over the world. Thus with its performances it brings ancient Greek drama into contact with a multicultural audiences.
(c) The Summer Institute of Ancient Greek Drama which runs parallel to the Festival. Its courses, which are attended by students from Cyprus and other countries, last three weeks. They include theory and laboratory work which, in the end, leads to a stage presentation of a play from ancient Greek dramaturgy. This year (2008) the courses will be taught by: Freddy Decreus, Professor of Classical Studies, University of Ghent, Belgium, Heinz Uwe-Haus, Stage Director and Professor of Theatrical Studies, University of Delaware, U.S.A. George Mikellis, Theatrologist, Greece and Stelios Hadjistyllis, Classical Philologist, formerly Director of the Department of Cultural Services, Ministry of Education and Culture, Cyprus. The Workshop will be directed by Nicos Shiafkalis, Stage Director and Director of the Summer Institute. In the evenings the students are given the opportunity to watch the performances of the Festival and discuss them the following day with their instructors.
(d) The INTERNATIONAL ENCOUNTER OF DRAMA SCHOOLS AND THEATRE DEPARTMENTS OF UNIVERSITIES which takes place annually in July within the framework of the Festival and lasts a week. The Encounter involves groups of three to four students with their instructors from Drama Schools or University Theatre Departments, which give twenty-minute performances of scenes from ancient Greek plays at the ancient Odeon of Paphos. Their work is experimental and leads to a wide discussion between them and the students and instructors of the Summer Institute. Up till now the Encounter has hosted groups from Russia, U.S.A., Finland, Estonia, Greece, Belgium, Sri Lanka, Egypt, Lebanon and Cyprus. This year (2008) an arrangement will be made for their stay to be extended to ten days to give the opportunity to students to attend part of the theoretical courses of the Institute.
Other activities for 2010
Apart from the above activities, which are permanent, the Centre has made plans:
(a) To organize celebrations of the Greek Letters Day, the World Theatre Day (27th March) and the International Dance Day (29th April)
(b) To host a meeting of the Dramatic Theatre Committee of the I.T.I.
Τhe Centre has, since its establishment, been very active in the field of publications. It publishes on a permanent basis: Theatre in Cyprus, a bilingual (Greek-English) yearbook that records all theatre and dance activity in Cyprus, the quarterly magazine Theatre News which reports on current theatre activity (local and international) and the proceedings of the International Symposiums on Ancient Greek Drama. This too is a bilingual (Greek-English) publication, which is made available to all theatre groups and organisations as well to university libraries and other institutions both at home and abroad. Very recently the Centre published three books on ancient drama: The Three Tragedians – Notes on Three Parallel Plays by Dr. Elladios Chandriotis, (Re)-reading the Texts of Ancient Greek Drama and Notes on Directing by Dr. Heinz-Uwe Haus and Music in Ancient Drama by Nicos Zanopoulos.
Articles on the Cyprus theatre by members of the Centre have been published in the World Encyclopaedia of Contemporary Theatre, the World of Theatre and the World Theatre Guide, publications of the I.T.I.
Τhe Centre is run by a nine-member Board, which is electedbythe general meeting of its member for a three-year term of office. The board of Directors for 2011-2013 consists of:
President: Giorgos Neophytou
Vice President: Neophytos Neophytou
Secretary: Magdalena Zira
Treasurer: Skevos Polykarpou
Public Relations: Ellada Evangelou, Machi Dimitriadou Lindahl
Members: Giorgos Nikolaou, Minas Tigkilis, Apostolos Apostolidis
Executive Director: Christos Georgiou
Participation in Committies of the I.T.I.
At the 33rd World Congress held in China, in 2011, the following members of the Centre were elected to various Committees of the I.T.I:
Executive Council / International Festival Forum (IFF)
/ International Playwrights’ Forum (IPF) / Board
Neophytos Neophytou(Vice President):
Dramatic Theatre Committee (DTC)
New Project Group (NPG)
International Playwrights’ Forum (IPF)
Machi Dimitriadou Lindahl(Vice President):
International Dance Committee (IDC)
Dramatic Theatre Committee (DTC)
International Monodrama Forum
Theatre Education and Training Committee (TECOM)
Christakis Georgiou is the Honorary President of the
Committee of Playwrights and Nicos Shiafkalis of the Committee of Cultural Identity and Development. The latter also served for a number of years as a member of the Executive Council.