An interview with Katerina Angelidaki
- Author: Karanatsis Christos
- Published on: 29/04/2015
Α discussion on the playwriting studio organized by the National Theatre of Greece.
A new initiative for the support of Greek dramaturgy will become available in a few days by the National Theatre of Greece, headed by journalist Katerina Angelidaki. It is a playwriting workshop coordinated by the author and theatre film critic Iraklis Logothetis. The workshop is another step towards ensuring the development of Greek dramaturgy and the emergence of a generation of young playwrights, with the aid and guidance of established playwrights and various people involved with theatre.
This initiative is strongly supported by Katerina Angelidaki, the driving force and one of the many people responsible for the organization of the workshop: “The playwriting workshop will give the opportunity to young people to unleash and express their talent and be exposed to, enrich their knowledge and get inspired by experienced, renowed playwrights. The workshop is targeted towards the starting point of any theatrical production, which is the theatrical text. The authors who will teach in the various courses offered by the workshop will not merely conduct an ordinary playwriting seminar, but wish to distinguish the potential and possibilities of the people who will participate as well as help them to acquire voice, to convey their knowledge, courage and give opportunities.”
As our discussion went on, she revealed to me, quite enthusiastically, that participating in the first playwriting studio of the National Theatre of Greece, is an overwhelmingly thrilling experience: “People have shown a support that exceeded our expectations. They communicate with us on a daily basis from anywhere in the country, expressing their interest and support for the project. I think that this initiative should have been organized by the National Theatre of Greece many years ago.”
An initiative that was met with such enthusiasm, inevitably created the need to establish an evaluation for those who will eventually participate in the first playwriting workshop: “The authors who will teach at the playwriting workshop have already reviewed almost 200 plays and CVs that were sent at the National Theatre of Greece. A total of 25 plays, the ones that received the most positive reviews, have been already selected. The candidates were given a particular topic, which they were asked to develop.”
I wondered if among the selected plays, there was a promising and creative contemporary piece of writing that could create and inaugurate a new period in Modern Greek drama: “I think it would be more fitting if this question was answered by the authors who will teach in the workshop. As a journalist, with many years of experience on theatre related issues, I can tell you that there are both interesting and good plays. If there is anything missing, I would say that it is taking a risk. Apart from being able to write eloquently and efficiently, what is essential is the originality of the subject or an extraordinary way in which a playwright approaches something ordinary. Boldness, however, requires confidence, an attribute that can be acquired through education, so that a playwright doesn’t merely resort to or engage in an act to impress.”
The lack of political support for the creation of a new repertoire in Greece is an issue that resurfaces, in any discussion with people whose path is directly connected with the promotion of Greek plays. Katerina Angelidaki stresses this lack of support but also highlights the need for the National Greek Theatre to promote and support new Greek playwrights: “I believe that the lack of support on the part of the Greek state in the cultural field is deafening. Everything is left to their fate. Nevertheless, the National Theatre of Greece, being the first theatre in our country, should continue its effort in various ways; with the playwriting studio, that should be offered in the form of online courses so that people who don’t live in Athens can still keep up, with productions with major theatres from abroad, by inviting important playwrights from around the world. Modern Greek dramaturgy can have a bright future ahead of it if it is supported by theatre institutions.”
It is worth mentioning that the playwriting workshop will be completed in 3 months (96 teaching hours) and will take place from Saturday, February 14th until Sunday, May 10th. Various experienced will conduct the courses and highly renowed teachers from the theatrical field: Vasilis Katsikonouris, Vangelis Hatziyannidis, Minas Vintiadis and Iraklis Logothetis. Following the end of the workshops, the playwrights will be asked to compose new one-act plays. Then, the teachers as well as the artistic advisor of the National Theatre of Greece Antonis Koufalis and the Head of the Drama Department of the National Theatre, Savvas Kyriakidis, will select the three finest that will be performed on stage at the National Theatre in the form of a stage reading.
Katerina Angelidaki is a Law School graduate from the University of Athens. She has worked as a journalist and editor of the cultural section in numerous newspapers and magazines in the cultural section. She has also worked in the public sector as the Head of Press Office and Theatre advisor for the Ministry of Culture, as well as a communication consultant at the National Theatre of Greece.