The International Symposium and the International Festival of Ancient Greek Drama are the most prominent of the different activities organized by the Cyprus Centre of the I.T.I.
The International Symposium that started in 1990 as an activity of the Committee of Cultural Identity and Development of the I.T.I. is being organized on a regular basis every other year. Throughout this period the Symposium has managed to secure the participation of personalities of international standing both from the academic as well as from the theatrical community. Naturally the Symposium has established a dialogue among people with specialized knowledge of ancient Greek drama.
However, the Centre wanted this dialogue to go down to the wider public. For this reason in 1997, responding to the suggestion of Mr. Nicos Shiafkalis, it decided to establish a festival which came to be known as the International Festival of Ancient Greek Drama. In 2013 the Festival will complete seventeen years of uninterrupted presence in the cultural life of the island. What has established the Festival as a distinct cultural event is its international character. The theatre companies that participate in it come from different countries. Most of them come from European countries such as Greece, the U.K., Germany, Russia, Romania, Bulgaria, Israel, Italy, Belgium and Sweden including Cyprus. However, there has been participation from the U.S.A., Korea and China as well. The fact that ancient Greek drama is today staged in different countries is a concrete indication that ancient Greek drama does not belong to the past but continues to appeal to contemporary audiences.
The performances, many of which are original in their approach, cover the whole month of July every year. They project the uniqueness of ancient Greek drama but also bear an intense colouring of the culture of the country from which they come. Thus the audiences, which are themselves international as they consist not only of Cypriots but of foreign visitors as well, have the unique opportunity of experiencing ancient Greek drama from different cultural perspectives which affirm its uniqueness but also its universality.
Both events, the Festival and the Symposium, through their international repute, strengthen the position of Cyprus on the world cultural map and contribute constructively to the intercultural dialogue, one of the aims of which, is the protection of cultural identity and the promotion of respect for diversity, which are currently threatened with leveling by the influence of globalization.
The Festival is co organized by the Ministry of Education and Culture, Cultural Services, the Cyprus Tourism Organization and the Cyprus Centre of the International Theatre Institute.
The 2013 organization of the Festival will bring to Cyprus performances from Palestine, Portugal, Spain and Greece and will present two performances from Cyprus besides the participation of the Cyprus Theatre Organisation. For the fourth year surtitles will be projected, English and Greek during performances in other languages than Greek and English during Greek performances. A program with all the performances will be published, including the cast and credits, the director’s note, a summary of the play and a biographical note of the theatre group. The programme will be posted on the website of the festival also.