Since 700 BC, ancient Greek drama flourished in the city of Athens. Almost three millennia later, theater still thrives and blooms lying in the hearts of the public. What we were missing, in our digital era, was a place dedicated to modern Greek theater- a place that could be a wealth of information regarding modern Greek dramaturgy. This place, specifically a cyber space, is provided by the newly founded website “The Greek Play Project” and the devoted team behind it. This original project idea, received no public or private funding. It was a labor of love, inspired solely by the love of Greek theater. Their goal, as said in their opening statement, is to “support the efforts of the artists and listen to their needs, inform the audience and facilitate a fruitful dialogue and exchange between Greek and foreign artists“.
It is not only Euripides, Aeschylus, Sophocles and Aristophanes. There is an active and dynamic environment around modern Greek theater that needs to be communicated” .
The website, which has been live for six months now, has received much positive feedback. Head of the project, theatrologist, theater critic and PR Manager of the National Theater of Greece, Ms. Irene Moundraki, discusses the project with great enthusiasm and passion. She says, “Due to the nature of my work, I travel abroad a lot and in discussions with people I meet, I have always felt the need to explain to them that there is actually modern Greek dramaturgy. It is not only Euripides, Aeschylus, Sophocles and Aristophanes. There is an active and dynamic environment around modern Greek theater that needs to be communicated” she said.
Moundraki felt motivated to develop the website due to the complete lack of available information about the modern Greek theater scene. She says, ” I just had nowhere to refer them to (people asking me about modern Greek plays), point them to this or that website to provide them with information about this play or that writer. I really believe in Greek theater and its importance. Thus, when the circumstances allowed it, I contacted some of my peers and shared the idea. Their positive reactions gave me hope that the idea can actually materialize. We created a team and we worked hard for two years before the site went online”.
“The Greek Play Project” is not merely a database of theater plays and writers. Its content is separated in three main parts. The first section, “Playwrights” presents original theater plays along with presentations of modern artists involved in the plays. The”News” and “Interviews & Viewpoints” section includes relevant updates and discussions on all matters within the modern theatre culture. Finally, the “On Stage” section reveals all stage activity of current Greek dramaturgy.
“Through our actions we are trying to create a network of collaborations to promote modern Greek theater abroad”, Ms Moundraki states.
Ms. Moundraki says, “Fourty-four modern writers are part of our website along with renowned theoreticians and theater critics. Our goal is to provide a complete image for each of the writers involved. The content is updated weekly and each month a new writer is added.”
The Greek Play Project also aims to communicate its message to those beyond Greece’s borders. Discussions have begun with foreign artists and theater organizations for the purposes of the site. A presentation about Cypriot writers in cooperation with the Cypriot Centre of Theater is bend developed, as well as presentations in the Italian theatre magazine “Statagemmi” of Greek writers and translations of their plays in Italian. “Through our actions we are trying to create a network of collaborations to promote modern Greek theater abroad”, Ms. Moundraki states.
Another notable goal of the site is helping with the challenges the business faces due to the country’s economic crisis. “The standards of production are really influenced by the economic crisis. The whole landscape of professional theater production has changed” Moundraki said. Her outlook is not pessimistic, however; rather she pragmatically accepts that artists adapt due to different circumstances. Moundraki even finds a positive angle to the economic troubles: “The crisis…has given the need to people to talk about what they’re going through and this has led to some wonderful artistic creations. Addressing such a topic, relevant not only to us here in Greece but in a global audience, those voices need to be heard. This is where we come in, making sure that you can discover them, providing the people with the appropriate platform: The Greek Play Project”.
Thus, theatre is not only a quality form of entertainment, but also a source of comfort. Initiatives like the Greek Play Project serves as a platform of valuable information and a rich source of Greek culture, communicating its message around the world.
Moundraki says,” Our legacy as Greeks is extremely important, in the works of our ancestors in dramas and comedies. However we cannot stay glued to the past forever . Modern Greek dramaturgy is more alive than ever and its people are among us trying to have their voices heard”.
The GPP Team:
Irene Moundraki – Creator, Head of GPP
Maria Karananou- Head Project Manager
Angeliki Poulou – Dramaturg
Christos Karanatsis- Dramaturg, Journalist
Myrto Evangelidou- Journalist
and many more theatre professionals and enthusiasts.
The Greek Play Project announced a playwriting contest, entitled “Write your myth”. The winning play will be produced during the 2015-2016 theatrical season. For more information about the competition and the website go to: