The artistic director’s note

The Synikismos Festival is one of the main legacy projects that the European Capital of Culture programme aims to establish for the city of Eleusis: an international festival of contemporary performing arts, which manifests the philosophy, the core values and the methodology of Transition to EUphoria, our attempt to redefine the form and content of public culture today.

The direction that we are following comprises a dual integration: the integration of art into everyday life, and the integration of the audience into contemporary performing arts. In practice, this means that we are focusing on research-oriented projects, with a strong documentary dimension. We are also focusing on projects that redefine the relationship between the creator and the audience, centred on the live experience. And, lastly, we are focusing on projects that are the results of co-creation between the artists and the community.

Last year’s first edition of the Synikismos Festival focused on the theme of immigration and refugee flows to Europe, not because it was “trendy”, but because it is one of the main phenomena—if not the most crucial—that will shape European societies in the coming decades. This year, the same theme remains central, but it is approached through the prism of History.

Official history is entangled with the personal histories of real people, on a journey that starts with the -so called in Greece-  Asia Minor Catastrophe and the works I_LEFT Asia Minor by Yolanda Markopoulou, in collaboration with the Asia Minor Association of Eleusis, and A Prisoner of War’s Story by Stratis Doukas, directed by Alexandros Mistriotis. The journey continues to central Europe and, specifically, 1950s Hungary, with the performance History History History by Deborah Pearson and ends in today’s Syria, through the works Gardens Speak and Tell Me What I Can Do by Tania El Khoury.

Alongside the above, the works The Eleusinians by Filippos Koutsaftis, Routes on Roots #3 by Aspasia-Maria Alexiou and MotorWay 6 by Evi Kalogiropoulou, focus on what comes after the historical event, in the lives of people that survived: on the life they continue to live in a different place, which, in turn, restructures the society that welcomed them. The journey through the many faces of history concludes with the works Haiti by the Hatari Group and Nothing to Declare by Dictaphone Group, inviting us to reflect on the nature and function of History.

A fundamental value of the Synikismos Festival is the meeting between art and society, and the care with which we are reinforcing these two pillars of public culture. In the field of artistic production, we focus on a new generation of artists from Greece and abroad, who stand out for their particular language and approach. We are aiming to empower their work, not only through the presentation of the work itself, but also through actions that reinforce different actors in the cultural field, which support the artistic work—such as production managers, curators, critics and performing arts scholars. Furthermore, we have tried to create conditions to enhance their work’s life cycle and develop audiences for it. This year’s edition of the festival includes six such activities.

The Critique Laboratory, coordinated by Dyo Kangelari aims at reinforcing critical thinking and theoretical discourse on the work of the artists presented in the festival. The IETM Campus aims at training production managers in all aspects of international work (touring abroad, international collaborations and funding sources). The activity Destination Eleusis – Athens, in collaboration with Onda (Office National de la Diffusion Artistique)  concerns the visit of fifteen artistic directors of theatres and festivals in France, with the purpose of introducing them to the Greek contemporary scene and the festival’s artists. The Festival Readings, in collaboration with the Festival Academy of the European Festivals Association creates a forum for dialogue on the role that festivals and their curators can play in enhancing both the artistic field, as well as the cities in which the festivals take place. Finally, Kafeneio I Vouli becomes an opportunity for the acquaintance of the inhabitants of Eleusis with the festival’s artists, from within. Finally, through the educational programs for children, we bring the audiences of tomorrow closer to us, today.

So, from June 22 to June 30, Synikismos in Eleusis becomes a place of coexistence and co-creation for artists and art professionals from Greece and abroad, as well as the residents of Eleusis and the wider region of Attica. 

Kelly Diapouli

Artistic Director Eleusis 2021