International Meetings on Ancient Drama

That the institution continued for 25 years was really central. Even elsewhere in Europe, important initiatives can vanish within a decade. The Meetings acted as a catalyst they were an intervention. It was amazing to have thinkers from Asia to America coming together in this magical place, with this climate, with this light, to talk and exchange views on ancient drama.

Theodoros Terzopoulos

Director, founder of the Attis Theatre; President of the International Committee of Theatre Olympics.

The fourteen International Meetings on Ancient Drama were organised by the European Cultural Centre of Delphi between 1985 and 2009 and largely determined the character of the organisation, its presence, and its contribution to the Greek cultural scene.

For more than two decades, Delphi served as a meeting place where different views on ancient drama could be exchanged and react with one another. It also familiarised Greek audiences with the theatrical traditions and performance codes of other cultures.

The Delphi Meetings

  • Functioned as a multicultural and multilingual laboratory where new proposals on ancient drama could be performed, recorded, and put to the test.
  • Combined a theoretical approach with theatre practice and theatre education.
  • Encouraged cultural dialogue between different theatrical traditions, methods, and schools.

The Meetings lasted eight to ten days on average, and usually featured between seven to eight performances. Until 1990, the Meetings were annual; from 1995 on, they took place every two years.

The artistic and organisational direction of the Meetings was entrusted to the stage director Theodoros Terzopoulos.

Organisationally, the events were divided into three sections:

  • An International Symposium, which was attended on average by some fifty to sixty speakers, plus the same number of other observers and participants, and many young artists and academics, university and drama students, and visitors.
  • Theatrical performances by great directors and great performers, which often included premières and productions prepared especially for Delphi.
  • Educational activities in which masters of world theatre staged workshops and demonstrated their working methods for young artists and drama students.

Other parallel artistic activities were also organised, including exhibitions, film screenings, lectures on specialised topics, etc. The Meeting of Young Artists was added as an independent event from 2007 to 2009.

The venue was the conference complex of the European Cultural Centre of Delphi. The only significant exception was the site of the performances, which were held in the Ancient Stadium of Delphi, within the archaeological site, between 1985 and 2004. In 2005, the performances moved to the European Cultural Centre of Delphi’s modern open-air theatre, the Phrynihos Theatre.

The Meetings held were :

I International Meeting on Ancient Drama, 4-25 June 1985

II International Meeting on Ancient Drama, 15-20 June 1986

III International Meeting on Ancient Drama “HOMAGE TO KAROLOS KOUN”, 24-28 June 1987

IV International Meeting on Ancient Drama, 6-12 July 1988

V International Meeting on Ancient Drama, 29 June – 6 July 1989

VI International Meeting on Ancient Drama “SOPHOCLES”, 2-7 July 1990

VII International Meeting on Ancient Drama, 26-30 August 1992

VIII International Meeting on Ancient Drama “THEATRE OLYMPICS-CROSSING MILLENNIA”, 22-27 August 1995

IX International Meeting on Ancient Drama “ON HISTORY AND MYTHS”, 14-19 July 1998

Χ International Meeting on Ancient Drama “2.500 YEARS OF ANCIENT DRAMA: TRADITION AND PERSPECTIVES”, 30 June-8 July 2000

XI International Meeting on Ancient Drama “THEBAN CYCLE”, 5-12 July 2002

ΧΙΙ International Meeting on Ancient Drama “SOPHOCLES, 2.500 YEARS SINCE HIS BIRTH”, 25 June-2 July 2004

XIII International Meeting on Ancient Drama “THE WOMAN IN ANCIENT DRAMA”, 6-15 July 2007

XIV International Meeting on Ancient Drama “XENOS -METIC”, 3-11 July 2009

The publication Ancient Drama at Delphi (ECCD, 2022; English edition: Agra Publications, 2023) is a systematic record, documenting and presenting all the activities of the fourteen Meetings on Ancient Drama. It includes original articles and essays by theatre critics, researchers and academics who took part in them, and notes by directors and artists in a more personal style. The texts are supplemented by photographs within and outside the text, as well as extracts from publications in the contemporary press. A separate section at the end of the book provides a record of all the events by year (speakers and titles of presentations, theatrical performances, workshops and presentations of working methods, exhibitions and other parallel artistic events).

Δείτε τα περιεχόμενα

Presentation of activities by Maro Nicolopoulou, Former Head of the Conferences and Artistic Programmes Department of the ECCD.

Collaborations and Co-Productions

International collaborations

  • International Committee of the Theatre Olympics. Founding members: Theodoros Terzopoulos, Nuria Espert, Antunes Filho, Heiner Müller, Tony Harrison, Yuri Lyubimov, Tadashi Suzuki and Robert Wilson. The fruit of this collaboration was the organisation of the First Theatre Olympics at Delphi during the VIII International Meeting on Ancient Drama in 1995, and many co-productions of plays in the following years.
  • International Istanbul Theatre Festival (Turkey)
  • International Institute of Mediterranean Theatre directed by José Monleón (Spain)
  • SCOT – Suzuki Company of Toga Theatre (Japan)
  • Shizuoka Performing Arts Centre (Japan)
  • Studio of the Royal National Theatre (UK)
  • Watermill Center directed by Robert Wilson (USA)
  • La MaMa Theatre directed by Ellen Stewart (USA)
  • Odin Theatre directed by Eugenio Barba (Denmark)
  • Taganka Theatre directed by Yuri Lyubimov (Russia)
  • ‘School of Dramatic Art Theatre’, Moscow, directed by Anatoli Vasiliev
  • Beijing Municipal Bureau of Culture
  • Royal Shakespeare Company (UK)
  • Art Carnuntum (Austria)
  • Theater im Pfalzbau Ludwigshafen (Germany)
  • Théâtre National du Luxembourg
  • Ruhrfestspiele Recklinghausen Europäischen Festival (Germany)
  • The People’s Art Theatre of Wuhan (PRC)
  • BITEF Theatre (Serbia)
  • Cyprus Theatre Organisation


Collaborations in Greece:

  • National Theatre of Greece
  • National Theatre of Northern Greece
  • Greek National Opera
  • Attis Theatre
  • Greek Art Theatre – Karolos Koun
  • Spyros Evangelatos Amphi-Theatre