The summer season will open this year with a theatrical event of international scope, in the country's most famous ancient theater. On the first weekend of July, the Athens Epidaurus Festival presents Euripides' Alcestis, directed by the Dutchman Johan Simons, founder of the famous Theater Hollandia and one of the pioneers of the European theatrical avant-garde. A long-awaited world premiere, which in Greece will be exclusively presented in Epidaurus, before leaving for Germany, as it is a co-production of the Athens Epidaurus Festival with the German state Schauspielhaus Bochum.
The Epidaurus debut of Dutch director Johan Simons, founder of the famous Theater Hollandia (1985) and one of the pioneers of European avant-garde theatre, is a world-class event. Previously featured in the Festival, initally in 2002 with Euripides’ Bacchae and subsequently in 2009 with Horváth’s Kasimir and Karoline, co-produced with his collaborator Paul Koek, Simons is noted for his musical approach on texts and his impressively minimalist aesthetics. In this new work, Simons attempts a contemporary take on Euripides’ Alcestis, drawing on the music of Gluck’s eponymous opera and placing four singers and an organ in lieu of the Chorus.
About the play
A rather weird play of Euripides, between tragedy and comedy: the story of a woman who sacrifices her life to save that of her dying husband. Mourning; negotiations; arguments; who is not afraid of dying; who has more of a right to live. Finally, Heracles descends to the Underworld to bring Alcestis back: by now, though, she is a stranger to her family.
Directed by Johan Simons, Set Design by Johannes Schütz, Costumes by Greta Goiris, Dramaturgy by Susanne Winnacker
Co-production: Schauspielhaus Bochum – Athens Epidaurus Festival
Anne Rietmeijer (Alcestis), Steven Scharf (Admetus), Elsie de Brauw (Nurse), Pierre Bokma (Heracles), Stefan Hunstein (Father), Dominik Dos-Reis, Ann Göbel (Children), Viktor IJdens (Apollo), Lukas von der Lühe (Death)
Antonia Busse soprano, Natalija Radosav ljevic soprano, Sarah-Léna Winterberg alto, Luzia Ostermann alto, Christopher Bruckman / Boris Gurevich organ
Born in 1946 in the Netherlands, he studied dance at the Rotterdam Academy and acting at the Maastricht Academy of Theater. Johan Simons is one of the founders of the iconic Theater Hollandia along with musician Paul Cook. Since its founding in 1985, Theater Hollandia has taken a radical approach to texts, focusing on the musical dimension of speech and aiming at the musicality of the play. It is also worth noting that Hollandia's systematic involvement with ancient tragedy since 1989, and after working on Prometheus, has provided important stage suggestions, where music is combined with dance, visual expression and performance.
In 2001 Simons became the artistic director of the theatrical organization ZT / Hollandia and in 2005 he took over the Belgian Publiekstheater, which he renamed NTGent, giving new artistic stimuli and directing, among others, classics by Aeschylus and Beckett, and screenplays by Christophilus and Christopher Wilder.
In 2009 he was awarded an honorary doctorate by the University of Ghent. From 2010 to 2015 Simons was the artistic director of the award-winning Münchner Kammerspiele. In 2014 he received the German Theatrical Award Der Faust for his play The Death of Danton. In the same year he was also honored with the Berlin Theatrical Award, but also with the Prinz Bernhard Kulturfonds Preis, the most important art award of the Netherlands, for his overall contribution to the theater inside and outside the country.
From 2015 to 2017 Simons was the artistic director of the Ruhrtriennale and returned to NTGent as artistic consultant, while from the 2018-2019 season he has taken over the artistic direction of the Schauspielhaus Bochum.
Audiences who will purchase or have already purchased a ticket for one of the two international co-productions held at the Ancient Theatre of Epidaurus – Alcestis or Agamemnon – can use their ticket barcode to secure a 50% discount for another ticket for the other international co-production. The offer is available for all seating zones except for the two low-price upper tier zones. See details and relevant offers here.
All performances are played with Greek and English surtitles.
For any inconvenience and delay to be avoided, due to the current Covid-19 health measures, you are advised to arrive 60 minutes before the performance's starting time.
The theater's car park has plenty of spaces for cars and coaches.
Audience buses to and from the Ancient Theatre of Epidaurus are available.
Ticketing - Box Office info
Ancient Theatre of Epidaurus - box office operates from June 13th to 30th 2022 Monday to Saturday 11:00-19:00 and from July 1st Monday to Thursday 11:00-19:00. On performance days (Fridays, Saturdays, Sundays) 10:00-21:00 (starting at 20:00 only for the day's performance).
Τ. +30 211 8008181 (Monday to Friday 10:00-18:00). Purchase online: aefestival.gr
More information here
Entry into the theatre after the start of a performance, except during an interval.
The attendance of children under the age of six.
Smoking, and the consumption of food and drink inside the theater.
The use of mobile phones during performances.
Entry into the theater in high heels.
Photography, with or without flash, and sound or video recording during a performance.
The tipping of staff.
Did you know that?
The rehearsals for Euripides' Alcestis take place in Bochum, Germany, under the direction of the renowned Dutch director Johan Simmons, from where you can see the photos below. There is also the church organ, which plays live music by Gluck's Alcestis, transcribed by the Belgian composer Steven Prengels.
The play is a co-production of Schauspielhaus Bochum and the Athens Epidaurus Festival
The famous ancient Τheater of Epidaurus is located within the archaeological site of the Sanctuary of Asklepios, in the Argolis prefecture of Peloponnese. It is a half-hour drive from Nafplio and approximately two hours from Athens.
For intercity bus services to the Ancient Theater especially for the performances, see timetables and tickets Here.