Yannis Simonides – Artistic Director
Born in Constantinople and raised in Athens, Yannis Simonides is a Yale Drama School trained actor/writer and Emmy-winning documentary producer. He has served as professor and chair of the NYU Tisch Drama Department, as executive producer of Greek Orthodox Telecommunications (GOTelecom) and as the executive director of Hellenic Public Radio – COSMOS FM in New York. He is the founder and director of the Greek Theater of New York and Greek Theatre International (Elliniko Theatro) and of Mythic Media International, a performing arts lab. His performance work includes plays by Euripides, Sophocles, Aristophanes, Shakespear, Brecht, Korres, Kambanellis and others, along with solo and ensemble pieces culled from the writings of Constantine P. Cavafy, General Makriyannis, Nikolai Gogol and others. He has received the support of the National Endowment for the Arts, The Greek Ministries of Culture and Foreign Affairs, The A. S. Onassis, I. Kostopoulos, S. Niarchos, M. Tsakos and A. Leventis Foundations, Time Warner and the Mobil Foundation. He co-produced Mikis Theodorakis’ 75th Birthday Celebration at Lincoln Center with the Montreal Symphony Orchestra and has been associated with the Annual Festival of Greek Music and Dance at Symphony Space in New York City, presented by the World Music Institute and ADAM Productions. He has narrated the PBS television specials Visions of Greece and Return to the Homeland, and received an Emmy award for his documentary A Light Still Bright on the Greek community of Istanbul. He recently constructed and directed Smyrne, a docudrama on the 1922 Asia Minor Catastrophe which premiered at the Boston Maliotis Center and is scheduled to tour in the US in 2012-2013.
He has performed the Apology of Socrates , in Greek, English, Spanish and French, at theatres, festivals, schools and universities in the USA, England, Greece, Cyprus, France, Turkey, Canada, Luxembourg, the Ukraine, Bulgaria, Mexico, Belgium, the United Emirates and Uruguay. Ιn 2012-2013 he will be touring it under the title ‘Socrates Now’, combined with an interactive post-performance discussion, in Greece, the USA, Argentina, Germany, Australia and New Zealand. As a founding member of international literary organization The Readers of Homer, he has helped stage marathon audience-participation Readings-Celebrations of the Iliad and Odyssey on the islands of Chios and Kos in Greece, at the Library of Alexandria, the Dahesh Museum and the 92nd Street Y in New York, and in Troy, Delos, Pylos, Malta, Sicily and Ithaca, at the Getty Villa in Malibu, at the Halles de Schaerbeek in Brussels and at the Hellenic Centre in London, in the context of the 2012 Olympic Games.
In 2009 Yannis Simonides was honored by the city of Athens as Ambassador of Hellenism for his lifelong service to Greek arts and letters worldwide. In 2010, along with a team of young visionaries, he founded EllinikoTheatro’s second base in Athens, with the express mission not only to help expand the boundaries of Hellenic theatre, but to help contribute decisively in Greece’s upcoming renaissance, serving Cultural Diplomacy in practice.
Stephania Xydia – Managing Director
Born in Athens and raised in Luxembourg, Stephania is fluent in five languages and has accumulated professional experience coordinating major arts events in Europe, the USA and South America. From a very young age she was involved in diverse theatrical, dance and musical productions and obtained an advanced diploma in Dance from the National Conservatoire of Luxembourg. Upon graduation from the European School of Luxembourg, she was accepted to pursue a BA in Education & Modern Languages at Cambridge University from which she graduated with distinction, completing research projects in Arts Education, Hispanic Theatre and issues of National and European Identity. At the same time, she led the organization of numerous cultural events for the Hellenic Society, the ADC Theatre and the Corn Exchange. During her undergraduate studies, she spent a year in Madrid, where she studied Cultural Heritage Management at Complutense University and worked for the Greek Embassy focusing on press, tourism and cultural initiatives. Upon her return to the UK, she was accepted to pursue an MA in Cultural Policy and Management at City University in London, focusing on Cultural Diplomacy and Greek Cultural Policy. A fortunate meeting with Yannis Simonides and ensuing collaboration with the Greek Theatre of New York and The Readers of Homer led her to help coordinate major artistic and literary events in Montevideo (Uruguay), Kos (Greece) and New York (USA), and to become a founding member of Greek Theatre International. Being a child of the Greek Diaspora, a citizen of the world, with extensive experience in top academic and professional environments, she is part of a new, creative and prominent generation, fully committed to a methodical collective campaign to raise Greece’s international standing.
Athena Bounti – Marketing & Digital Media Project Manager
Athena was born in Thessaloniki and grew up in Patras, Greece. She graduated from the University of the Aegean with a BA in Cultural Technology and Communication, spending a semester at the Polytechnic University of Barcelona as part of the Erasmus programme. Upon completion of her undergraduate studies, she was accepted to pursue an MA in Digital Culture and Technology at King’s College London, where she completed a thesis on the design of location-based mobile applications. She went on to pursue a second MA in Cultural Policy and Management at City University, from which she graduated with merit, completing a thesis on Social Media strategies for museums. Among others, she has gained professional experience at the Digital Media department of the National Gallery of London where she engaged in major digital projects. During her studies she was president of the Aegean University Theatre Group, participated in several theatrical productions, and has since decided to put her academic expertise into the service of the arts, theatre and Greek culture.
Εvdoxia Mpras – Project Manager
Evie was born in Washington DC. She graduated with honors from the College of William and Mary, with a BA in Literature and a double minor in Film Studies and Ethnomusicology. She studied abroad at McGill University in Montreal and Charles University in Prague. She received a Masters of Fine Arts in Filmmaking from the San Francisco Art Institute. Upon graduating, she directed a documentary on the life of an experimental film legend entitled Gregory Markopoulos & Temenos: Idiofeggis. During the production of her film in New York, San Francisco, Berlin, Switzerland and Greece, she became a seasoned grant writer and fundraiser. During her time in San Francisco, she worked at the Film Arts Foundation, assisting in fundraising, grants and program organization. She has worked on the development and management of creative projects in a variety of production companies such as Max Productions and Gabari productions. Her creative background in the arts as a Greek-American director informs and inspires a dedication to produce valuable artistic visions in an international arena.