Yannis Simonides – Actor | 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.
Loukas Skipitaris – Director
Loukas N. Skipitaris studied acting with some of New York’s leading teachers and earned a Masters in stage directing at Queens College (CUNY). He made his Broadway acting debut in Ilya Darling with Melina Merkouri, and subsequently appeared in the original Broadway production of Zorba, directed by Harold Prince. Besides dozens of productions of Greek classics and plays by Anton Chekhov, Tennessee Williams, George Bernard Shaw, Neil Simon, Ira Levin, he directed the world premiere of the oratorio Erotocritos at Lincoln Center. He is the founder and director of The Acting Place, a professional training workshop, as well as the founding and artistic director of Theatron, Inc., a non-profit Greek American performing arts center in NYC.
Theoni Vahliotes Aldredge – Costume Designer
With over 150 stage productions, numerous ballets and several films to her credit, Theoni Vahliotes Aldredge ranks as one of the most prolific and successful costume designers of the 20th Century. Born and raised in Greece, she trained at the Goodman Theatre School and became a resident designer at Joseph Papp’s New York Shakespeare Festival. With over 100 Broadway plays, feature films and television shows to her credit, Ms. Aldredge was inducted into the Theatre Hall of Fame in 1986 and has received one Oscar, three Tony Awards and the British Society of Film and Television Arts Award. She is the recipient of the New York City Liberty Medal and was honored with the Costume Guild Career Achievement Award. In addition, the Theatre Development Fund has presented her with the Irene Sharaff Lifetime Achievement Award for her work in Theatre, Film and Television. Theoni passed away on January 21, 2011 at her home in New York.
Caryn Heilman – Percussion
Caryn Heilman is a percussionist, vocalist and dancer with the World Music of Nana ensemble, which blends musical elements from around the world. A specialist in frame drums, she plays the daf, a Sufi drum from Kurdistan, and the tar. She has also founded her own dance company, LiquidBody, and is co-founder of Topia Arts Center, a green arts and education center in Adams, Massachusetts.