Yannis Simonides - Actor & Director
Born in Constantinople and raised in Athens, he is a Yale trained actor/writer/producer. He has served as professor and chair of the New York University Tisch School of the Arts Drama Department and as the executive director of Hellenic Public Radio in New York. He is the founder and director of the Greek Theater of New York (EllinikoTheatro), which is celebrating 38 years of continuous service. His performance work includes plays by Euripides, Sophocles, Aristophanes, Shakespeare, Moliere, Buchner, Brecht, Kazantzakis, Kambanellis, Mitropoulou, Korres, Anagnostaki, Skourtis and others, along with solo and ensemble pieces culled from his own writings and those of Plato, Cavafy, Makriyannis, Gogol and others. He has received support from the National Endowment for the Arts (USA), the Greek Ministries of Culture, Education, Tourism, and Foreign Affairs, the Onassis, Kostopoulos, Niarchos, Tsakos and Leventis Foundations, IBM, Mobil and Time Warner. He has narrated the PBS television specials Axion Esti, Visions of Greece and Return to the Homeland, has received an Emmy award for producing and narrating the documentary A Light Still Bright on the Greeks of Istanbul, and was featured in the National Geographic /PBS series The Greeks. He has performed the Socrates Now (Plato’s Apology) to hundreds of thousands of audiences worldwide and is scheduled to take it on tour in the USA, Greece, Ireland, Spain and the UK through 2018. As a founding member of the international literary organization Readers of Homer, he has co-produced marathon audience-participation readings-celebrations of the Iliad and Odyssey in Chios and Kos in Greece, the Library of Alexandria, the University of Uruguay in Montevideo, the 92nd Street Y in New York, the Roman Odeon in Troy, the Getty Villa in Malibu and Les Halles de Schaerbeek in Brussels. He is currently developing a theatrical rendition of Plato’s Republic, Euripides’ Bacchae with Maori artists in New Zealand, and two cycles of classical and contemporary works titled Theatre Of Peace and The Stones Speak. He was recently honored by the city of Athens as Ambassador of Hellenism for his lifelong service to Greek arts and letters worldwide.
Loukas N. Skipitaris – Original direction & mask concept
Born and raised in Thessaloniki, he made his Broadway 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 Chekhov, T. Williams, Shaw, Neil Simon, Ira Levin, he directed the world premiere of the oratorio Erotocritos at Lincoln Center for the Greek Theatre of New York. He is the founding and artistic director of Theatron, Inc., a non-profit Greek American performing arts center in NYC.
Theoni Vahliotes Aldredge – Design
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, tens of regional stage productions, 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. A lifelong friend and colleague of EllinikoTheatro, Theoni passed away in 2011 at her home in New York.
Caryn Heilman – Percussion
Caryn 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.