YANNIS SIMONIDES, Artistic Director
Yannis Simonides was born in Constantinople of Greek parents and grew up in Athens. He is a Fulbright Scholar and a Yale-trained actor, director, producer, writer and teacher (BA, MFA). He has served as professor and chair of New York University’s Tisch School of the Arts Drama Department; head of radio, film, and television at the Greek Orthodox Archdiocese of North and South America; founding and managing member of the first Pan American interfaith television network (VISN); executive director of Hellenic Public Radio in New York; founder and director of EllinikoTheatro (Greek Theatre Foundation), celebrating 40 years of continuous service in the US, Greece and 20 other countries.
His credits include productions of works by Aeschylus, Euripides, Sophocles, Aristophanes, Shakespeare, Shaw, Buchner, Brecht, Camus, Miller, Simon, Kazantzakis, Theodorakis, Korres, Kambanelis, Skourtis and others, and of his own plays drawn from works by Homer, Plato, Cavafy, Makriyannis and Gogol.
He has received support from the National Endowment for the Arts, the New York State Council on the Arts, the Greek Ministries of Education, Culture and Foreign Affairs, the Prefectures of Athens, Piraeus, North Aegean and the Cyclades, the Onassis, Costopoulos, Niarchos, Tsakos and Leventis Foundations, the Ross, Mouyiaris, Monoyios, Mata, Olayan and Zombanakis Charitable Trusts, Time-Warner, IBM, Mobil, Chase Bank, Atlantic Bank, ETBA, and the Hellenic Literary and Historical Archive, among others.
He narrated the documentaries Axion Esti and Return to the Homeland for the American Public Television Network (PBS), and has been honored with an Emmy Award by the American Academy of Television Arts and Sciences for his documentary A Light Still Bright - The Greek Community of Constantinople and the Patriarchate. He produced and narrated 80 cultural, educational and religious documentaries for the G.O. Archdiocese of America, and he was featured in the PBS and National Geographic television series, The Greeks.
As a founding member of the International Readers of Homer, he has co-presented marathon audience participation readings /celebrations of the Iliad and the Odyssey in Chios and Kos islands; at the Athens Concert Hall; the Library of Alexandria; the Dahesh Museum and the 92Y in New York; the Maria Tsakos Foundation in Montevideo; the Getty Villa in Malibu; in Troy, Delos, Pylos, Malta, Sicily, and Ithaca; as part of the 12 Hours for Greece initiative in Brussels; and at the London Olympics — in Homeric, Modern Greek, Arabic, English, Spanish and dozens of other languages.
He has been honored by the Prefecture of Athens as Ambassador of Hellenism for his lifelong service to Greek arts and letters worldwide, and along with a group of talented young visionaries he founded Greek Theatre International, dedicated to serving as an innovative carrier of cultural diplomacy, expanding the temporal, spatial and social boundaries of Hellenic Theatre.
By summer 2020, his international hit Socrates Now(Plato’s Apology) will complete 500 performances in 22 countries, 11 languages and 150,000 spectators. The piece may be privileged to tour prisons in Greece and the USA, and an interactive podcast is being developed, exploring critical issues of global interest via Socratic thought, approach, and action.
Current works in development include Cavafy,Poet of the City, an audience participatory rendering of general-poet Makriyannis’s Memoirs, and a dramatic adaptation of Plato's Republic.
ELENA P. NTOSA, Producing Director
Elena P. Ntosa specializes in Cultural Productions and Management. With a BA in Cultural Management from Panteion University in Athens, she is continuing her studies in Sustainable Tourism through Cultural Heritage, Society, and Environment (Pantheon-Sorbonne University, Paris 1).
During her studies she has worked as an exhibition assistant at EMST (National Museum of Contemporary Art), at STEGI (Onassis Cultural Centre) and at Nieuw Dakota (Amsterdam); she has also worked as a tour guide in the art exhibition Terrapolis (a collaboration of NEON Cultural Organization of Contemporary Art and the Whitechapel Gallery of London), as an art mediator at Rarity Gallery (Mykonos) and as a curatorial assistant at the Neohellenic Historical Collection of the Benaki Museum. Since 2016 she has been working as a production manager at EllinikoTheatro (Greek Theatre of New York), coordinating performances and educational programmes in Europe, the Middle East, and the Americas.
Since 2017 she has been collaborating with the visual artist Aemilia Papaphilippou, and since 2019 with the actress Marina Kalogirou, as a project coordinator.