“And you put poison in his wine?” “Well we put it in wine because it’s less noticeable. When it’s in tea, it has a distinct odor…”
Arsenic and Old Lace by Joseph Kesserling. Theatre Society of Andros.

“Hell is empty and all the devils are here.”
The Tempest, Shakespeare Theatre Society of Samos.

“Dear Listeners, … and according to the Scotland Yard the crime took place at 24 Culver street, Paddington…”
The Mouse Trap by Agatha Christie Theatre Group of Naoussa, Paros.

of the 29th Meeting
of the Aegean Amateur
Theatre Groups

Interview: Maro Voulgari | Photos: Dimitris Vamvakousis

Last year was a notable one for Paros’ cultural life. It was the first time the island hosted the Meeting of the Aegean Theatre Groups with great success and a high interest from the public. It gave us beautiful moments and a multitude of theatric recollections. So, let’s retrace this outstanding event and wish that it soon happens again.

Shakespeare said that “all the world’s a stage and all the men and women merely players; they have their exits and their entrances…”. The Aegean amateur players turned the entire island into a stage: 27 dramatic groups from 15 islands gave performances, bringing with them their stage managers and their sceneries from early to mid-October last year. The Meeting was the result of multiple cooperation: The Federation of the Aegean Dramatic Groups, the Municipality of Paros, the S. Aegean region, the Secretariat General for the Aegean and Island Policy, the Municipal Society for Paros’ Cultural Development, the Paros Park and, mainly, the theatre groups which worked hard to prepare their productions and the enthusiastic audiences which filled the halls and rapturously acclaimed their efforts.
With a 30-year presence in the Aegean Archipelago, the Institution appears to gain fresh inspiration from the cultural life of each island and advances confidently to a future which will surely give us many more stage pleasures.
The auditorium of the Naoussa Primary school, the Nereas Hall- also at Naoussa- the hall of the “Music and Dance Naoussa” group and the brand new and impressive multipurpose hall of the Vocational School at Parikia which hosted the events, also made their own excellent impression.

How did this institution start and what is its history till the time it sailed to our island?
“It all began with the Theatre Group of Samos” we are told by Mrs. Maria Veneti, President of the Aegean Amateur Theatre Federation. “Our first performance was with the play Laurels and Oleanders, in 1985.The Federation -I have been its president since 2006- started with some learning programs. The participating groups expressed the wish to meet again and organize a festival, so all of us visited the Aegean Ministry and we had a very positive response. Our first theatre meeting took place in the autumn of 1988 and in the coming years participations went up. Our next step was to set up a Federation, which was a wise move because difficult days came and everything could easily fall apart. With the years, we accumulated experience by taking over the organization of the event and sustaining the institution in the recent crisis years. Most theatre teams start as groups of friends which gradually attract new members. A theatre group has much work to do both inwards and outwards.
It requires mutual respect, cooperation and a very good handling of one’s ego. The theatre cannot but work collectively.

It’s touching how Paros welcomed us this year, how well organized its hospitality was and how much the volunteers helped us. We envisage a time when we shall unite with the mainland and the amateur groups will be touring in other Greek regions as well. The theatre creates groups and the groups create theatre. On our 30th anniversary this year, we feel satisfied and proud and we are going ahead full sail”.

Summer 2018