CULTURE

Aeschylia: Attica’s longest-standing festival

It?s the longest-standing cultural festival organized by an Attica municipality. Originally established in 1975, the Aeschylia Festival in Elefsina, western Attica, gained a new lease on life in 2003 through promoting of local industrial sites by using them as venues.

In this way, the town?s Palaio Elaiourgeio, a former soap factory, gradually turned into a September hot-spot for Athenians, who now go there to attend ancient drama and contemporary theater performances and see exhibitions by leading visual artists. Elefsina, after all, has a before-and-after quality to it, as prior to performances visitors can visit one of the country?s top archaeological sites, Eleusis.

The events program for this year?s festival was recently unveiled to members of the press by a group of Elefsina officials led by Mayor Giorgos Tsoukalas. The festival operates in the absence of an artistic director, with various local artists and other professionals contributing to the festival?s planning.

Meanwhile, whereas the Aeschylia?s emblematic Palaio Elaiourgeio used to be conceded annually by the National Bank of Greece for the duration of the festival, Mayor Tsoukalas announced that 50 percent of the venue is now the property of the municipality, while negotiations are under way with the Greek lender for a land exchange project.

The first cycle of the festival?s cultural program ends on August 3. With a number of events featuring a very reasonable 5-euro entry fee or even free admission, the festival has become a platform for new talent, especially as far as theater is concerned. The second cycle begins on August 26 and ends on September 30.

While theater takes a leading role, with over 25 stage productions, Aeschylia 2012 also presents two art exhibitions. Works by Stefanos Tsivopoulos, who splits his time between Greece and the Netherlands, are going on display from September 1 to October 14 under the title ?The Future Starts Here,? while another show, to be hosted at the municipality?s cultural center, will showcase artists whose works have previously gone on display at the summer festival.

For more information, go to www.aisxylia.gr.