CULTURE

Keeping the faith in Elefsina

The Aeschylia is not just a festival born out of a broader attempt to upgrade the area of Elefsina or to restore the city’s former character. The work that the people behind the festival have put in and the municipality’s concerted efforts have shown that, more than anything else, this cultural event is the genuine expression of the faith that the inhabitants of Elefsina have in a better future. Their truly moving love for this festival has transformed it into a seminal event for the cultural life of Athens during the summer season. The festival’s quality program begins this year on August 22 and runs through the beginning of October. For the festival’s fourth consecutive year, the former Olive Oil Mill – a property that the National Bank has granted to the festival – is the venue that hosts most events. According to the mayor of Elefsina, Georgios Abatzoglou, the venue sums up the entire history of Elefsina both because of its proximity to the city’s archaeological site and the fact that it is a monument that captures Elefsina’s recent industrial past. This year, the National Center of Theater and Music have added the venue to their Art Locus program which focuses on the cultural development of the Greek provinces. The former Olive Oil Mill is one of five cultural venues that were chosen from the entire country for the Art Locus program. The venue will begin its cultural program with a series of theater and dance performances scheduled for this Saturday and Sunday. Admission is free. This year’s Aeschylia includes 10 theater performances (among them «The Persians» by the National Theater, «The Trojan Women» by the National Theater of Northern Greece and «Don Quixote» by the Municipal Regional Theater of Kozani), five concerts (featuring Manolis Mitsias, Foivos Delivorias, Monika and Nikos Xydakis together with Nana Binopoulou and Tania Tsanaklidiou, who will appear with Martha Frintzila), a one-day conference on the subject of «Acting in Ancient Greek Drama» and three days of screenings of documentaries on ecology. One highlight is the project by artist Leda Papaconstantinou. In a vast area of 5,000 square meters (occupying the disused grounds of the Olive Oil Mill), the artist will be using video, audiovisuals and constructions to evoke the ancient myth of Demeter and Persephone. For more information, contact the Municipality of Elefsina at 210.553.7304 or 210.554.8997 or visit www.aisxylia.gr.