New beginning for Cacoyannis

Standing on the third floor of the foundation bearing his name, Michael Cacoyannis was enjoying the afternoon sunshine. Behind him stood tenement housing in Tavros and one could hear the noisy traffic on Pireos Street. Surrounded by people who care and take care of him, Cacoyannis appeared joyful as he escorted journalists around the new building. The tough moments that followed a recent health scare seemed to be behind him. The filmmaker was even more pleased in view of the upcoming official opening of the building that over the last few months has taken shape as the Michael Cacoyannis Foundation, situated a few blocks from the junction with Hamosternas Street and across the road from the School of Public Administration. On March 9, Cacoyiannis is scheduled to welcome two heads of state, namely President of the Greek Republic Karolos Papoulias and President of the Republic of Cyprus Dimitris Christofias, who will together cut the inaugural ribbon. A rich program of events has been organized to complement the official opening, including scenes from Cacoyannis films and works by William Shakespeare directed by the Greek Cypriot. The evening’s highlight is a new take on the signature balcony scene in «Romeo and Juliet,» especially conceived for Tuesday’s opening, which will feature young actors Katerina Geronikolou and Fotis Karalis. At the end of the inaugural activities, guests will also hear well-known tunes and new songs based on Cacoyannis’s lyrics, all set to music by Alkis Kollias. While the director said he was eagerly awaiting hearing his lyrics set to music, he noted that the new cultural center’s character will take shape according to the artists entrusted to present their work there. The guided tour earlier this week was undertaken by the venue’s architects, Vassilis and Dimitris Sgoutas. The architects talked about the particularities of the neighborhood and the basic principles of the architectural study (how the building’s style varied from from the general construction on Pireos Street in order to encompass an in-between area of a semi-public character and a three-story central atrium). The foundation’s new cultural center reinforces the cultural aspect of Pireos Street, given that the Athens Festival’s Pireos 260 venue and the Athens School of Fine Arts are also situated in the vicinity. The foundation’s premises span four floors and include an amphitheater with a capacity of 330 seats, a cinema with 120 seats, a «black box» hall for a variety of uses that seats 68, an exhibition hall, two cafe-bars, an outdoor and an indoor restaurant as well as a shop. While entrance to Tuesday’s inauguration is by invitation only (events start at 7 p.m.), for those wishing to visit the new premises and take a look at the costume and photography exhibition on the director’s oeuvre, the foundation will be open to the public from 3 p.m. onward. Michael Cacoyiannis Foundation, Piraeus 206, Tavros, tel 210.341.8550. For more information, visit

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