Charity events and other means of circumventing the obstacles

Artists who cannot appear on their own merit at the Herod Atticus Theater may seek alternative ways to do so. Benefit concerts for charity are one possibility. They are hard to refuse when the reason is serious, but how much of the proceeds go to the stated purpose? Around 10 percent, say KAS members. The criteria for such concerts are economic, explained Nikos Stampolidis, archaeologist and director of the Museum of Cycladic Art. «The criterion is not always the quality of the artist, but who will bring in the most money.» In most cases, proceeds do not exceed 50,000-60,000 euros, much less than the charity organizations could get from sponsors. Balance needed In 2010, the theater will undergo conservation work. From May to July it will be used only for events funded by the Culture Ministry, and there will be no performances from August to October. Work must begin before the autumn rains. The studies are ready, budgeted at 2 million euros, for work on the eastern entrance and seating. It would help if the monument was completely closed for the work, but that is unlikely. There have been too many concessions and favors in the past, coupled with the lack of firm decisions. That was how 30 kilos of chewing gum accumulated and trash blocked the drains, flooding the theater a few years ago. What is needed from the Culture Ministry is balance, decisions that take both the monument and the public into account. We don’t need more concerts by popular singers or productions that have already done the rounds of municipal festivals and wound up at the Herod Atticus to improve their box office receipts. What we could do with is a few events with character by performers who have not appeared there recently.