Home News & Interviews ASTERIOS PELTEKIS


by Hello From Greece

Actor, director, theatrologist and PhD candidate in cultural management at the Ionian University, Asterios Peltekis is the Artistic Director of the National Theater of Northern Greece, who gave us a very interesting interview for the online magazine hellofromgreece.

A man of action just as much as of … acting words on stage, he expects and, as it has been proven, he succeeds in expanding the role of the National Theater of Northern Greece more and more by successfully opening it to an ever larger audience. “It is something that is achieved by hard work and method” as he himself says. And the result? The NTNG’s plays are always performed to the theatre’s full capacity.

Between directing and acting, as well as traveling to other cities with his co-workers, all talented actors, presenting theatrical performances that were applauded in Thessaloniki, he is also preparing his doctoral thesis, while writing a book on the acting method that he himself has been teaching in drama schools for fifteen years.

NTNG: It’s historical value is priceless. Can you please tell us about its most important moments?

First of all, the founding thereof. Also, all the great people who worked both at administrative and artistic level. Personalities such as Karantinos, Theotokis, Volanakis, Evangelatos, Papavasiliou and other important people of letters and the arts. An important moment was also the entry into the Union of European Theatres at a time when important theatre organizations and artists from all over Europe were mediating. But the most important moments are when it flourishes through important productions and actions and this is reflected in the love and the massive attendance of the people in the theatres of NTNG.

As an artistic director, in what ways do you attempt its openness?

With the best possible form of cooperation both at the level of artists and at the level of organizations. With the re-participation of the organization in the Union of Theatres of Europe, with the effort to create a cultural and cultural bridge of the Balkan states, the import and export of productions and actions in the wider Greek territory and abroad when the possibility arises. With digitizing archive material programs for remote access to our theatre material, with actions aimed at inclusion and with constant contact and communication with the world and new trends at all levels.

Which major playwrights did you present? Old and modern and why?

There have been many and they vary through a pluralistic program, which includes classic authors and works from the world repertoire with an emphasis on young Greek authors, as always in ancient drama, but also in documentary theater through a series of productions with young Greek creators who excel in the genre . The selection of the works was made in agreement with the creative artists in relation to the general thematic unit that governs the current artistic direction in a substantial process of exchange of views with the important artistic collaborators but also in relation to the individual subjects that are put up for investigation and reflection in each period. This is how we have had both Schiller, Brecht and Goldoni as well as Euripides, Aristophanes, Anagnostakis, Veltsos, Tsinikoris, Fezollari, etc.

Which of the famous Greek and European directors left their mark?

From Melody Mouret and Guy Cassiers, to Ostermayer and Peter Brook; and in collaboration with the “Dimitria” festival we have Kakleas, Karatzas, Houvardas and Chiotis as well as other important creators.

In what ways is the theatre stage connected to tourism? Open theatres? Performances of works by the great tragic poets? Works by famous playwrights?

In all ways it could be connected and it is an area that still has a long way to go before the communication of theatre art with tourism as a whole can be considered successful. Cultural tourism is a field which, in my opinion, should be much higher on our agenda. A relevant participation and effort to attract is done mainly in the ancient and in general in the open theatres, where there are usually surtitles in the English language mainly in the international big festivals. But there is a lot of effort that needs to be done to attract tourism to the closed theatres as well; on the one hand with the “weekend tourism” focusing on the origin and preferences of the majority of visitors – tourists in each region and theatre. Also, in relation to the NTNG, of great interest are the cruise liners that visit the port of Thessaloniki for more than two nights, something that did not happen until recently, which paves the way for actions aimed at the specific public either by attracting them to the halls or going on cruise ship or port premises with multilingual or English productions or in any convenient way that serves the needs of such an endeavour.

Do Theatre Festivals as an institution have a future? What conditions can help?

Clearly they do; we all that are involved in the theatre as such need to ensure and support it so that it continues to exist, to update it, to increase its openness and to enrich it by adding all the new trends but always keeping its solid values and foundations.

What are the goals of traveling theatres within Greece and abroad? Which show would you like to travel with?

The wealth of culture and this great cultural genre that was born in our country and bequeathed us these great things at all levels and in all ages, but also the necessity of communication, entertainment and spiritual upliftment through ideas, of the ideals and important humanistic elements by which they are governed, in connection with the founding law and purpose of most theatre organizations it is certainly useful to travel both within the country and abroad in an effort to transmit all these important components.
I wish we could tour with all our productions, I hope that will happen at some point.

Which play would you stage in Scandinavia? What would be the challenge for you?

I would try something classic from the drama of any major period. Certainly classic and of course this would be done after a tour of today’s Scandinavia, studying its daily life and history but also based on the actors and artistic collaborators. I would try to listen to the needs of the local community and according to them I would try to position myself artistically with a project that would be selected through the above process.

What are your future plans?

To continue the successful course of the NTNG, to develop it and make it even more attractive to the public, to enrich the drama school with other new subjects of learning and with new teachers and teaching methods, to update the sustainability in the way of managing all sectors, and finally I hope that with the help of the Region of Central Macedonia we will be able, through the proper exploitation of European programs, to finance the necessity of restoring and replacing a large part of the logistical equipment, the stages, the facilities and the rest of the equipment of the theatre which unfortunately has reach its limit.

How universal is the theatre?

Almost as universal as life itself. The need that led to the establishment of the theatre in that unique period in the 5th century BC in Athens of democracy, philosophy and the arts, which led to the need of this unique kind that spoke to the heart and the intellect of the people, giving them the opportunity through the transition to the myth, to know what in a very short time led human existence from “muscle man ” (Ajax) to “brain-man” (Odysseus).

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