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THE BACCHAE by Euripides

  • Friday, August 9
    Curium Ancient Theatre
  • Saturday, August 10
    Curium Ancient Theatre
  • Performances start at:
    Please arrive at the theatre before 20:00

Thanos Papakonstantinou directs the second summer production of the National Theatre of Greece, Euripides’ The Bacchae, with a remarkable cast of artists.

When the god Dionysus arrives in Thebes, King Pentheus refuses to acknowledge that his first cousin is a god and bans the new religion. His defiance arouses the wrath of the god, who, in a tragic reversal of persecutor and persecuted, leads Pentheus to destruction at the hands of his own mother.

This Euripidean tragedy is marked by strict consistency of form and enormous inner strength, while simultaneously revealing the poet’s keen interest in mysticism and ecstasy. The tragedy’s central dramatic themes are the potentialities of the soul, human virtue, self-consciousness, prudence and delusion, the rational and the irrational, all of which emerge from the antithesis between man and God, the same antithesis from which the drama’s tragic conflict arises.

“Euripides writes the Bacchae at the end of the 5th century BC and his lifetime. There, he brings back to the stage the god Dionysus, the founder of the genre. The god of theatre, otherness, dismemberment and fusion, bliss and destruction, sets up a play that Euripides intended to end with a dismembered body that no one collects”.

  • Duration: 120 minutes

Giorgos Heimonas
Thanos Papakonstantinou
Ioanna Remediaki
Set/Costume design:
Niki Psychogiou
Original music:
Dimitris Skyllas
Nadi Gogoulou
Lighting design:
Christina Thanasoula
Musical coaching:
Melina Paionidou, Dimitris Skyllas
Erie Kyrgia
Assistant to the director:
Fanis Sakellariou
2nd Assistant to the director:
Pantelis Bakatselos
Assistant to the set designer:
Giannis Setzas
2nd Assistant to the set designer:
Zoe Kelesi
Assistant to the costume designer:
Penelope Hansen
Assistant to the lighting designer:
Ifigeneia Gianniou
Hair design:
Konstantinos Koliousis
Make-up design:
Olga Faleichyk
Construction of Pentheus’ head: 
Roger Fischer 


Dionysus: Konstantinos Avarikiotis
Tiresias: Marianna Dimitriou
Agave: Alexia Kaltsiki
Cadmus: Themis Panou
Pentheus: Argyris Pandazaras
Messengers: Giannis Koravos, Dionysis Pifeas, Fotis Stratigos


Margarita Alexiadi,
Eirini Boudali,
Chrissianna Karameri,
Eleni Koutsioumpa,
Maria Konstanta,
Kleopatra Markou,
Eleni Moleski,
Georgina Paleothodorou,
Iokasti-Agave Papanikolaou,
Thaleia Stamatelou,
Danae Tikou,
Stellina Vogiatzi


Thodoris Vazakas,
Maria Deli,
Alexandros Ioannou,
Yiannis Kaikis

Photos by © Elina Giounanli



Euripides composes the Bacchae at the dawn of both the fifth century BC and his own life. This is where he puts Dionysus, the founder of the genre, back on the stage. The god of theatre, otherness, dismemberment and fusion, bliss and destruction, sets up a play that Euripides intended to end with a dismembered body that no one collects.

If what becomes dismembered on stage is openness to otherness, does it mean that our prospect of opening up to the Other, our own and the world’s –through some kind of initiation, a collective act–, has been lost? Will our pieces never be connected again? Are we doomed, like Pentheus, to live sequestered in our well-fortified individuality, for otherwise we will be dismembered? Are there no longer any bridges that would unite us with one another, with the Other, with the otherness of our feelings, our ideas, our innermost thoughts, with the absurd within us, with the absurdity of the world?

Only inside our skin is there safety. Whatever is either completely outside us, or completely inside us, will forever remain alien, untouchable, unspeakable, unknown, and for this reason will be met with violence. Is violence the only language we can understand? A violence shut, impenetrable, and absolute, a violence which cannot be susceptible to any kind of initiation that would unlock it, understand it, endure it.

The barrage of internet images, natural disasters, bombings, mutilated bodies, and dead children in the media, soulless and dead selfies, uncontrolled streams of data, people, products –can we no longer tolerate spirituality, transcendence, upliftment, because the only god we can understand is the god of the Old Testament, the vengeful god, the punitive god? Is this the one we deserve?

Or is the dismembered body also a puzzle that can be filled in, a construct showing us its parts, a spectacle? And is it up to us, the audience, whether and how we should assemble it?

– Thanos Papakonstantinou


Greece’s first state theatre company was the Royal Theatre, which was founded in 1901 and operated until 1908. It was re-established under the name “National Theatre” in 1930 and opened for the public in March 1932. The National Theatre of Greece (NTG), during its 90 years of existence, has succeeded in creating a powerful theatrical tradition. The NTG Drama School was founded in 1930 and has since operated in tandem with the NTG.

The repertoire of the National Theatre aims at polyphony, promoting a dialogue between tradition, present and future. The revival of Ancient Greek Drama remains a key area of interest for the National Theatre in an effort to combine respect for tradition with new trends. In 1938 the National Theatre of Greece performed its first open-air production of ancient drama, Sophocles’ Electra; the first performance after centuries at the Ancient Theatre of Epidaurus. In 1955 the NTG established the Festival of Epidaurus.

Today, there are six venues in the National Theatre in Ziller Building (2), in Rex Theatre (3) and the School of Athens – Irene Papas (open-air venue). The National Theatre is always open to collaborations with theatres and artists – tours, joint productions with major theatres abroad, participation in international festivals, educational programs, and invitations to important contemporary artists; these are all part of the effort to broaden an already established network. The NTG was a member of the European Theatre’s Union (2009-2020). Since 2022, the NTG is a member of the European Theatre Convention.

The Artistic Director of the National Theatre of Greece is the director Yannis Moschos.