As part of the annual Athens and Epidaurus Festival, the Epidaurus theatres come alive with the works of great Greek playwrights such as Aeschylus, Euripides, Sophocles and more. These ancient sites welcome more than 90,000 theatre-goers each year, across eight weekends in summer and is an absolute highlight to experience a midsummer production at these iconic venues.
The famous ancient theatre of Epidaurus was constructed in the late 4th century BC, around the time when Athens was flourishing in art, philosophy, science, and of course theatre, and can seat more than 12,000 spectators. It is regarded as the best-preserved theatre in Greece and famous for its exemplary acoustics.
The full 2020 festival programme for the ancient theatre of Epidaurus is yet to be announced. The programme of events is likely to be published by February 2020 and tickets sales for these events generally take place a month or so after the programme has been announced. Last year’s Epidaurus theatre programme began in mid-June and continued through until mid-August. The theatre performances take place every Friday and Saturday evening at 9pm for ten consecutive weeks.
Audiences can expect world-class international performers, visiting directors and co-productions with Greek theatre companies performing famous ancient Greek plays. The performances are generally performed in Greek and are subtitled in English to cater to an international audience.
Why Athens offers a newsletter service free of charge whereby we will inform you when the 2020 Athens & Epidaurus Festival programme is announced and also when tickets go on sale for your favourite events.
What you missed during the 2019 ancient Epidaurus theatre programme
The theatre programme at Ancient Epidaurus for 2019 welcomed international performers and co-productions with Greek theatre companies, bringing an even richer dimension and perspective to this summer presentation of ancient Greek theatre.
Renowned American theatre director and visual artist, Robert Wilson kicked off the festival programme with his latest production of Oedipus by Sophocles, which has toured so far in Pompeii and Vicenza. It marked Wilson’s Epidaurus debut, with Lydia Koniordou joining the cast.
Kathryn Hunter, the acclaimed USA-born British-Greek actress, is considered among the best theatrical performers today. She portrayed the title role in Prometheus Bound. Hunter, is heralded for performing male roles, having portrayed Richard III at the Globe in 2003 to much critical acclaim. She was awarded an Olivier in 1991 for her role The Visit by Friedrich Durrenmatt and is a founding member of Théâtre de Complicite.
ANCIENT EPIDAURUS THEATRE PROGRAMME IN BRIEF
The theatre works listed are performed in Greek with English subtitles
June 21 & 22 2019 – LIFE & TIMES of OEDIPUS
The iconic story of Oedipus comes alive in Robert Wilson’s series of breathtakingly, distinctive tableau vivant. See more information about the show here
June 28 & 29 2019 – ORESTEIA by Aeschylus
A bold, original concept by the National Theatre of Greece: Oresteia, the only extant ancient drama trilogy is presented in a single performance by three directors in their Epidaurus debut. See more information about the show here
July 5 & 6 2019 – THE SUPPLIANTS by Euripides
Two national theatres, the National Theatre of Greece and Cyprus Theatre Organisation, join forces to produce an iconic play: a tragedy about war and the dead, existential dread, dignity, faith and resilience. See more information about the show here
July 12 & 13 2019 – OEDIPUS REX by Sophocles
Sophocles’ masterpiece and arguably the ancient Greek tragedy par excellence begins with a mystery. See more information about the show here
July 19 & 20 2019 – IPHIGENIA IN AULIS by Euripides
The tragedy focuses on the fateful decision of Agamemnon, commander of the Greek forces, to sacrifice his daughter, Iphigenia. See more information about the show here
July 26 & 27 2019 – ELECTRA & ORESTES by Euripides
The story of Electra and Orestes and more specifically how the two siblings reunite and make a pact to take revenge against their mother, Clytemnestra and her lover, Aegisthus. See more information about the show here
August 2 & 3 2019 – THE CLOUDS by Aristophanes
Aristophanes’ masterful comedy was first presented at the Great Dionysia in 423 BC and attacks Socrates’ teachings and the philosophical ideas of the time. See more information about the show here
August 9 & 10 2019 – PROMETHEUS BOUND by Aeschylus
With Kathryn Hunter as Prometheus. Hunter, the acclaimed USA-born British-Greek actress, is heralded for performing male roles, having portrayed Richard III at the Globe in 2003 to much critical acclaim. See more information about the show here
LITTLE THEATRE OF EPIDAURUS PROGRAMME IN BRIEF
June 22 2019 – Film Screening – VERTIGO (1958) by Alfred Hithcock | Entry to this event is free of charge, on a first come basis
July 5 & 6 2019 – THEOGONY by Hesiod | Tickets available online here for this performance
July 12 & 13 2019 – KAOS by the Griffin Dance Company | Tickets available online here for this performance
July 19 & 20 2019 – DAPHNIS + CHLOE by Longus | Tickets available online here for this performance
July 26 & 27 2019 – PHÈDRE by Racine | Tickets available online here for this performance
August 2 & 3 2019 – DANAIDS by Andreas Kalvos | Tickets available online here for this performance
Epidaurus theatre is located within the archaeological site of the Sanctuary of Asklepios in Palea Epidaurus, in the region of Argolis and is a two hour drive from Athens. Why Athens offers special return transfers to the site on the days when performances are showing.
See the full Athens and Epidaurus Festival programme here.
Find information here on how to get to Epidaurus for the performances.
Disclaimer: We make every attempt to ensure information about events are accurate and obtained from reliable sources. Why Athens is neither the producer nor ticketing agent of any performances listed and is therefore not responsible for the outcomes of performances including if they appear contrary to how the production has been originally promoted or represented. See our editorial policy for further information.