Theatre as solidarity

We ask no money for our performances. We ask for the public to contribute with food products with extended shelf life to be offered to Houses which take care of our fellow men.’

Sotiris Hatzakis, 28 February 2012

This Spring, actors of the National Theatre of Northern Greece (NTNG) in Thessaloniki will present a series of 20th century plays under the title ‘Social Theatre Shop‘: Pinter, Albee, Genet and a 1946 play about wartime occupation by Alekos Sakellarios. What makes this event unusual is that tickets for the six week season will be available in exchange for food, which will be given to local charities for distribution to those hid hardest by the economic crisis.

My father spent part of the war in occupied Thessaloniki, hungry and afraid. Greece’s present situation should not be compared with those years, but hunger and fear are evils in whatever context, at whatever time. Greece faces the worst collapse in living standards the EU has ever seen, and the poorest suffer most. Thankfully, there are increasing reports of humanitarian action as Greeks rally to support each other.

The imaginative solidarity of the NTNG actors is a small but inspiring symbol of what may be asked of us all, including the cultural sector, in changed times.