Accepted Paper:

Performing networks: 'open theatre' as political action in Athens  


Vassiliki Lalioti (National and Kapodistrian University of Athens)

Paper short abstract:

As a social practice of networking, the 1st Handmade and Recycled Theatre Festival in Athens allowed participants to transform ‘open theatre’ into an energetic political action oriented towards changing social relations in the frame of the economic/political crisis in Greece today.

Paper long abstract:

In 2011 a social movement emerged in Greece as a reaction to the austerity measures that were imposed by the European Union and the IMF. One of the most significant expressions of this movement was the occupation of the Syntagma Square in Athens for more than three months, during which people organized a variety of activities (social, political, artistic). Ethnographic fieldwork showed that this movement was pluralistic, horizontally organized, and open to anyone. Despite the many and highly controversial reactions it caused, the collective experience of "the Square" was transformed into numerous 'real' and 'virtual' networks, which today give citizens access to products, services, work, etc. through social relations that are non-hierarchical and not mediated by monetary transactions. Within this context, many theatrical groups aim at creating an alternative social space in Athens, a space for artistic activity propelled by a need for research, expression and communication and not for economic profit. In this presentation my aim is to explore the "1st Handmade and Recycled Theatre Festival" which took place in Athens in 2013, as a social practice of networking and developing informal and intimate collaborations between groups and individuals who want to promote an 'open theatre'. Through its creative and improvisatory character, 'open theatre' cultivates alternative ways of thinking and performing, thus becoming an energetic political action oriented towards changing social relations in the frame of the economic and political crisis in Greece today.

Panel P005
Networking, collaboration and intimacy in the Mediterranean (Mediterraneanist Network)