Greek Shadow Theatre data file / base

Introductory note

According to the existing studies, the creation and development of the Shadow Theatre repertoire marked an extremely interesting movement. This movement started by the end of the 19th century with the adaptation of Ottoman tradition-based scripts addressing  the Greek audience; it was also significantly enriched during the first half of the 20th century with scripts proposed by the Greek Karagkiosopektes. The introduction of scripts fitted to a new reality, came as a consequence of the deep social changes conducted within the Greek society during the after-war period. Thus, a reduction in the heroic and dramatic repertoire, an adaptation of the traditional for the young audience was observed and, as a result, a decrease in the duration of the plays provided their simpler plots.

The antagonism of the cinema caused an important shock in Shadow Theatre’s themes as well.


However, an important change caused by various circumstances was brought upon the overall image of the Shadow Theatre in the last two decades; which had an impact both in the field of the repertoire and the scenography. The most important ones are:


a) The plurality of events organized by municipalities, cultural centers, and further public or private organisations, consisting of festivals and performances held in event halls and meetings of Karagkiosopektes. Such events give Karagkiosopektes the opportunity to travel, to develop a sense of sportsmanship and to get in touch with other forms of art, as well as to broaden the horizons of the repertoire and to propose novelties in the field of the script. Same happens also with their representations abroad, within the frame of various festivals and events organised by various organisations and university departments.


b) The educational programs (in schools, universities, child workshops, NGOs related to the theatre and so on).


c) The upturn in Karagkiosopektes’ educational level, their desire to be acknowledged as artists and creators, along with their attempt to win the older in age audience back. This fact led to an impressive increase of their repertoire, an introduction of scripts of contemprorary and up to date topics and concerns, such as social, political, economical, ecological and environmental-related and others that had to do with sports, history (local and Greek), local traditions, customs, folklore, universal and Greek literature (ancient and modern), new technologies, plastic arts and more.


Perhaps this is one of the more complicated but at the same time interesting aspects of this program, which aspires to aid future researches of this basic aspect of the Shadow Theatre tradition.

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