The Cyprus Theatre Organisation’s (THOC) performance of Hippolytus by Euripides at ancient Salamis in the north at the weekend was a huge success and was attended by over 3,000 people, organisers told the Cyprus News Agency.
Hippolytus was performed on Friday night in Greek, with English and Turkish subtitles. It was organised in collaboration with the Famagusta Walled City Association (MASDER) and was under the auspices of the Bi-communal Technical Committee on Culture.
The performance was embraced by both Greek Cypriots and Turkish Cypriots who sent a message of peace, according to thos who organised and supported the event, which had come under fire from some quarters.
The initial 3,000 tickets were sold out but many people arrived on spec, bringing the total closer to 3,500.
THOC chairman Yiannis Toumazis told CNA the Hippolytus performance proved that culture has the power and the spirit to create a new chapter in the history of Cyprus.
“It was an important night for THOC, which welcomed the audience to the ancient theatre of Salamis after 42 years… the theatre was overcrowded… all the available spaces, even the steps of the ancient theatre, were occupied by people,” he said.
“It was a fantastic performance.” he added, that had been directed by Neoclis Neocleous. From the feedback, he said, it appeared the audience was appreciative.
“Culture is the main weapon in our quiver as a European country in a very troubled region of southeastern Mediterranean and we must develop and exploit this weapon,” he said.
The initiative Famagusta Our City – an NGO comprising Greek Cypriots and Turkish Cypriots – and MASDER, a Turkish Cypriot NGO supported the performance saying it sent a message of peace.
Pavlos Iacovou, the President of the Initiative told CNA: “For us who believe in the reunification of our country, culture is a way to unite people.”
Audience numbers had exceeded their expectations, Serdar Atai, coordinator of the Turkish Cypriot NGO MASDER Famagusta said in statements to CNA.
He estimated that there were around 2,800 Greek Cypriots and about 700 Turkish Cypriots. “It was a very nice evening. Together we made a journey to our roots, to our common cultural heritage”. “It was a very emotional night, really we all felt very nostalgic,” he said.
Hippolytus was the second event launched by the Technical Committee for Culture after the first musical event which took place at Othello Tower in Famagusta in July and was attended by President Nicos Anastasiades and Turkish Cypriot leader Mustafa Akinci.