Wednesday, 25 July 2018

philhellene

At the sole initiative—though the effort took a high personal toll—of the attested hellenophile couple Eva and Angelos Sikelianos the first Delphic Festival took place in May of 1927, as Messy Nessy Chic informs, with the aim of promoting universal respect and understanding, hoping that the amphictyonic nature of the site—that is, a cooperative oracle shared among the city states of Greece, could be a harmonising focal point for peace. Activities included tours of the archaeological site, traditional Greek music performed by locals, lectures, athletic games and stage plays. The elaborate affair was funded exclusively by the Sikelianos and they managed another iteration three years later with the backing of the Greek government with costs defrayed with a national lottery.
The Sikelianos however did not see festivals and tourism as an end in themselves and hoped that the attention garnered would transfer to support for the establishment of an education centre based on Delphic ideals. A victim of their own success, backing for anything other than the fêtes was not forthcoming and deflated, Eva decided to return to America to try to renew her theatrical productions there, parting with Angelos on amiable terms. Invited to head the Federal Theatre Project in New York to help out unemployed actors, writers and directors during the Great Depression, Sikelianos produced many Greek tragedies and went on to form a dance company. Learn more and find a whole gallery of images from the Delphic Festivals at the links up top.