An important institution, the second major festival in the country after Epidaurus Festival, Philippi Festival makes its first appearance in 1957, at the Ancient Theater of Philippi.
In 1961, the newly founded State Theatre of Northern Greece, premiered with its inaugural performance at the ancient theater of Philippi, thus connecting its course with the festival and remaining its organizer until 1983. From 1984 onwards and for the next 25 years, the Municipality of Kavala and the Municipal Regional Theatre (DIPETHE) of Kavala held the organization of the festival. Performances of the National Theater, the State Theater of Northern Greece, Municipal Regional Theaters, as well as free theater productions are hosted.
In 2009 the Municipality of Kavala invited Thodoris Gonis to take over the artistic direction of the festival. Since then, it acquires a duration of two months (July and August) and apart from hosting performances/events the festival includes its own productions as well involving theater, music, modern dance and other performances. The festival has from now on its own character.
The Ancient Theatre of Philippi ceases to be the sole venue for the festival and other places in the city of Kavala start to host activities and events, such as the Fortress, the Imaret, the Old Music, the Mohammed Ali Family Gardens, schools, temples, cafes and also places around the archaeological site of Philippi as the mud baths of Krinides.
The stigma of this artistic proposal, which aims to upgrade the status of the festival to an institution of European level, is detected not only in the ruins of the ancient and byzantine city of Philippi, but also in the city of Kavala, which was a particularly robust city of tobacco trade and shipping in the past and still retain scattered memories of this vibrant culture nowadays.
The main goal of the Philippi Festival is not only to produce beautiful performances, but to have its own unique character, different every year, to have a local sense and to evolve, without losing its own roots and tradition.
Theatrical performances, children’s plays, concerts, readings, photo and art exhibitions, dance performances, performances, lectures, screenings, books presentations, workshops.
Experiential and interactive activities
We do not organize any experiential / interactive activities, nor do we indent in the immediate future (especially during the pandemic) to have any. The only action that might be included in this category is the “Ancient Drama Workshop”, where its rehearsals in normal conditions (not the last two years) are open to the public, so it operates in an educational way (instead of a seminar / work demonstration).
For several years now, Philippi Festival has emerged as one of the most productive festivals in the country, with its own “local culture”, as every year it orders new texts from authors on a specific theme, thus highlighting the work of great Greek writers through a series of events by inviting actors, dancers, musicians, academics and artists to work on it. Thus, the Festival brings back into our lives poets who may not have found the place they deserve in Greek literature. Moreover, it helps and promotes young artists, without any restriction on what they will present. The culmination of the festival’s innovative activities is the “Ancient Drama Workshop”, a camp held in the area of Krinides (next to the Ancient Theater of Philippi), where groups of artists stay for a few weeks and work on ancient drama, presenting the result of their work at public either at the Ancient Theatre of Philippi, or at some other place of the wider archeological site. The groups draw their subject from works of their choice or themes of ancient drama that they compose themselves from the beginning, with complete freedom in approach and presentation and with rehearsals open to the local community. In many cases, productions of the Philippi Festival or texts written especially for the festival have been presented in other parts of Greece or abroad - which is one of the main goals of this activity.
Main features and services that attract public
The Philippi Festival includes a variety of artistic events, from major productions of ancient drama at the Ancient Theater of Philippi, concerts, painting and photography exhibitions, dance-theater performances as well as experimental performances and readings in unexpected corners of the city of Kavala.
Key partners and supporters
The main source of funding for the Philippi Festival is the Municipality of Kavala. The Ministry of Culture mainly finances the “Ancient Drama Workshop” which is one of the main activities of the Philippi Festival in recent years. In addition, hotels of Kavala and Krinides participate as sponsors of the events by offering either special prices to the host groups, or free facilities to partners of the festival. There are also a lot of media sponsors.
Participants, local community and customer segment
The events of the Festival are attended every year by a wide range of spectators from the local community, theatrical audience from Kavala, Drama, Serres and Xanthi, but also tourists, Greeks and foreigners mainly the great performances held in the Ancient Theater of Philippi.
Communication and dissemination channels
The public can contact for any question or comment on the facebook page maintained by the Festival (https://www.facebook.com/festivalphilippon/) as well as on instagram (philippi festival), by e-mail through the official website (www.philippi-festival.gr) and by phone at 2510-620566, as well as the telephones of DIPETHE Kavala during office hours (2510-220876, 2510-220877). Moreover the Festival is promoted through national and local media.
Specific elements and features
Managerial and organizational specifics
We do not have a specific organization and management model.
The access to the Ancient Theater of Philippi is made by car, for this reason there is a large parking space, so that all spectators are served. There is special care for the elderly or people with disabilities, as a ramp has been created for easier access from the entrance to the theater orchestra. Also, there are always volunteers in the area to facilitate and guide people with mobility problems.
Liaison with other activities and events of the Black Sea Basin region
Unfortunately not to the extent we would like, except for a few cases, such as the hosting of the National Opera and Ballet of Bulgaria at the Philippi Festival in 2013.
Image Sources: Philippi Festival, https://www.facebook.com/philippifestival/
The events of the Festival take place in different locations in and around the city of Kavala, in the Regional Unit of Kavala, namely:
- the Ancient Theatre of Philippi, which is built in the mid-4th B.C. and is one of the earliest stone open air theaters in Greece;
- the Fortress of Kavala, that is the acropolis that dominates the old settlement of the city;
- the Mohammed Ali Family Gardens, that is the garden of a mansion, located in the traditional settlement of Kavala, which is one of the most brilliant surviving examples of Ottoman architecture of the late 18th century in Greece and currently operates as a museum;
- the Imaret, that is a 19th century Ottoman building complex offered by Mohammed Ali that currently now operates as a monument-hotel;
- the Halil Bey Mosque, which was probably built at the beginning of the 16th c. and after the integration of the area to Greece hosted a Girls’ School and then the Municipal Philharmonic Orchestra thus acquiring the name “Mosque of Music”, which explains the fact that is commonly known as the “Old Music”;
- the Carnagio in the Port of Kavala;
- the Courtyard of the 7th Primary School of Kavala-Faros;
- the Cray Plot;
- and the open-air cinema “Zefiros”.
The festival takes place in July and August and lasts 40-60 days.
Organizer and contact information
Municipal and Regional Theatre (DIPETHE) of Kavala,
Telephone number: 2510-220876, 2510-220877,