The Artistic Program of the “European Capital of Culture – Patras 2006”, under the title “Culture; our Common Language”, has noted significant success. The Artistic Program has been divided into 8 Themed Periods, each one associated with the cultural background of the city and at the same time providing the basis for European cultural co-operation. The Artistic Program of “Patras 2006” constitutes of 151 events.
The Themed Periods of the “Patras 2006” Artistic Program were:
The European Capital of Culture inaugurated its celebrations in Patras with a series of events, taking place within the first week of January and lasting for a week’s period. Among others, the opening included the inauguration of the exhibition “Leonardo Da Vinci; Scientist, Inventor, Artist”, a concert by the Symphony Orchestra of Patras and a great cinema tribute.
The fact that the Carnival has been the city’s flagship over the last 170 years, involving the overwhelming majority of citizens, was used as a unique tool in order to promote the city internationally. The City’s Carnival was enriched with cultural events of high-quality and international reputation. Thus, Patras 2006 paved the way to the reinforcement of the Carnival’s international profile while – at the same time – provided the framework for the close co-operation with some of the most significant local cultural organisations of the city.
Poetry and Music
The Themed Period “Poetry and Music” created the link between the most prominent artists of the city and acclaimed personalities from both Greece and abroad. It mainly consisted of events where music was associated to poetry, as in Greece there is a great tradition of setting poetry into music.
Contemporary Approaches to Ancient Drama
During the summer period a platform for international debate was created, providing Greek and international artists the chance to explore the significance of ancient drama in today’s world and offering the public experimental and innovative performances. The focus was set on the work of the younger generation.
Major events, laying emphasis on performing arts, with the participation of distinguished artists and ensembles, were held during the “Travelling” days. The goal was achieved, namely a wide audience was attracted while the basis was set and the first steps were made in order to promote co-operation and creative exchange between artists from different countries and cultural backgrounds. Part of this programme toured in a wider region of Achaia and the neighbouring prefectures.
Religion and Art
Focusing on the “first-called” apostle, St. Andrew, who lived and martyred in Patras, this Themed Period explored the ecumenical dimension of his work, as his preaching extends as far as Edinburgh, Rome and St. Petersburg. In parallel to the core project of this cycle, part of the programme includes cultural creation inspired by religion.
Children and culture are an investment in the future. This is an attempt to create the first multiform art festival for children of such a scale ever to be held in Greece. Being bi-dimensional - educational and artistic - we aspire from the outset to turn it into one of the most exciting festivals of its kind in Europe.
On December 30th, during the afternoon, “Musical Disturbers” will run all through the city and its suburbs, “provoking” people, inflaming the closing ceremony’s spirit and inviting everybody to take part. In the city centre, the closing ceremony’s Soundtrack is heard all over, creating a happy atmosphere, while momentums of the artistic program’s past events are projected on giga screens. Meanwhile, in a properly arranged space, the children – under the guidance of artists, clowns and pedagogues – are getting prepared to receive the musical and cultural “relay”.
Later on, around 9 o’clock, the city’s central square, St. George, is transformed into an immense stage, with two additional stages on the two sides. The buildings surrounding it are properly enlightened so as to create a unique atmosphere whereas a whole building next to the Municipal Theatre is “transformed” into a giant screen. On the central stage a performer welcomes the public whereas on the side stages, local music groups make the city’s sounds unfold. The giant screen is now turned into a “tableau vivant” of past events. The performer comments what is projected, helping thus the public to follow the “cultural path” shown. At the same time he makes a “music game” with the public that has already received musical instruments for that purpose. Following that, the “Patras 2006” representatives declare the Institution’s “closing” and Patras’ little Boat starts flying away into the sky, in the middle of fireworks and sounds. In the central stage a beloved Greek band starts playing favourite songs. Right after the concert …a big party starts, with two famous dj’s from abroad two from Patras, making the square looking like a huge open-air club!
EXHIBITIONS AND PUBLICATIONS
In parallel to the artistic events exhibitions were taking place throughout the whole year whereas numerous editions were realized. The exhibitions were either incorporated within the framework of the above mentioned themed periods or presented in an autonomous context, according to conditions. Publications, printed and digital material as well as audiovisual material were produced in order to offer high-quality information regarding the local cultural traditions, the artists of Patras, the art events taking place in the region but also the connections of the city to other European cities.
THE ARTISTIC PROGRAMME – GENERAL REMARKS
The Artistic Program consists of 126 artistic events plus 25 exhibitions and 19 film projections. Among the 126 artistic events, 10 are open-air. For the realization of the events, 80 solo artists and 57 art groups participated in the Artistic Program. The Artistic Program included 220 days of scheduled events. Until December the 5th, 227 performances were held in Patras and more than 400.000 spectators have attended the events.
The majority of the artistic programme took place inside the city’s boundaries; however some events took place in the broader region surrounding the city and in major cities in Western Greece region (Nafpaktos, Mesologgi, Aigio) in an attempt to bring the European Capital of Culture’s message to a greater audience.