Our foundation, purpose and history.
Theatro Technis is the original arts organisation our values are based on. Founded in 1957 by George Eugeniou and a group of actors five decades ago, Theatro Technis first started its work in an old unused warehouse in the backyard of King's Cross.
After many challenges, it finally found its permanent home in an old Church building, where it has flourished into a centre of multi-faceted and multi-cultural activities.
It became one of the first venues in the UK dedicated to serving its local, working-class, and immigrant community back in the early '60s. Since then, it has remained home to international companies and independent artists.
Theatro Technis’s history is interwoven into the fabric of Cypriots' cultural identity in London and the UK, described as:
A jewel in the Heart of Camden, becoming a theatre that is independent/award-winning/maverick
These pages present the Living Archive of Theatro Technis, collated by Sophia Roy. They display production photos and posters from the past 70 years of Theatro Technis and feature interviews with George Eugeniou and others.
For further details or if you wish to contribute to the Living Archive, please contact either
The Archivist: Sophia Roy at Sophia.email@example.com
or the Chair: Dr Marilyn Panayi at firstname.lastname@example.org
Page designed by Finlay Carroll
TIMELINE OF THEATRO TECHNIS
50s and 60s
Their first theatrical home was a garage in Camden Mews, just off Camden Road, NW1 – the company shared it with the owner’s car for 10 years. This garage became a cultural centre for young Cypriots.
Theatro Technis (meaning work, art, craft) was formed with the help of a group of actors, workers and students, including Andreas Markou, Stelios Kyriacou, Medea O’ Brennon, Andy Lysandrou and Spyros Kyprianou. The company wrote, rehearsed and performed plays in small venues around London – pubs, cafes, assembly rooms and even their own rented rooms – as well as at the Unity Theatre in Camden, Hampstead Theatre, Roundhouse and Theatre Royal Stratford.
The theatre established under the auspices of Camden Council of Social Services, the first Cypriot Advisory Service, originally based in Kentish Town, later moving to Crowndale Road. The service continued to offer counselling and assistance in problems ranging from housing, welfare, human rights, benefits, family life, refugees and immigration.
Listen to George Eugeniou speak about the beginnings of Theatro Technis and the importance of theatre:
The company moved to a disused railway shed in York Way, near King’s Cross Station. In addition to plays, Cafe Theatre took place on Sundays at the ‘Canopy’ when young actors, students, singers, painters, and directors got together to work on ideas. When the Council decided to re-develop the site to build a housing estate in 1976, a campaign to incorporate the theatre into the plans failed and the company faced eviction.
Theatro Technis took over an old church house and hall at 26 Crowndale Road, NW1 1TT and converted it into a theatre, still their home today. Through its philosophy of ‘Theatre for all’ a performance art centre evolved, a nexus nurturing creative talent and giving often first-time access to space and training in theatre crafts to underrepresented artists. Beyond this role it offered a range of community resource to the diverse communities Camden and further afield for more than six decades.
The theatre has always sought to maintain a balance between contemporary and classical theatre, as well as making art relating to current issues and events for the Cypriots, British and other communities. Several of their plays including Chimneys and Roof, Cyps Go Home, The Vandals Are Coming, The Best of Tofias, The Bloody Guarantors, Hole in the Heart, Parcels to a Dead Mother and many more have been based on real-life stories that capture political zeitgeist, tackling themes of education, social mobility and injustice.
RIK TV and touring
From the 1950s to the 1970s, the Theatro Technis theatre troupe took their productions and bohemian lifestyle across the UK as well as abroad. One production Under the Carob Trees, co-directed by George Eugeniou and Maroulla Avramidou later also performed and televised as a series by in collaboration between Theatro Technis and PIK TV in Cyprus.
70s Refugee Campaigns
Throughout the 70s Theatro Technis helped form a pressure group to fight for the rights of Cypriot refugees fleeing to London after the Greek fascist coup and Turkish invasion in 1974. Their production Oh Democracy in 1976 received rave reviews from a Time Out critic and drew large audiences.
A Young People’s Theatre was formed to devise and write plays exploring themes relevant to young people in the community which were performed to a range of audiences in schools, colleges, community centres and youth centres.
One In Seven was scripted, staged, and performed by young people suffering with thalassaemia. The group also addressed issues such as racism, sexuality, drugs and sexism. Best of Tofias dealt with identity, Contract explored heroin addiction, Hands Tied, Tied Hands encompassed music, dance and mime and exposed the rules of society, while Gringland addressed issues relating to conditioning and won an award from the Greek Review magazine for the most original script of 1986.
Young actor Peter Polycarpou wrote plays Searching For The Lemons (about roots and identity) and Cypriot Graffiti (about values).
The Theatro Technis Women’s Theatre Group was formed with Associate Director Corinna Seeds to address issues relating to Cypriot women and produced plays such as Old Pandora’s Box based on the experiences of older Cypriot women who visited the luncheon club and advisory service at the theatre.
They also staged an evening of theatre, poetry and songs about the oppression of women called To Korasato (virginity). In the 1980s plays such as The Appellants (the appeal), The National Engagement and The Fire Burns Where It Falls were produced to highlight and campaign for the plight of Cypriot refugees. We also hosted the first London Black Women’s Theatre.
90s and 2000s
Theatro Technis International theatre Space Global Reach evolves, not only Cypriot and Greeks, but artists from Maronite, Armenian, Turkish, Spanish, Italy, Japanese, African, contribute and share their work and voices in partnership with Theatro Technis, staging in-house drama, offering venue hire.
One going workshops continue to nurture creative talent and promoting contemporary writing, while promising unique experiences in ancient Greek drama. Some adaptations of classical Greek plays as a form of protest the Greek military junta such as Sophocles’ Antigone and Aeschylus’ Prometheus Bound. Other productions included: The Incapable, The Lightning Light, The Immigrant, Under The Carob Trees and Cyps Go Home, Italian American Reconcilliation, A View from the Bridge and many more.
The backbone of many of these theatre productions, film, music and media work and the development of Theatro Technis was built on the work of 100s of volunteers and professional theatre practitioners including:
Criton Tomazos, Lord Eric Sugumugou, David Edmond, George Zenios, Aris Eugeniou, Sam Neophytou, Jimmy Roussounis, Chris Greco, Vasilis Panayi, Andrew Karras, George Jackos, James Callachan, Panos Savvides, Peter Kosta, Alkis Kritikos, Marios, George Savvides, Ted Craig, Barney Efthimiou, Cos Anthony, Patapios Gavrilides, Michael Michael, Kerry Michael, Avi Nassa, Chrystos Prosylis, Victor Sobchak, Cristinel Hogas, Leigh Hughes, Ricardo Garcia-Curbelo, Anna Savva, Helen Stafford, Sarah Michael, Eve Polycarpou, Martha Lewis, Lucy Christofi Christy, Karine Bedrossian, Mandy Eugeniou, Maria Vigar, Vicki Psarias, Lennie Varvarides, Karolina Ginter, Dorota Krimmel, Krysia Mansfield, Luciana Panbocch, Magdalena Stephnni, Panayiota Pantelli……. and many, many more – join the roll call, do get in touch if you were involved with us in the 90s and 2000s!
These partnerships contributing to the ethos of ‘Total Theatre’, where craft and creative expression are greeted with an open-door policy which is embedded in the philosophy that supports the oppressed and disadvantaged.