From the rebirth of the Olympia Municipal Music Theatre Maria Callas, to the annual Colonus Festival, and the revamp of the Kypseli Municipal Market, Athens is keeping up with its rich history by safeguarding its cultural stages and expanding its entertainment offerings throughout the city. The latest rebirth is one of a historical open-air theatre, arguably the most cherished one of Athenians.
The City of Athens Lycabettus Theatre returns after a period of 15 years with a month-long programme that features a wide range of music concerts by some of the most established and upcoming Greek artists. To get a taste of said range, the celebrations kick off with a sold-out concert by legendary Greek composer Stavros Xarchakos on September 15th and ends on October 14th with a rap-meets-orchestra performance by local beatmaker Beats Pliz. All this, with a 360° view of night-lit Athens from its highest peak.
The renovated City of Athens Lycabettus Theatre comes with a full upgrade of its facilities. New seats (3,950 of them to be exact with modifications allowing for a total of 6,000 people), new lighting, a new canteen, reinforced structural support, and state-of-the-art safety and communication systems. Most importantly, it perfectly preserves Zenetos’ original design, thus safekeeping the collective memories that thousands of Athenians have from nights spent at the beloved theatre. On event days, parking at the theatre’s designated area will only be allowed to people with disabilities and to those over 60 years old. Taxi drop offs will also be allowed. Free shuttle rides to and from the theatre will be available on event days from 7 pm to 9.30, starting from Sarantapichou Street, as a courtesy of the Municipality of Athens. As for the rest, arrival will only be allowed on foot, but trust us when we say that it’s a hike worth taking.
The Lycabettus Theatre was designed by architect Takis Zenetos (who also designed the National Museum of Contemporary Art) during the 1960s. It was conceived by Anna Synodinou, one of the greatest Greek actresses of all times, whose desire was for the theatre to host theatrical performances of ancient Greek tragedies in an effort to bring the classical craft to the general public. Her commitment was so great that during the building of the koilon (the auditorium) and in order to assure the space’s optimal acoustics, Synodinou performed daily on the site guiding its construction.
Despite its original purpose as a stage for theatrical plays, for Athenians the theatre became synonymous with extraordinary live music concerts beneath the stars, as a long list of international artists have performed on its stage; Lou Reed, Radiohead, Massive Attack, Peter Gabriel, David Byrne, Jane Birkin, Thievery Corporation, Sarah Brightman, B.B. King, Pet Shop Boys, PJ Harvey, to name just a few. After the debut of its new season, we’re betting on a similar repeat of its global lineup come spring 2024 (take it away Athens City Festival). So, next time you’re in town between spring and early autumn, don’t forget to sign up for your very own unforgettable experience atop Lycabettus.