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Greek National Theater to transform Rex on Panepistimiou into a theater hub

first_imgA recent ruling by an Athens court granting the Greek National Theater the right to use a large theater on the ground floor of a building it owns in the city center is expected to contribute to efforts for the gentrification of Omonia Square and its environs.National Theater director Sotiris Hatzakis and the company’s board had decided not to renew a long-running lease on the ground-floor theater of the Panepistimiou Street building, known as the Rex. The building also houses the Kotopouli stage and the Sineak-Paximou theater/cinema venue in the basement. The plan is for all three stages to be utilized by the National Theater to present different kinds of works, with the initial idea being to use the biggest of three stages, on the ground-floor level, for musicals, a genre that has been gaining increasing popularity in Greece but does not have a solid presence. Hatzakis hopes that he will be able to launch the new initiative with a major international production of an acclaimed musical such as “The Phantom of the Opera” to generate a buzz about the venue and the National Theater’s initiative to branch out into new genres.The theater’s management also hopes that the operation of the Rex complex as a purely theaterical venue – it had been best known for hosting Greek music acts – will contribute toward efforts to gentrify the Omonia district.The building, whose exterior has already been renovated, will also be refurbished inside, with plans including making it fully accessible to people with mobility problems.These ambitious plans will be possible after careful financial management resulted in the National Theater paying off all of its debts and ending September with a surplus to the tune of 260,000 euros.The Rex was built in 1935 and designed by architects Leonidas Bonis and Vassilis Kassandras to resemble the grand art deco theaters of New York. It was the first venue for large spectacles to operate in Athens.Source: Kathimerini Facebook Twitter: @NeosKosmos Instagramlast_img read more

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