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Yannis Simonides | Actor

Born in Constantinople and raised in Athens, Yannis Simonides is a Yale-trained actor, director, producer. He has served as professor and chair of the New York University Tisch School of the Arts Drama Department and as the executive director of Hellenic Public Radio in New York.

He is the founder and director of the Greek Theater of New York (EllinikoTheatro), which is celebrating 40 years of continuous service. His performance work includes plays by Euripides, Sophocles, Aristophanes, Shakespeare, Moliere, Brecht, Kazantzakis, and others, along with solo and ensemble pieces culled from the writings of Plato, Cavafy, Makriyannis, Gogol, and others. He has narrated the PBS television specials Axion Esti, Visions of Greece, and Return to the Homeland, and he has received an Emmy award for producing and narrating the documentary A Light Still Bright on the Greek community of Istanbul. He has performed the Apology of Socrates to hundreds of thousands of audiences worldwide.

As a founding member of the international literary organization The Readers of Homer, he has co-produced marathon audience-participation readings-celebrations of the Iliad and Odyssey in Chios and Kos in Greece, the Library of Alexandria, the University of Uruguay in Montevideo, the 92nd Street Y in New York, the Roman Odeon in Troy, the Getty Villa in Malibu and Les Halles de Schaerbeek in Brussels. He is currently at work on a theatrical rendition of Plato’s Republic and on Euripides’ Bacchae with Maori artists in New Zealand. He was recently honored by the city of Athens as Ambassador of Hellenism for his lifelong service to Greek arts and letters worldwide.

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