Artist in Residence
Born in Athens in 1964, Dimitris Papaioannou gained early recognition as a painter and comics artist, before his focus shifted to the performing arts, as director, choreographer, performer, and designer of sets, costumes, make up, and lighting.
He was a student of the iconic Greek painter Yannis Tsarouchis before studying at the Athens School of Fine Arts.
He formed Edafos Dance Theatre, in 1986 as an initial vehicle for his original stage productions, hybrids of physical theatre, experimental dance, and performance art.
Originating in the underground scene, the company challenged perceptions and gained an expanding number of dedicated followers. MEDEA (1993) marked the company’s transition to big theatres and is considered its iconic work. The Edafos company spanned 17 years, to 2002, and set its indelible stamp on the arts scene in Greece.
Papaioannou became widely known in 2004, as the creator of the Opening and Closing Ceremonies of the ATHENS 2004 Olympic Games.
Restarting in 2006, with his production ‘2’, he found himself in the odd position of creating avant-garde works in major theatres in Athens that enjoyed record-breaking long runs, with over 100.000 tickets sold.
In 2009, he began using this platform to create theatrical experiments on a large scale: NOWHERE (2009) for the inauguration of the renovated Greek National Theatre and INSIDE (2011) for the Pallas Theater.
In 2012, stripping down his work to bare essentials, he created PRIMAL MATTER for the Athens Festival, with him back on stage after a ten-year absence.
On the same quest for simplicity, he created STILL LIFE in 2014, the first work that toured extensively in Europe, South America, Asia, and Australia.
In 2015, he created the Opening Ceremony for the Baku 2015 First European Games.
Papaioannou’s 25 productions range from mass spectacles with thousands of performers to intimate pieces and have appeared in a wide variety of venues, from his famous underground squat theater in Athens, to the ancient theatre in Epidaurus, and from Olympic stadiums to Théâtre de la Ville – Paris, and Teatro Olimpico in Vicenza.
In 2017, he created THE GREAT TAMER, his first international co-commissioned work with ten co-producers, including the Festival d’Avignon. THE GREAT TAMER made an international tour until 2019, when it was also presented at sold out performances at Megaron the Athens Concert Hall.
In 2018, Dimitris became the first artist to create a new, full-length work for Tanztheater Wuppertal Pina Bausch. SINCE SHE premiered on 12 May 2018 in Germany.
In 2020, Dimitris premiered INK. The 55min duet performed by Šuka Horn and Dimitris Papaioannou premiered at the Torinodanza Festival and has been invited to the 75th Festival d’Avignon in 2021. The Greek premiere of INK will be in January 2022 at Megaron the Athens Concert Hall.
His latest work TRANSVERSE ORIENTATION (2021), originally scheduled to premiere at ONASSIS SETGI in Athens, premiered on 2 June 2021 at the Biennale de la Danse de Lyon in France, and will tour to more than 30 cities in 2021 + 2022.
Megaron the Athens Concert Hall has been hosting Dimitris and his team during the creation, preparation and rehearsals of his works since 2017.