28 September, 19:30 – 21:00 

29 September, 19:30 – 21:00 


House of Culture Boris Hristov, Plovdiv


THE GREAT TAMER displays the idea that human life can be seen as a journey of discovery, an exploration for hidden treasure, an inner archaeological excavation for meaning. For nearly 3 decades, Dimitris Papaioannou has been staging new worlds described as a dreamlike absurd circus. Human bodies become battlegrounds, interacting with raw materials, fusing into hybrids, giving rise to optical illusions that make his work outstanding.

Parental Guidance: this performance may be inappropriate for children under 14.

Papaioannou’s education as classical painter in fine arts gives his performances a strong visual feel, spectacular scenery, and memorable visuals. The talented Greek artist juggles with art history references, various practices of expression and performing, and ideas about our origins. His aim is to shed light on the sacred in the mundane.

THE GREAT TAMER premiered in Onassis Cultural Centre – Athens (2017). Since then, the show has been presented in some of the most prestigious and notable festivals and theater venues on 2 continents, including in Paris, Madrid, Barcelona, Naples, Stockholm, Seoul and Taipei. Among many positive reviews, KATHIMERINI newspaper described THE GREAT TAMER as a “gallery of truth”, while El Periódico called it a “journey to the most hidden places of existence”.

*The performance contains nudity.


THE GREAT TAMER is the universe as it would be seen by a child. Or maybe a fool. Or maybe just a true artist. – Chiara Reale, racnamagazine.it

The spectacular tableau vivant of Dimitris Papaioannou is exquisite food for the senses. The Great Tamer is a very rewarding intake; Addictive to the eye. – Juan Carlos Olivares Padilla, EL PAÍS

THE GREAT TAMER is the perfect answer from the country that has been saddled with the reputation that it once invented our political values and our theater. – Wijbrand Schaap, cultureelpersbureau.nl


Papaioannou is the author of 25 productions ranging from mass spectacles with thousands of performers to intimate pieces. For nearly 3 decades, his surreal, spectacular and deep spectacles have been a paragon in the world of performing arts. Papaioannou is an artist for every stage and have appeared in a wide variety of venues – from his famous underground squat theatre in Athens, to the ancient theatre in Epidaurus, and from Olympic stadiums to Théâtre de la Ville – Paris, and Teatro Olimpico in Vicenza.

He is awarded numerous prizes, including the Special Award of European Theater Awards (2017) for his “total theater with an obvious maturity of expression”. In 2018, Dimitris will become the first artist to create a new, full-length work for Tanztheater Wuppertal Pina Bausch.

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, makeup, and lighting. He was a student of the iconic Greek painter Yannis Tsarouchis before studying at the Athens School of Fine Arts.

In 1986, he formed Edafos Dance Theatre 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. In 2006, with his production ‘2’, he found himself in the odd position of creating avant-garde works in major theatres in Athens. The works 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 (2014), the first work that toured extensively in Europe, South America, Asia, and Australia.

In 2015, he created the Opening Ceremony for the First European Games in Baku.

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 is on an international tour, scheduled until 2019.

Duration: 100 minutes

Conceived, Visualized, and Directed by Dimitris Papaioannou

Performers: Pavlina Andriopoulou, Costas Chrysafidis, Dimitris Kitsos, Ioannis Michos, Evangelia Randou, Kalliopi Simou, Drossos Skotis, Christos Strinopoulos, Yorgos Tsiantoulas, Alex Vangelis

Set Design + Art Direction in collaboration with Tina Tzoka

Artistic Collaborator for costumes Aggelos Mendis

Lighting Designed in collaboration with Evina Vassilakopoulou

Artistic Collaborator for Sound Giorgos Poulios

Sound Design Kostas Michopoulos

Music Johann Strauss II, An der schönen blauen Donau, Op. 314

Music Adaptation Stephanos Droussiotis

Sculpture Design Nectarios Dionysatos

Costume – Props Painting Maria Ilia

Creative – Executive Producer + Assistant Director Tina Papanikolaou

Assistant Director Stephanos Droussiotis

Assistant Director + Rehearsal Director Pavlina Andriopoulou

Technical Director Manolis Vitsaxakis

Stage Manager Dinos Nikolaou

Assistant Sound Engineer and operation Nicholas Kazazis

Assistant to the Set Designer – Set Painter Mary Antοnopoulou

Assistants to the Sculptor Maria Papaioannou + Konstantinos Kotsis

Production Assistant Tzela Christopoulou

Tour Manager + International Relations Julian Mommert

Executive Production Assistant Kali Kavvatha

Produced by Onassis Cultural Centre – Athens (Greece)

Co-produced by CULTURESCAPES Greece 2017 (Switzerland), Dansens Hus Sweden (Sweden), EdM Productions, Festival d’Avignon (France), Fondazione Campania dei Festival – Napoli Teatro Festival Italia (Italy), Les Théâtres de la Ville de Luxembourg (Luxembourg), National Performing Arts Center-National Theater & Concert Hall | NPAC-NTCH (Taiwan), Seoul Performing Arts Festival | SPAF (Korea), Théâtre de la Ville – Paris / La Villette – Paris (France)

Executive Producer 2WORKS


Images: Julian Mommert