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Theatre as a space for recording and managing historical memory: the case of Cyprus (coup d’état and Turkish invasion 1974)


The presentation focuses on how the events of 1974 have affected and still affect the theatre, in an attempt to investigate the ways in which artists perceive and manage historical events, capturing the relationship between historical memory and art. For the playwright, “History” is a “data bank” and the theatre a “search engine”, which creates and projects live the incidents that the creative-artists have chosen to present. What is at stake is the manner, causes and mechanisms that lead to the engraving of specific historical events in the collective and individual memory, from which they are recalled in the given image, which is shaped by the stage.

The course of contemporary Cypriot theatre is inextricably linked to the contemporary history of the country. The new political and social reality created after 1974 gave a new impetus to Cypriot theatre. The preoccupation of Greek Cypriot creative artists with the trauma of 1974 continued into the post-traumatic period, limiting in a way the connection of theatre with other contemporary issues. A move away from this tendency can be observed among the new generation of artists, not necessarily new in age, who have been active since 2000. With the passage into the new millennium, the trauma is not healed, but appears on a smaller scale and from a different perspective. Indicatively, plays and performances dealing with the trauma and its aftermath in 1974 are presented, and their perspectives are analysed.

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