His work in Greece

The genuine troubadour of the Greek Folk Tradition

"Alexander the Great" staged by the Hellenic Dance Drama (1950). Rallou Manou in the role of Karagiozis

Eugenios Spatharis was born in Kifissia in 1924.
His first teacher was his father, Sotiris. He began his career with performances in Maroussi, in 1942 and from 1945 to 1950 toured throughout Greece, appearing in theatres and cinemas. Before long, the name of Eugenios Spatharis began to become known outside the borders of Greece: as early as 1953, he appeared at the Carnegie Hall in New York, in Canada and in Cuba.

In 1954, he gave many performances in Cyprus, in 1956 he was back in New York, in 1958 he took part in the World Conference and Festival of Shadow Theatre in Brussels and in 1959 he performed at the International Festival of Shadow Theatre in Paris.

In 1961 his travels took him in Egypt (Alexandria – Cairo) and in 1962 he was a prize – winner of the World Shadow and Puppet Theatre Festival in Rome.
In 1962, Eugenios Spatharis issued his first records (at 45 rpm) of classic Karagiozis performances, recorded for Columbia Company.

In 1966, the first Greek Television Channel began its broadcasts with a Karagiozis show of Eugenios Spatharis and these programmes continued until 1992.
In 1971, he participated in the Festival of Eastern Countries in Poland, appeared in London and toured in Germany and Denmark.

In 1972, he gave performances in Geneva and Paris. The exhibition of children’s books in Munich was the occasion for him to be invited there in 1979 for an exhibition of his shadow figures and shows.

In 1980,a World Festival of the Shadow Theatre was organised in his honour in Paris. He set up a school of shadow theatre in Denmark, which his pupils are still operating today. Also in that year, he presented adaptedthe play of Aristophanes, “The Frogs”, which was also released on disc. As part of the events to accompany the finds from Vergina (Macedonia), he toured America once more with his play ““Alexander the Great and the Cursed Serpen”.
In 1981, Eugenios Spatharis took part in the Greek Month held at Veer in Normandy and also inaugurated the Greek theatre in Marseilles.
In 1982, he toured the Netherlands and appeared of the Shadows Festival in East Berlin.

In 1983, he travelled no further from the Greek islands and Cyprus. He gave a number of performances in Rhodes for UNESCO and later in Cyprus, but in 1984 he was abroad again, as the guest of the Universities of Rome, Naples and Bologna (Italy) and the organizers of the Festivals of London, Glasgow and Edinburgh.

Spatharis and his Karagiozis have never ceased to appear all over the world: at the Festival of Mediterranean Theatre in Lyon, Nuremberg and Marigny (France 1985 and 1986), in Sweden, in the Alps and in Ravenna (Italy 1987 and 1988), in Denmark once more (1988), Nice, Toulouse, Cannes and other French cities (1989), at all the Festivals of Spain (1990), in Sweden again (1991), for the Greek Month in Sweden, in the events accompanying the World Basketball Championship in Rome-Italy (1992, International Festival of Shadow.

Theatre), at the Oberhausen Festival in Germany (1993), in the U.S.A., Canada and Teheran (1994), once more in Cyprus and atthe Festival of Mediterranean Theatre in Stuttgart and Bordeaux (1995).
In 1996 he took part once more at the International Festival of Shadow and Puppet Theatre in Bordeaux (France), also at the Festival of Teheran and he was honoured in Cyprus at the Mediterranean Festival of Lemessos.

In 1997 he gave performances again in Paris and the same year, in cooperation with “Tsarouchis Institution”in Maroussi, he presented the “apotheosis in whole body”, his father’s conception, performing his heroic play “Athanassios Diakos”.
In 1998 Eugenios Spatharis and his Karagiozis appeared in the big theatre of Kremlin (Moscow) in front pf 5250 spectators. The same year he gave numerous of lectures about Karagiozis’ art at the Universities of London, Oxford and Cambridge (England).

In 1999 he took part in the International Festival of Lemessos (Cyprus) and he wrote the script “Doing for Shadows” which was staged in Athens with a very big success.
In 2000 he travelled to England for giving some performances and lectures in the occasion of “Millennium”.
In 2001, in cooperation with the well-known Cretan singers, Loudovicos of Anoghia and Psarantonis, he performed the popular Cretan poem “Erotokritos”. But Eugenios Spatharis, a man of many talents, he was also the protagonist of the theatrical play, “Pluto” of Aristophanes presented at the ancient theatre of Epidauros with a great success.

The summer of 2001, the group of actors, “Theatre of Art”, its director Mimis Koughioumtzis and himself toured all over Greece interpreting this successful performance.
In 2002 Eugenios Spatharis appeared once again in France (Marseille, Toulon) and he travelled to Cyprus for the big exhibition of his shadow figures organised by the “Cultural Company of Lemessos”. It was also staged there a theatrical play dedicated to his life and his work , under the title “Spatharis the Greek”, and he was honoured by the Ministry Of Culture and the President of Democracy of Cyprus.

In 2003 – 2004 he wrote and staged his second theatrical play which was inspired from the shadow theatre andtitled “Karagiozis’ feast”. The spring of 2004 Eugenios Spatharis was invited in France (Paris) to teach young puppeteers about Karagiozis’ art and technique. After those seminars the new shadow players are performing their own plays.

Eugenios Spatharis’ Karagiozis illustrations have appeared in comic book-form (1960 and 1970), while 1979 saw the publication of the book “Karagiozis by Spatharis Family”.

He has also made a name for himself as a director and designer in the theatre: with the Greek Chorodrama in Alexander the Great (1950), a work that he produced again with Sophia Vembo in 1954 (well-known greek singer).

“The journey” by G. Themelis (1965), “Karagiozis the Dictator” by G. Giannakopoulos (1969), “Our Great Circus” by I. Kabanellis (1972), “Karagiozis almost becomes Vizier” by G. Skourtis, “Karagiozeika” by V. Rotas and other works.

His production of “The crier” by M. Bourboulis was awarded the best direction and best costume design prizes at the Ithaca Festival.

Eugenios Spatharis has appeared in many cinema films and tv commercials. He has also participated in recordings of songs by S. Xarchakos, S. Fotiadis (well-known greek composers) and Modern Fears where he provided the voice for Karagiozis.

He created with his wife’s precious help (1958) the first International Museum of Shadow Theatre in Athens (Maroussi) but since 1995, the Museum of Shadow Theatre “Spathario” has been operating in Maroussi, after the decision of Spatharis and Spatharis’family to offer as a donation 406 pieces of Eugenios creations – shadow figures and other equipment – to the Municipality and it is open to the children and the people who are interested in this kind of art.

He has two children: Sotiris, his son is a film director and Menia, his daughter, is the director of “Spathario” Museum of Shadow Theatre.

A Painter “NAIVE”

Eugenios Spatharis, a man of many talents, began his career in this sector by painting the advertising posters and sign-boards (“advertisements”) for his father’s repertoire and for his own as well.

Later, he used this talent for decorating theatrical costumes and sceneries.

His big experience gave him the opportunity to be developed in professional painter. As a “naive” painter he keeps the synthesis on one flat, the profile of the faces, the clear lines of the shapes and the simplicity of the design.

The special characteristic and the difference between him and the other vernacular painters is that he describes his subjects working very much with his chromatic shades and he renders successfully anadmirable natural colour.

His paintings represent the Greek social life, the Greek mythology, many historical facts, heroes of the Greek Revolution – 1821, Greek popular subjects, folk songs and others. He has illustrated numerous books, especially for children and several advertising calendars for well-known companies and, naturally, for “Spathario Museum”.

He has held more than 50 personal exhibitions and he has taken part in more than 30 group and Pan-Hellenic exhibitions. His paintings have been also exhibited in 20 countries.

His work Abroad

Evgenios Spatharis begins his career in 1942, from Maroussi and from 1945 to 1950 he tours, giving performances in many theaters…

Spatharis Family

Your mother and I have one. But again, I give you a wish and a curse never to leave the art I taught you. Karagiozis and the other heroes…

Eugenios Spatharis

Evgenios Spatharis, the folk artist with the dynamic spirit, the genuine animator of a folk hero, the painter with the rich color…