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  • Greece
Dimitris Papaioannou

The Great Tamer

A visual feast vividly exploring time, the meaning of life, destruction and reconstruction.
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‘Exquisite food for the senses. Addictive to the eye.’

- El Pais

The meaning of life and the mystery of death are vividly explored in a set of breathtakingly inventive live paintings from Dimitris Papaioannou, a Greek artist internationally recognised for directing the 2004 Olympic ceremonies.

Inspired by the words of Homer and the work of the Old Masters, Papaioannou builds macabre still lifes, dreamlike images and nightmarish creations with ten performers, his magical stagecraft and the shifting floor.

The Great Tamer is a witty, stunning and surreal feast of visual delights that takes shape around the idea that life is a journey of discovery — an exploration for hidden treasure, an inner archaeological excavation for meaning.

Papaioannou sees himself as a visual artist, a painter on the stage who creates worlds of astounding beauty from the human body. In this poetic, wordless allegory on the passage of time, the body is used to create vignettes that are at once macabre and beautiful, brimming with humour, horror, circus-like stunts and optical illusions.

Images: Julian Mommert

The detail


Tickets from $25 - $83 + BF

A Reserve Adult $83 / Concession $78 / Friend $75

B Reserve Adult $36 / Student $25

Heath Ledger Theatre


8 Feb - 12 Feb 2019

Fri 8 Feb 2019, 7.30 PM

Sat 9 Feb 2019, 7.30 PM

Sun 10 Feb 2019, 5.00 PM

Mon 11 Feb 2019, 7.30 PM

Tue 12 Feb 2019, 7.30 PM



  • 75% Visual Content 75% Visual Content
  • Assistive Listening Assistive Listening
  • Wheelchair access Wheelchair access

additional information


Production Credits

Conceived, Visualised & 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
Costume Design in collaboration with Aggelos Mendis
Lighting Design in collaboration with Evina Vassilakopoulou
Sound Design in collaboration with Giwrgos Poulios
Sound Designer & Operator Kostas Michopoulos
Johann Strauss II, An der schönen blauen Donau, Op. 314
Music Adaptation Stephanos Droussiotis
Sculpture Design Nectarios Dionysatos 
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 & Operator 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


About Dimitris Papaioannou

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.

Papaioannou became widely known in 2004 as the creator of the Opening and Closing Ceremonies of the ATHENS 2004 Olympic Games. With his production ‘2’, he has created 25 productions ranging from mass spectacles with thousands of performers to intimate pieces, and his work has 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. In 2017 Papaioannou created  The Great Tamer, his first international co-commissioned work, and in 2018 he became the first artist to create a new, full-length work for Tanztheater Wuppertal Pina Bausch.


Please Note

Duration: 1hr 40mins
Latecomers may be admitted at a suitable break.

The performance contains full frontal nudity and loud sounds



Post Show Conversation

Saturday 9 February
On stage at 9.10pm following the 7.30pm performance.


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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
With the support of Alpha Bank and Megaron – The Athens Concert Hall


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