Oi Paramythades (The Storytellers)
Group of Study, Preservation and Dissemination of folk fairytales and games.
The club “Oi Paramythades” (The Storytellers) was created unofficially in the autumn of 2011. We gathered 3-4 friends in order to remember and to remind to others the strength that is hidden in fairytales and especially in those of our tradition. Our initial goal was to search some of them and narrate them to children, suggesting an alternative (for our days) way of entertainment, thus the classical. The way in which many generations grew up…..the fairytale. In our “journey” we discovered that we were found in an ocean of information and fairytales. This made us reconsider our philosophy. We thought that it was necessary to search for historical information about the fairytales ( when they were born, why and who used to tell fairytales and how they are supposed to be told) in order to protect the development of the child’s psychology. Later, considering the children’s entertainment, we added games in the activities of the group and especially traditional games. These games were played in the neighborhoods, in the yards of the houses and schools and used to promote the development of team spirit, self confidence and leader skills of children in contrast to the isolation kids experience nowadays through electronic games and misuse of Internet.
In our beginning we had as meeting place , a café-bar called “The old Library”. It should be mention that this building used to be the Municipal Library of Kavala from 1957 to 1984. In this place every Sunday, from 11:00 to 14:00, we used to welcome the children and we narrated traditional fairytales from all over the world, accompanied by music. The café offered us a special place, where the children could sit on pillows and ,surrounded by the story tellers and the musician ,enjoyed the stories. Our action found a great response ,soon we had more supporters and our small team started getting bigger.
In December 2011, the Municipal Peripheral Theatre of Kavala, asked the amateur teams of the town to participate in one of its actions, presenting a Christmas fairy tale in a special decorated place in the square in front of the city hall called “ Fairytales’ Nest”. We presented the fairytale of Charis and Panos Catsimihas “the Unsmiling town” with three narrators-actors , accompanied by two musical instruments (guitar and melodica). With the same fairy tale,during Christmas, we visited the hospital of Kavala, the pediatric department.
During the winter we continued our weekly performances, meeting our little friends every Sunday morning. We had the chance to travel and meet several countries through their fairy tales, such as Mexico, Turkey, India, Indonesia, Russia, Tadzhikistan, Malaysia, France, Italy, Bulgaria, and Serbia.
In May of the same year we were invited to two elementary schools, 2nd elementary school of Kavala and the elementary school of Zygos. We had the pleasure to present myths of Aesop in the first two classes of the school and we finished our performance by dramatizing the myth “The liar shepherd” with the little students as stars.
A little bit later we took part in the 4th Wood Water Festival which took place at the path of Palia Kavala, while the same period we participated in the annual celebration of the club “Pnoi, Care for the Child and the Family”, which had as a purpose the awarding of volunteer doctors, nurses and pharmaceutics , for their offer to the organization.
July found us participating in the celebration for the Liberation of Kavala and especially in “Days of Cosmopolis”. In the building of “Palia Mousiki” (Old Music) we presented fairytales from the participating countries (Greek, Turkey, Mexico, India, Indonesia, Bosnia), while outside the building we played every afternoon traditional games from these countries. The performances were accompanied by musical instruments of the East, like Rabat of Afghanistan, Lafta of Turkey and Tabura of India.
A few days later we participated in the Art Summer School of the cultural Club of Limenaria Thasos “The Castle”, as the responsible team for the Narration activities
We said farewell to July having every day presence in the 14th Book Exhibition of Kavala that took place in the port of Kavala. We were welcoming the children that came in the Exhibition and we were reading them books and fairytales that were given to us by the participating bookshops.
Furthermore we organized the 1st Narration Festival, that took place during August with the actress Vicky Xatzopoulou. The purpose of this and the upcoming seminars is to train the members of the team in the narration and the theatrical movement that has to accompany it.
In autumn, an new fairy tale appeared in Kavala “The New Clothes of the King» by Hans Kristian Andersen. This was the fairy tale that the Municipal Regional Theatre of Kavala chose, as its production for children in a version of Giannis Kalatzopoulos, directed by Giannis Koukias and titled“The Clothes of the King”. Several theatrical teams participated in the promotion of the play. One of them was our team. We were responsible for the “sew house” of the king, a little house in the Kapnergatis square full of fabrics, where we used to narrate or dramatize the fairytale. With the same performance we also visited several schools and institutions.
At the same time we organized two more actions. The first one was the collection of books and toys for the institution of Saint George, the pediatric department of the hospital of Kavala and the 1st Special school of Kavala.
The second action is about a weekly visit in the Institution for the protection of the Children “Saint George», every Wednesday evening, where we play games and we read fairy tales and in general we try to have fun with the children that live there.
On Christmas Eve we were presented in the radio program “Syntetagmena…ektos” of Areti Mpita with question to Christos Tsirkas and the presentation of the fairy tale “Kalo and the Kalikantzaroi”. This traditional fairy tale was presented by our team in Eleutheria square and the mall (in cooperation with the municipal school of Pythagora) and in several schools and festivals.
2013 started with our usual performances in Palia Vivliothiki, while we started our rehearsals for our performance “Aesop’s Myths”. It is remarkable, that there was a special report for us from the national channel Star.
In February we packed our suitcases and made our first trip abroad. We found ourselves in Belgium, where we presented “From Aesop…until today” in Greeks of Diaspora and not only. More specifically we visited the Department of Greek Language in Anderlecht, the Department of Greek language in Liege, the Greek community of Maasmechelen and Antwerpen and at the end the European School.
The next season found us in schools, foundations and clubs, presenting the above performance, as well as “The Thirteenth”, a fairytale about differentiation.
Because of the international day of child’s book, we accepted the invitation of municipal library of Kavala “Vasilis Vasilikos” and we visited the libraries “Verona’s” and “Saint Loukas”, where we told fairytales and 3 days later we visited the Spiritual Centre of Doxato Dramas, invited by the cultural and educational club of the town.
Due to our successful performances in the libraries, we decided with the Municipal Library’s administration to continue our action with monthly visits. We also visited Drama and Orestiada.
In spring and in summer we took part in various festivals, such as 5ο Wood Water Wild Festival,where we got our own place and specifically a cave along the path. We also participated in 2nd Antifascist Festival, the 15th Book Exhibition and in the Peramia Festival.
For our team, the summer holidays were really short. We were working for the first on line fairytale game in Greece and we broadcast it in September 2013 with the title “Paramythi…..zo”.
We participated in Panhellenic Cycling of Love and the 1st festival of child Theatre, while we started our monthly visits in “St. Loukas” Library.
Since this September we have already started our rehearsals in two fairytales. More specifically the fairytale “the boiled eggs and the boiled broad beans», with which we will visit the elementary schools that will invite us and the Christmas fairy tale “Agreement with a Goblin”, with which we will participate in the festivals of Kavala. Finally, the rehearsals for our first production for adults started. It is about folk stories, on which we are going to work with the “Theatre Circle”. Furthermore, we are working on our project for our international tour, based on mythology.
2014 found us visiting primary schools and other places too, with the fairy tale “the boiled eggs and the boiled broad beans” in two versions. It was performed in the usual way by the “Paramythades”, while at the same time it was performed with the participation of the “TIK-NIK” puppet theatre.
Later in February we participated in a meeting organized by the Ministry of Culture, in Thessaloniki, for the Preservation of Intangible Cultural Heritage, adopted by the UNESCO Convention, ratified by 158 countries including Greece.
In May, our first performance for adults “Katalogia III” took place at the “Antigoni Valakou” theatre and the Castle of Kavala (in the old prison, “Boudroumi”). It was about a ritual performance of five Greek folk stories, with common issue “the sacrifice”, directed and dramatized by Th.Oikonomidis.
In June the first elections of our club were carried out and we finally had the first board of directors. For once more we participated in the 6th Wood Water Wild Festival and for the first time in the 4th Kavala Air Sea Show. On the 23rd of June we revived the custom of Saint Ioannis’ Fires and jumped over the fire that we lit at Kalamitsa beach.
From the spring, we began enjoying nature by having picnics at beautiful places around Kavala like the watermill at Palia Kavala, Nestos river etc. July and August found us taking part in various festivals and celebrations, like in Pieria Valley in Moustheni and the 16th book exhibition in Kavala. “Europe is our Playground”, the European project enjoyed our vivid presence in five neighborhoods of Kavala. Furthermore we participated in Junior Festival 2014, in Limnos. Since October we have been learning percussion instruments, bendir and deff, so as to accompany our fairytales with rhythms and sounds in the near future.
During the last month of the year, we not only presented our Christmas and New Year’s fairy tales in Kavala and surroundings, but we spread our festive spirit to the beautiful town of Kalambaka in Trikala.
Contact person: Christos Tsirkas (tel. +30.6946 816535)