Ioli Andreadi likes to find stories that move her and then retell them in her own unique way, building worlds and defining their fate

Ioli Andreadi

“In theater, it pays off to use your instinct”

Text: Evi Kallini
Ioli Andreadi

Born and raised in Kipseli, Athens, she studied stage direction at RADA Studios and King’s College London – where she also completed a Ph.D. where she explored theatrical and ritual performance as an Onassis Foundation grantee. Fulbright Foundation Greece, Onassis Foundation, Stavros Niarchos Foundation and J.F. Costopoulos Foundation grants supported her for seven years as she lived and worked in London and New York. She trained at the Greek Art Theater Drama School, in Theater Studies at the University of Athens, in Cultural Management (MA) at Panteion University, while her post-doctoral work brought her back to King’s College London as Visiting Research Fellow looking into Antonin Artaud and neuroscience.

She has directed over 30 theatrical productions in Athens, London, Edinburgh, Berlin, Rome and New York, and was a founding member of the global directors’ collective WorldWideLab at Watermill of Bob Wilson in 2011 – with whom she was Art Director in 2013 and in 2015. Ioli has been working tirelessly out of Greece ever since, though her performances continue to travel consistently to London and New York. At the same time, she continues her research. In 2020, she published Performance from Theory to Practice: Stage Direction – Philosophy – Culture and Anastenaria: Ritual, Theater, Performance; An Experiential Study on Kapa Publishing.

This past winter of 2022, she presented her latest play, “Kokkalo” [Bone] in the Basement of the Art Theater, Athens and now, in spring, “Filiki Eteria: The Brotherhood Behind the Revolution” is heading to Manhattan’s The Tank theater for three performances with English supertitles.

We ask her what made her choose to direct out of the breadth of theatrical pursuits. “I like to build worlds, define their fate, form their manifestation,” she replies with disarming honesty. “The Sleeping Sickness” was her first play, for which she worked in 2003 with a team of Art Theater Drama School graduates. As for her milestone work, Ioli refers us to “The return of the exile; they did not expect him” (2009), which premiered at the Lincoln Center Theater Director’s Lab, New York. “This play took me several steps forward and helped me get recognized by my peers,” she notes.

She has worked in Greece alongside seminal figures such as Katia Gerou, Eva Stefani and Chrysanthi Sotiropoulou, and abroad with Alan Read and Joe Kelleher. The last seven years have brought fifteen of her performances to the Greek stage, including “Young Lear” at Athens Epidaurus Festival (2016), “Every Brilliant Thing” at Neos Kosmos Theater and Bob Festival (Athens Epidaurus Festival, 2017), “The Misanthrope” at the Athens Contemporary Theater (2018), “Ion” at Philippi Festival, Alfa Theater, on Greek tour, the North Slope of the Acropolis and The Tank, NY (2017–2019), “War and Peace” at the Municipal Theater of Piraeus (2019–2020), “Pride and Prejudice” at Alkyonis Theater (2020) and in radio play format for the Hellenic Broadcasting Corporation (2021), Anton Chekhov’s “The Seagull” at the National Theater and for the Hellenic Broadcasting Corporation (2021) as well as “Filiki Eteria: The Brotherhood Behind the Revolution”, commissioned by the Piraeus Bank Group Cultural Foundation on the occasion of the bicentennial of the Greek Revolution, which toured the country.

Ioli Andreadi’s work is about love, hidden stories, unique personalities. “Anything that moves me can be a theme,” she explains. “To succeed as a creator, you need to make sure the story your audience watches heals them of something – even if that something is minuscule.”

Among her defining experiences were her studies in the UK. “Far from Greece and the safety I felt here among my group, who knew me as a quiet girl, London was where I realized that it pays off to use your instinct in theater, to express my personal (or collective) trauma or desires, or my stranger side, regardless of how I am in my daily life and how quiet a life I may lead,” she explains.

As for the common threads that run across all her work, from directing to writing, research and radio plays? “The desire to discover stories and pass them on in your own way – what humans have been doing since prehistoric times.”