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George Eugeniou (born June 1931) is a Cypriot actor, director and writer. He is the founder and artistic director of Theatro Technis in London, England, which was established in 1957.
Early life and career
He trained at Morley College, where he met Frank Drew, who gave him free lessons in diction and voice. With Drew's help, Eugeniou received a scholarship at the Webber Douglas Academy of Dramatic Art, where he won a Spotlight and a Webber Cup awards for his acting abilities.
In 1954 he joined Dundee Repertory Theatre company in Scotland as assistant stage manager, while also performing small parts. Then, he returned to London and joined a Cypriot amateur group under the auspices of The Cypriot Brotherhood with Paul Stasino, Anna Koutayiar and Theo Moreas. One year later he joined Sir Donald Wolfit's company which was performing the play The Strong are Lonely, touring all the major cities of England ending at Piccadilly Theatre first and then at the Haymarket Theatre. In 1956, he joined Joan Littlewood's Theatre Workshop in Stratford East with several productions, including The Quare Fellow by Brendan Behan.
In 1957, Eugeniou founded Theatro Technis, which was neither commercial nor subsidised, with the help of a group of actors, workers and students, including Andreas Markou, Stelios Kyriacou, Medea O'Brennon, Andy Lysandrou and Spyros Kyprianou. Theatro Technis can be defined as a "radical and total" theatre as Eugeniou's philosophy is to break barriers between nationalities, religions, genders, sexual orientations, classes, ages and languages.
Eugeniou has totally dedicated himself to Theatro Technis, abandoning his career as a mainstream actor, apart from a few movies in the 1950s and '60s. As Theatro Technis' artistic director he devised, directed and acted in numerous productions, often inspired by Cypriot or Greek artists and events. He was among the first to produce plays written or acted by black personalities such as Mark Heath, Harcourt Nichols, and Peter Blackman. Eugeniou has helped hundreds of student from all over London and abroad, proposing work-experiences or internships, free of charge. His passion for alternative theatre remains a common thread in his work as he always believes that the creative spirit is not for sale.
Help to the Cypriot community
In 1967, he initiated the Cyprus Week, an annual festival to highlight the Cypriot culture and way of life in the United Kingdom and to create a greater awareness of the struggle of Cyprus against British colonialism and Turkish invasion of Cyprus. He is also one of the founders of the National Federation of Cypriots in England, an umbrella organisation of more than one hundred Cypriot organisations.
In 1968, he created the first Cypriot Advisory Service in the United Kingdoms, which has helped thousands of Cypriot migrants and refugees receive welfare benefits, education, or housing. He also instigated and helped build the Cyprus Villages Housing in partnership with St Pancras Housing Association in the late 1980s. This "from life to art to life" philosophy is a cornerstone of his work.
In 1969, George Eugeniou married Maroulla Sekkides, who became an actress with Theatro Technis. They have a son Aris, who is also dedicated to the theatre.