I create multidisciplinary performances across different forms of art, from music and theatre to dance, visual arts, and literature, with a special emphasis on the political, collectivity, and new media. My aesthetic agenda is two-fold: challenging the "theatre of convention" and mobilizing citizens as an integral component of the art-making process.
Papakonstantinou creates live performances with an emphasis on opera, new plays and new media. While revisiting the classics in immersive experiences that involve multiple actors of the community, her art connects notions of myth, politics and major narratives of our days.
Papakonstantinou has lived in the UK for over a decade and has created and presented her work in international festivals and venues like: Edinburgh Festival (UK), LaMaMa ETC, (USA), the West End (UK), Prague Quadrennial 15 (CH), National Theatre of Greece (GR), Inauguration Ceremony of the Bibliotheca Alexandrina (EG), Operadagen Festival (HL), Neukoellner Oper Berlin (GE), Megaron (National Concert Hall) (GR), Musikteatre Festival (AU) and more.
Papakonstantinou has been commissioned by European Capitals of Culture “Valetta18” (Malta), “Eleusis21” (Greece) and ‘Pafos17’ (Cyprus) and has presented her work for the European Parliament for Culture in 2017. Her creations tour internationally including representing Greece at PQ (official Hellenic participation Prague Quadrennial 2015).
Amongst other artistic achievements, her last work the Cave was awarded a “Music Theatre NOW 2018-19 international Award”, while for other works she has received a “First Prize Award” at the Edinburgh Festival (UK) and a “First Prize Award 2017” for the REP, Birmingham (UK).
Papakonstantinou shaped her ideas from the civic movements that emerged in Greece during the crisis. She pledges her talent to increase the peace. During the crisis in Greece, Papakonstantinou engaged herself beyond the “usual” role of a theatre director to become politically engaged entrepreneur, founded and directed Vyrsodepseio, a 3,000 sq.m. art space in Athens (2011-2017). Vyrsodepseio served as a base for the international performance company ODC Ensemble (directed by Papakonstantinou since 2002) but also as a vibrant hub, an evolving project for horizontal politics and synergies with a focus on international networking (a proud partner of three Creative Europe projects and member of the independent networks Trans Europe Halles and IETM).
Named a Visiting CCRMA Scholar by Stanford University and a visiting scholar by Princeton University and nominated twice with a Fulbright Artist’s Award, Papakonstantinou tends to defy traditional categories. She conducted a free fall on the same day as directing Shakespeare’s Richard II for the first time. She is a mountaineer and her passion for the high peaks often takes her as far as the top of Kilimanjaro in Tanzania or the Himalayas; she could spend her life under water and is always looking for more opportunities to create cross sectorial and multimedia hybrid work. Papakonstantinou founded the company ODC Ensemble to challenge what opera and music theatre is all about. She writes and directs all of the company’s works.
Papakonstantinou holds a BA at the School of Arts, University of Thessaloniki (GR) and an MA and M.Phil at the Royal Holloway, University of London (UK).
She is currently working on her upcoming creations Oedipus: Sex with Mum was blinding that premiered at Stanford University, USA in April 2019 and The kindly Ones to be presented in 2019 at the Mauthausen Concentration Camp Memorial in Austria.
It was as if a bomb exploding at the foundations of Athens Festival…
Papakonstantinou and her ensemble do not beat around the bush: what they really mean to do is to (re) negotiate our turbulent historical present.
Iliana Dimadi | Athinorama | 16.06.2016
Α trip to Utopia…
If theatre is an empty space that is meant to be revisited, with each new performance presented at Vyrsodepseio, Papakonstantinou restructures the entire space to match her dramatic concept.
Dimitris Tsatsoulis | Eleftherotypia | 03.06.2013
Explosive and epic work, by turns horrific and hilarious, appalling and endearing, is wonderfully brought to the stage thanks to Ellis imaginative direction…
Dimitris Maronitis | To Vima | 30.08.2009
Elli Papakonstantinou dares to speak out about painful things…
Elli Papakonstantinou dares to speak out about painful things, both in Greece and abroad, toys with clichés and turns them upside down… After all, we should know by now that Papakonstantinou has a talent for bringing to life such moments of euphoric anarchy.
Giorgos Voudiklaris | Popaganda : At the Athens Festival premier | 16.06.2016
Elli, οne of the best representatives of Greek avant-garde, never seizes to surprise us…
ELLI’s 3 STRONG POINTS
Audience engagement: Elli shapes theatre into live experiences, driving audiences to long promenades within industrial spaces.
Music: Music works in a transcendental way, taking audiences into a space-time beyond the ordinary.
Extroversion: Her work evolves through international residencies and collaborations…
Maria Kryou | Athinorama | 28.01.2018
A performance that made us believe, 500 years ago, Shakespeare was actually writing for Greece in crisis…
Christos Zografos | Eleftherotypia | 27.02.2014