Greece’s cultural ministry recently announced four-year cultural activity plan in view of 2004 Athens Olympics. The project is called the Cultural Olympiad and will include large-scale events. The cultural ministry has formulated a budget of some 35 billion drachmas for the project. Some of the events will bring in cash through ticket sales, others will be funded through sponsorship deals.
Recently, the culture ministry announced the board of directors of this newly set up organization, which will select cultural events and will also be in charge of all cultural activities to take place during the actual Olympic Games.
Internationally renowned film director Michael Cacoyiannis -whose films include Stella (1954), Zorba the Greek (1965) and last year’s Cherry Orchard, starring Alan Bates- is chairing the board. The first major project has already been commissioned though: a brand-new opera that will have its world premiere during the 2004 Olympic Games. In the countdown for the Cultural Olympiad Cacoyannis will be assisted by another soon-to-be-announced five-member committee, which will be responsible for the day-to-day running of operations and the execution of plans drafted by the board.
The culture minister announced that the 35-billion-drachma budget will be complemented by another 15 billion for the upgrading of ancient sites at Olympia, the original site of the ancient Olympic Games. It is believed that a number of activities on the calendar of the Greek Festival will be incorporated in the list of activities of the Cultural Olympiad, while numerous parallel events will be staged on the route of the Olympic torch in 2004.
Furthermore, the culture ministry has expressed a keen interest for these events to spill over into neighbouring countries, including Turkey, Albania, FYROM, Italy and Cyprus.