The Melbourne Fringe Festival was launched this week, with dozens of Greek Australians participating among nearly 300 shows, as performers, musicians and in festival management.

Melbourne Fringe Festival CEO, Esther Anatolitis, says Greek Australians have a strong history of involvement in the Melbourne Fringe Festival.

“There are not only Greek Australian artists, but every year there are reinventions of Greek classics,” she said.

Ms Anatolitis said the Greek Australian community was a crucial part of Melbourne’s vibrant arts scene.

“You can’t have innovation without cultural diversity – that’s absolutely key,” she said.

“The Melbourne Fringe community are, as individuals and as a community, culturally diverse, curious and open to new ideas. These are the makers of culture and the very foundation of that is cultural diversity,” she said.

She said Greek ideals had a lot to offer art.

“There are two tensions – the maintenance of tradition, alongside politically charged criticism,” she said.

Greek Australian artists are well-represented across the performance, comedy, and music program.

Comedic highlights include Vachel Spirason in his solo visual comedy show, The Hermitude of Angus, Ecstatic, award-winning comedian Xavier Michelides in Floating Narrative and Yiannis Koullas in Anxiety: I was so scared I did kaka in my pants.

Sydney-based singer-songwriter Catherine Traicos will be performing in Melbourne for one night only in Notes from Hell, a musical performance inspired by Dante’s Divine Comedy.

Award-winning local theatre group The Hayloft Project will dissect Greek and Roman myths in a revamped version of Seneca’s Thyestes.

Ms Anatolitis, a former board member of the Antipodes Festival, said her Greek heritage and, in particular, her father, gave her a good foundation for a career in the arts.

“He raised me with a strong creative sense,” she said.

“If I had the right tools, the right materials and the right ideas, I could do whatever I want.”

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