The history of the theater in Zakynthos

Popular Theatre in Zakynthos (Zante), represents a remarkable folklore element.
Theatre in Zakynthos was born and developed in the period of the Venetian Rule, as the Venetians loved Arts and carried them together making them a very important part of their lives. The Zakynthians approached many of these arts in these years.

In 1571 the famous paly ” Perses” of Eshilos was brough in the island, although it was played only in the private lounges of the rich as in these days Zakynthos did not have a decent theatre to accommodate such a play.

During the last years of the Venetian rule, a small Theatre was created, in which started to attend not only the noble but also the inferior who began to adore this special art.

Homilies were mainly staged in squares and mostly during the Carnival day and it is outstanding that this tradition continues to this day.
Every year, they begin in Tsiknopempti and last until the Carnival Sunday.
Nowadays, Homilies do not have a political character. They are dealing with the social problems of the modern times, they have pedagogic content and cultivate the values that characterize the Zakynthian population.

Together with the Homilies, ancient plays were also organized from companies of amateurs. During the period 1965-1979, each summertime, an annual festival was organized in order for the locals to meet not only the polular theatre but also the Medieval and in general to get to know better this the splendid Art.
Apart from the Theatre the Zakynthians, loved the Opera. The most known writers of theatrical works were Antonios Matesis (Vasilikos) and Antonis Gouzeli.