Cheers George! Founder of Theatro Technis celebrates 90th birthday
Despite suffering from a recent bout of ill health, George Eugeniou has just completed his latest play, A Game of Golf
Thursday, 30th December 2021 — By Angela Cobbinah
George Eugeniou at his party with Phil Ryan performing
THE founder of a theatre in Somers Town was given a This Is Your Life-style celebration to mark his 90th birthday.
George Eugeniou was shown slides documenting his life with one of the stills featuring him in the 1957 film Miracle In Soho. He set up the pioneering Theatro Technis in Crowndale Road 65 years ago.
It went from a room to a garage and then a Victorian railway shed before ending up at its current base, where the party was held earlier this month.
Originally from Cyprus, George abandoned a promising film career after appearing in a production for Joan Littlewood’s radical Theatre Workshop at Stratford East in the 1950s. Inspired, he decided to set up his own alternative theatre – one that would become a focal point of the Cypriot community and also be a seed-bed of new writing and artistic talent.
Since then, he has staged hundreds of dramas, with many focused on the plight of his war-torn homeland and Cypriot refugees in the UK as well as modern adaptations of ancient Greek plays.
He also launched a number of initiatives, including a youth theatre and video workshop and made links with other groups in Camden and beyond.
“Generation after generation of people have been coming to this building and still love coming back to it. We know that this is a place that has changed all our lives,” said Kerry Michael who volunteered at Theatro Technis before going on to become the award-winning artistic director of the Theatre Royal Stratford East in 2004. “It has not been an easy road but we never give up and we will keep on going.”
George in 1976 outside Theatro Technis’ then home in a windswept piece of land off York Way
George told the packed house, thanking the “wonderful artists and musicians” who had given such loyal support through the decades. He also paid tribute to councillors Roger Robinson and Paul Tomlinson as well as the late New Journal editor Eric Gordon for the way they had always championed the work of the theatre.
In turn, Cllr Tomlinson thanked George for his “wonderful contribution to Camden and to the arts in general” but especially for his work with young people. Harpist Ricardo García-Curbelo, percussionist Lord Eric, and Vasilis Panayi of London Greek Radio and Hellenic TV were also among those contributing to the evening’s entertainment.
Along with Phil Ryan, whose first stage play was dramatised by Theatro Technis in 1989, they have all worked closely with George over the years.
Despite suffering from a recent bout of ill health, George has just completed his latest play, A Game of Golf – featuring main characters Donald Trump and Boris Johnson – which is to be staged in the new year, while continuing to oversee plans to build an extension to the theatre that will enable it to expand its activities.