A row over the staging of a play in the Salamis Amphitheatre in Famagusta is to be investigated by the south’s Auditor-General.
Supported by the Theatre Organisation of Cyprus (THOC) the Greek tragedy ‘Antigone’ had been attended by various ambassadors and diplomats on 28th September. The play was subtitled in Turkish and English and was only the second Greek tragedy to be performed at Salamis in 42 years.
Auditor-General Odysseas Michaelides said he was obliged to look into the matter because a complaint had come into his office from one of the House committees.
“Allegations were made about funds that were illegally used while there is also the claim that the proper authorities were not notified for approval prior to the production being staged at Salamis.”
Allegedly funds were channelled to the north in order for the play to be staged at the amphitheatre.
No formal permission had been granted, according to the auditor general, as the (South) Cyprus Antiquities Department claim that the amphitheatre falls under its jurisdiction even though it is currently located on the Turkish Cypriot side.
“Should any signs of foul play be uncovered,” continued Michaelides “then the matter will be handed over to the Attorney General [Costas Clerides] for further review.”
Supporters of the decision to stage the play in Salamis argue that art and drama should be kept separate from politics, while critics say that the organisation has “handed credibility and recognition” to the Turkish Cypriot authorities who, they say, are “illegally occupying the amphitheatre”.
‘Antigone’, produced by collaboration between THOC, the National Theatre of Greece (NTG) and the National Theatre of Northern Greece (NTNG), had been touring in Greece, Nicosia and Kourion before being staged in the north.
Leader of the ruling party DISY Averof Neophytou, has accused the opposition parties of launching an “over-zealous” complaint in “yet another blatant attempt to discredit the government”.