HE IS HEAD OF DRAMA and Arts & Culture at King David, Victory Park, where he has staged several big school productions, including a much lauded version of ‘Fiddler on the Roof’ last year in which he played Tevya “at the insistence of both colleagues and students alike.”
PLAYWRIGHT RENOS SPANOUDES IS A GREEK-CYPRIOT WITH A JEWISH HEART.
The gregarious Spanoudes has other strings to his bow, too, which involve hosting a Saturday morning show on Hellenic Community Radio, being chairman of the Naledi Theatre Awards panel, directing plays, mentoring and lecturing on the arts. Last year Spanoudes realised a dream when he took a group of Jewish day school children on a 12-day Israel Encounter Tour, which he found one of the great experiences of his life. “My late mother always wanted to go to Israel. It was her dream, too, to ‘go to the place where Jesus walked. I realised this in her honour and for my soul.’
Spanoudes’ greatest passions, however, are acting and writing. He has left his mark on the professional stage in roles such as Verwoerd’s Assassin in ‘Living in Strange Lands: The Testimony of Tsafendas,’ and in the playwriting arena with his ‘Soil’ and ‘The Apple Tree’. His personal play, ‘Broken Plates,’ was staged last year at the Auto & General Theatre on the Square, at Mandela Square, for a three week run. It was described as “a theatrical treat of comedic Greek delicacies’’ and the stories that unfolded related to everyone in some way. The tales were garnered from family, friends and the writer’s own experiences. He said at the time he was extremely proud to bring this slice of intimate theatre to the stage in which he also performed in the various roles. In the past he wrote, directed or had someone else playing his creations.
Spanoudes said the work was inspired by his own personal journey as a South African of a Greek-Cypriot immigrant parentage, as well as by ‘Zorba the Greek’ and ‘My Big Fat Greek Wedding.’ It was at primary school in Johannesburg where it was discovered he had a strong aptitude for the arts, a legacy he now carries over into his professional life in the theatre and into the classroom.