BIO: Leonidas Kassapides

Leonidas Kassapides was born in Thessaloniki Greece, he graduated from Anatolia College, a high school that was moved from Asia Minor to Greece: he holds a degree in Theater Arts from Berea College (the oldest theater program in the country) of Kentucky.

He has been a professional Greek Shadow Theater performer, designer and writer since 1989. He has been teaching shadow Theater as an artist in residence for 20 years in all levels of schools. Mostly in the Bay Area producing an average of 50 short shadow plays a year.

Although his grandfather of the same name was also a Karaghiozopektis he died when Leonidas was 7; so he had to adopt different shadow masters and dalangs from Thailand, Turkey, Indonesia, China and Russia, in order to quench his thirst and need for shadow theater. He is dedicated to preserving this dying art not only for it's cultural and artistic importance but also because when he was young he would have epileptic seizures when the moon was full and his grandfather would take him to see a Karaghiozis shadow play to cure him.

He has designed and performed the Shadows for Lou Harisson's Rapunzel at the Cabrillo Contermporary Classical music festival. He has been a performer for 10 of Larry Reed's ShadowLight Productions and he assists him when he performs Balinese Shadow Theater and has over 100 Karaghiozis plays in his repertoire .

He performs an annual original Halloween shadow play with live middle eastern and Greek music at Union Square in downtown San Francisco. He is currently collaborating with Kunst-Stoff for a dance in shadows production with Rembetiko music. He also gets grants in order to perform as a juggler and eccentric clown in children's hospitals and orphanages in Greece and the US.

Leonidas Experiments with different sizes of projection screens and lights making sure that the tradition of shadow theater keeps evolving while keeping it's primitiveness and low-tech magic. He has been on tour since 1989 performing and teaching workshops in theaters, museums, schools, outdoors locations and he is about to start performing a new show every month in an alley in the Tenderloin of San Francisco.

Leonidas Kassapides