International Festival of Classical Theatre for Youth

The International Festival of Classical Theatre for Youth, hosted in Palazzolo Acreide in Syracuse, Italy, is a renowned theatre festival organised by INDA, the National Institute of Ancient Drama (Istituto Nazionale del Dramma Antico), and dedicated to the future of classical theatre. Since 1991, young talents from around the world have converged at the Greek Theatre of Akrai to reinterpret classical Greek and Roman texts. The festival celebrates Europe’s rich classical heritage while boldly forging ahead into the future, cultivating a deep appreciation for classical theatre, and fostering the next generation of artists and thinkers.

International Festival of Classical Theatre for Youth, Syracuse, ITALY

This annual event fosters creativity, participation, and cultural exchange. In 2023, 2,417 students from Italy and countries around the world presented 92 remarkable shows, continuing a tradition that has involved over 50,000 young students over the years. With its rich programme of performances, workshops, and cultural exchange, the International Festival of Classical Theatre for Youth celebrates classical culture while nurturing the next generation of theatre enthusiasts.

The festival’s influence extends to the local community, region, and nation. Serving as a cultural catalyst, it attracts an audience from across Italy and beyond. The festival has drawn large crowds to the marginalised mountain communities which are often omitted from tourism maps, thus boosting local businesses and leaving a lasting impact beyond the festival.

International Festival of Classical Theatre for Youth, Syracuse, ITALY

Notably, the festival’s dedication to educational outreach and inclusivity is exemplary. It stimulates societal discourse on significant issues, raising awareness among students about contemporary matters, and fosters social inclusion as students from diverse backgrounds collaborate openly. Offering workshops with acclaimed teachers, it offers a learning experience beyond the stage. Students, whether from high schools or academies, collaborate in an open and accessible environment that encourages diverse perspectives and creativity.

The International Festival of Classical Theatre for Youth is one of the many activities of INDA which was founded 110 years ago by a group of Sicilian patrons. Since then, it has been producing a season of classical performances every year in the Greek Theatre of Syracuse to promote classical culture and raise awareness of ancient theatre texts. INDA secures funding from various sources, including government grants, corporate sponsorships, and individual donations, ensuring financial stability.


The International Festival of Classical Theatre for Youth significantly contributes to the preservation and revitalisation of classical theatre, an element of Europe’s intangible cultural heritage. The festival has demonstrated great endurance over a long period of time, thanks also to the large-scale involvement of a professional community. It stands out for its innovative approach to engaging youth in cultural heritage, and has had great success in fostering a deeper appreciation of classical texts among a new generation. Looking to Greek and Roman theatre as a source of inspiration, the festival shows how this heritage is linked to the permanent values of European society and life”, the Awards’ Jury said.

Contact: Marina Valensise, INDA | |