Performing Arts Organizations' Communication Through Posters in Greece: A Semiotic Approach

Performing Arts Organizations' Communication Through Posters in Greece: A Semiotic Approach

Maria Koloka, Eirini Papadaki
Copyright: © 2023 |Pages: 16
DOI: 10.4018/IJSVR.319802
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This paper proposes an analysis of a sample of Greek cultural organizations' visual messages as polysemiotic, multimodal signs, in an attempt to examine the role of such messages for the communication strategy of cultural organizations. The sample constitutes visual messages from three Greek cultural organizations, each representing a different type of performing art. These organizations are Greek National Theatre, the National Opera of Greece, and the International Short Film Festival in Drama. All messages included in the study are messages promoting specific cultural events and, simultaneously, the organization as a brand. Through morphological and semiotic analysis of the respective messages of the selected organizations, a series of issues are going to be examined, including the way cultural organizations' messages are composed and projected, their relevance to the specific organization, and the impact of messages both in promoting a cultural event and the organization's brand, as well as maintaining and developing an organization's audience.
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The cultural organizations that were selected to be included in this study are historical institutions in the Greek cultural scene and have earned international recognition for the work they produce. The reasons for their selection are their status as big brand names in the Greek contemporary cultural setting—as a result of being under the auspices of the Greek Ministry of Culture and named “national”-, their successful communication strategy and the big impact their cultural, educative and/or social activities have on Greek audiences. The specific cultural organizations are among the key institutions that shape the performing arts scenery in contemporary Greece. They were chosen to cover a big range of mainly visual performing arts, from theater, opera and ballet dance, to film.

To be more specific, this paper examines a selection of posters produced by the National Theater of Greece, the National Opera and the International Short Film Festival of Drama. The National Theatre of Greece was built in a central part of Athens in 1891 based on the designs of the well-known Austrian architect Ernst Ziller, as the first National Scene in Greece. Since its establishment it has hosted many important theater plays, with well-known and much-admired artists such as Maria Callas, Katina Paxinou, Melina Mercouri, etc. Nowadays it houses a Drama School, an International Laboratory of Ancient Drama, a Teacher Training Academy, as well as workshops for children, adolescents and adults. Its’ main aim is to educate its audiences in relation to performing arts and strengthen, through theatrical art, their spiritual cultivation. The National Opera was founded in 1939 as part of the Royal Theatre. Its mission is to offer to Greek and foreign audiences high quality performances of operas, operettas, ballets, children's operas, recitals, etc. It houses a professional dance school, as well as educational programs aimed at all age groups. The repertoire of the only national Lyric Theatre in Greece covers four centuries of lyric art, from works by Monteverdi to contemporary Greek authors. Finally, the International Short Film Festival of Drama has been an annual meeting place for filmmakers and industry professionals since 1978. The festival is Europe's leading Greek and southeastern gateway to the world's most prestigious Short Film Awards, and nominated directors qualify to participate in the European Film Awards.

The aim of this paper is to examine the role of posters as communication channels between a cultural organization and its audiences, but also as signs themselves. Therefore, three vital elements of the communication process will be analyzed: the senders of the messages (namely the cultural organizations’ scope and will of their main actors), the posters’ messages (the semiotic systems used), as well as the role of the reader in the interpretation process. The methodological tools used include interviews with the communication officers of the organizations (the senders), the semiotic analysis of the posters themselves (the messages) and the audience reception (the receivers, through onsite ethnographic research). The main research questions of the study are:

  • What kind of semiotic systems do performing arts’ organizations mainly use?

  • What is the role of posters in the communication strategy of a cultural organization regarding both the communication with its audiences and the creation/strengthening of its brand?

  • Are there common formulas used among performing arts’ organizations?

  • What kind of audiences do posters attract: the organizations’ audiences exclusively or the curious minds of general audience?

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