The Whitman-Rinvolucri Greek Shadow Theater Collection

Totaling 84 double-sided reel-to-reel tapes and seven films recorded between 1962 and 1971, the Whitman-Rinvolucri Collection in the largest and most comprehensive archive of shadow puppet plays featuring Greece’s last active generation of master puppeteers, a diverse cohort of artists who drew on centuries of shared Greek, Turkish, and Ottoman traditions to interpret classic tales and engage in pointed social and political commentary. The Collection includes six tapes of performances made by Cedric Whitman in Herakleion, Crete, in 1962; 72 tapes and seven films of live performances, dictated texts of plays, samples of songs, and interviews with puppeteers throughout Greece recorded by Mario Rinvolucri in 1969; 5 tapes of live performances and interviews with puppeteers recorded by Janet Braithwaite in Greece in February 1971; and one tape of performances by an unknown recordist. The artists featured include Dionysis Alexopoulos, Antonaros, Sotiris Aspiotis, Avraam, Giorgos Charidimos, Generalis, Giannaros (Giannis Mourelatos), Savvas Gitsaris, Hayalı Küçük Ali, Spyros Karabalis, Kostas Kareklas, Katsanos, Vangos Korfiatis, Nikos Lekkas, Kostas Manos, Mimis Manos, Panagiotis Michopoulos, Dimitris Mitsakis,  Mimis Mollas, Giannis Mondanos, Giorgos Papanikolaou, Evgenios Spatharis, Thanasis Spyropoulos, Dinos Theodoropoulos, Vangos, and Vasilaros. The Collection was digitized and catalogued in 2015 through a Harvard University Libraries Hidden Collections grant for a project entitled “Sounds and Moving Images of Greek Shadow Theater.”


A page containing links to audio files of performances can be accessed here.

A catalogue containing a list of performers, works, and other information can be downloaded here.

For more information or to report any issues, contact