The Life story

The Biography Of Nicholas Georgiadis


Nicholas Georgiadis was born on September 14th, 1923 in Athens, Greece. Raised from humble beginnings, he was the youngest of three children, his sister Elly and his brother Dimitris (Mimis) were twins. His father Harilaos a hotel employee at Grande Bretagne in Athens, listened only to opera to the end of his days and knew all the famous arias off by heart reciting them word for word. His mother Maria, a housewife, with roots from the Greek island of Andros, had a strong personality and was a lover of film. His parents made sure all three of their children were well educated. Nico’s brother became a successful civil engineer, his sister a pharmacist and they urged Nico to study architecture which led to a degree in Architecture from the National Metsovian University in Athens (1942-1946) under the Greek painter Nicos Hatzikyriakos-Ghikas. Nico’s greatest love however was painting. Between 1943-1944 he attended the Rota School of Drama, in Athens, run by Greek stage designer Andonis Fokas and sculptor Thanassis Apartis who taught him drawing. He also followed painting and stage design classes run by Greek painter Yannis Tsarouhis and life drawing by Yannis Gaitis and Yorgos Mavroidis.

From Aug 1942 to Feb 1952 Nico undertook his military service in Volos with Greek childhood friend Minos Volanakis. From 1949 to 1952 he was a member of the Art Group Armos exhibiting paintings and stage designs in one man and group shows. In 1948 he had his first one man show together with Greek painter Panayotis Tetsis, in 1951 he designed his first stage designs for the Rex Theatre in Athens and in 1952 made his first book illustrations for a play by I. Loverdos. Between 1952 and 1953 Nico won a Fullbright Post-Graduate Scholarship in Architecture at Columbia in New York. Whilst there he designed a ballet “GriGri” for the Choreographer’s Workshop at Kauffman Auditorium.


Nicholas Georgiadis, Danses Concertantes (1955), Sadler’s Wells Ballet

a talent Discovered

In 1953 Nico won a British Council Scholarship in Painting and Stage Design at the Slade School of Art, Theatre Department, studying under Sir William Coldstream and Robert Medley. In 1954 he made his first designs for a UCL stage production of a play by Christopher Fry. In 1955 he was awarded First Prize for Stage Design at the Slade School of Art and subsequently was discovered by Dame Ninette de Valois and the young choreographer Kenneth Macmillan at the Slade and commissioned his first professional stage designs for Sadler’s Wells Theatre Ballet.

This marked the beginning of a professional partnership between Georgiadis and MacMillan that was to last for almost four decades.

From 1955 to his death in 2001, Georgiadis worked on some of the most acclaimed productions in ballet, opera and theatre.

For MacMillan, he designed a great number of ballets, including Danses Concertantes (1955), Romeo and Juliet (1965), Manon (1974), Mayerling (1978), Orpheus (1982) and The Prince of the Pagodas (1989). Many of these productions continue to be performed to this day, both at the Royal Opera House, London, and internationally and are considered masterpieces in the history of dance.

He also collaborated closely with Rudolf Nureyev on such works as Swan Lake (1964), Sleeping Beauty (1966), The Nutcracker (1968), Raymonda (1972), Dox Quixote (1979), The Tempest (1982) and Michael Conway Baker’s Washington Square (1985).

Some of his early collaborations for the theatre were with childhood friend Minos Volanakis, such as Aristophanes’s Lysistrata for the Royal Court (1957), Henri de Montherlant’s La Reine Morte for Oxford Playhouse (1961) and Shakespeare’s Julius Caesar (1962) for the Old Vic. In 1978, the Old Vic housed Prospect Theatre’s paired productions of his Anthony and Cleopatra (in high Renaissance plumes) and All For Love (in Restoration dress). His operas included Covent Garden’s spectacular Aida and Les Troyens, and among his films was The Trojan Women (1971), starring Katharine Hepburn and Vanessa Redgrave.

Nico passed away in London in 2001 which he considered his home at age 77 and this Season 2023/2024 the Royal Opera House celebrates the Centenary from his birth with the restaging of his greatest collaboration with Kenneth Macmillan the ballet Manon that is celebrating its 50th Anniversary at the Royal Opera House stage. A broadcast of Manon will ensue in cinemas in the UK on February 7th 2024. It is therefore fitting to launch this website in his Centenary Year!



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