Smallville is an art initiative that shapes the concept of social interaction in rural areas. It confronts the problem of social exclusion, aspiring to empower the social nexus of small geographical communities. The “Informal Social Councils” are meetings for citizens, who interact, share stories and practice performative arts. The goal is to empower the citizens’ network and motivate them to create change on their behalf. Simultaneously, and as it is born out of the storytelling culture, Smallville uses nonfiction theater with non-professional actors as a vehicle for maximizing interaction. The citizens are empowered to bring their experience on stage, thus communicating it with more people. Smallville was conceptualized due to the urgent need for building a community that allows interaction and participation to take place in rural contexts; therefore Smallville takes care that groups, which are usually excluded, are also invited. As its nature is highly adaptable, it has the capability to suit to the unique characteristics of different towns. All in all, this project transforms the small town into an all-inclusive territory and acts as an igniter to promote access to the cultural offer beyond the urban contexts.
Elias developed the project with the support of START - Create Cultural Change. START is a program of the Robert Bosch Stiftung, conducted in cooperation with the Goethe-Institut Thessaloniki, and the German Association of Sociocultural Centers, supported by the John S. Latsis Public Benefit Foundation and the Bodossaki Foundation.
Elias is a member the Robert Bosch Alumni Network and collaborates frequently with projects supported by it (Campfire Stories, Talk Talk etc.). In 2019 he was the keynote speaker at the opening event of START program’s final year in Berlin.