By Aleen L. Khanjian
PASADENA, Calif. — On Sunday, October 30, at 6:30 p.m., the Armenian General Benevolent Union (AGBU) will celebrate the Golden Jubilee of renowned actor, entertainer, comedian and director Krikor Satamian. The program, featuring speakers Assadour Guzelian from London, England, and Sarkis Minassian, as well as lifelong friends, co-stars and admirers of Satamian, will commemorate and honor his 50 years as an entertainer.
While Satamian is well known for his current role as director of the AGBU Ardavazt Theatre Group in Los Angeles, where he has served for a large part of his career, in addition to his role as the AGBU Western District’s artistic director, there is no denying that his history, diverse training and contribution to the international theatrical community is enduring.
Following his graduation from the American University of Beirut (AUB), Satamian attended the London School of Film Technique as well as the Bristol Old Vic Theater School. Following a season of theatrical performances at the Belgrade Theater in Coventry City, England, he returned to Lebanon to serve as the artistic director of the AGBU Vahram Papazian Theatre Group. While in Lebanon, Satamian also served as a lecturer of drama at AUB.
Satamian joined the AGBU Vahram Papazian Theatre Group as a young actor in 1960. Twelve years later, as its artistic director, he led the same theatre group on a well-received tour of Armenia. In 1975, Satamian led the group to France, England and Cyprus. Following his work with the Vahram Papazian Theatre Group, he went on to teach at the Bristol Old Vic Theater School before becoming resident director at New York’s famous, Off-Broadway company, “Colonnades Theater Lab,” in 1976. After his success at Colonnades, Satamian was invited to the “Hope Summer Repertory Company” to direct on three subsequent occasions.
Satamian has been an avid, active member of the AGBU since his early childhood. In 1978, here rejoined his beloved organization, in New York City, as its national artistic director. Since the 1970s, he has founded several AGBU theater companies in Boston, Detroit, New York, Philadelphia and Los Angeles. He was the artistic director of the AGBU Ardashad Theatre Group, as well as the producer and anchor of the AGBU-Spotlight Armenians TV program in New York City. In 1988, Satamian was appointed as artistic director of the AGBU Western District, and permanently relocated to Los Angeles. He then became the director of the AGBU Ardavazt Theater Group, which he had helped establish in 1979 together with Haig Messerlian and Parsegh Kartalian. To date, Satamian has directed and staged 75 plays, three operettas and acted in 85 productions.