Influencing Contemporary Theatre Practice

Research on Greek and Roman drama has offered theatre professionals new skills and insights. 

The life of drama is in performance and the archive at Oxford opens up what has been locked in a more narrow academic discipline into a potentially much wider and more generally available field of interest and study

Tony Harrison, Poet, translator and dramatist

This knowledge and expertise, which has been developed by a research team based at the Archive of Performance of Greek and Roman Drama at the University of Oxford through a project that examined the international production and reception of classical plays since antiquity, is helping to sustain the distinctive and dynamic nature of the UK theatre sector.

The research team has had significant input at rehearsals, initiating discussions on the historical dimension of drama and performance interpretation. This has informed many contemporary productions, including Katie Mitchell's National Theatre production of Ted Hughes's translation of Aeschylus' Oresteia, the Northern Broadsides production of his adaptation of Euripides' Alcestis and a new version of Euripides' Medea at the Oxford Playhouse. A series of public lectures led by the group with prominent international theatre directors, including Poland's Wlodzimierz Staniewski, has drawn much attention from UK theatre practitioners. Researchers have also given public talks on aspects of classical theatre and have been featured on BBC Radios 3 and 4.

Oresteia poster

A large digital archive is widely accessible and of particular interest to directors, composers, designers, choreographers and actors. Since 2005, this online database has received more than 10,000 hits. It has also led to the Onassis Programme, which commissions and produces work by international theatre artists inspired by classical Greek drama and a five-year grant of £400,000 from the Andrew W Mellon Foundation to further the programme's research.  

 

Funded by the Arts and Humanities Research Council