21st Annual Joint Postgraduate Symposium on Ancient Drama

Monday, June 28, 2021 - 9:00am to Tuesday, June 29, 2021 - 6:00pm

Challenging Traditions and Traditions of Challenge in the Theory and Practice of Greek and Roman Drama

Challenging Traditions and Traditions of Challenge in the Theory and Practice of Greek and Roman Drama

To register to attend the Symposium, please send an email to postgradsymp@classics.ox.ac.uk. You will receive a Zoom link to attend in due course.


Please address all enquiries to the Symposium Team at: 


Monday 28 June (all times BST / UTC+1)

11:30 Welcome

12:00 – 13:00 Madness and irreverence (Chair: Claire Barnes, Oxford)

  • Ruth McKimmie (University of Newcastle, Australia): ‘Same-same yet different: madness ancient and modern’
  • Marit Meinhold (Konstanz): ‘Oedipus meets Medusa - Pan Pan’s Oedipus Loves You

13:00 – 14:15 Lunch

14:15 – 15:30 Challenge and the body (Chair: Marcus Bell, Oxford)

  • Malina Buturovic (Princeton): ‘The Survival of the Body: Hedva Performs Euripides’
  • Eri Georgakaki (National & Kapodistrian University of Athens): ‘The challenging reception of Euripides in nineteenth-century Greece, or, how to restore an ancient poet’s fame out of the blame’
  • Zoe Harris-Wallis (UCL): ‘Within and against the fold: the challenge of the body in the costume and dance of Eva Palmer-Sikelianos’

15:30 – 16:00 Break

16:00 Guest lecture: Professor Clare Finburgh Delijani (Goldsmiths): Ghosts: From Aeschylus’s The Persians to Wajdi Mouawad's The Blood of Promises

17:00 – 18:00 Break

KCL Greek Play premiere - From The Machine (livestreamed on YouTube)

  • 18:00 Pre-show talk: Professor Gonda Van Steen and Dr Oliver Baldwin in discussion about Sophocles’ Philoctetes (pre-recorded)
  • 19:00 Performance

The pre-show talk and performance are free of charge but booking is essential. Please click here to book for both via Eventbrite.

Tuesday 29 June (all times BST / UTC+1)

10:30 Welcome 

10:45 Day 1 Guest Respondent: Dr Marchella Ward (Oxford)

11:15 – 11:30 Break

11:30 – 12:45 Tradition and (re)mediation (Chair: Giovanna Di Martino, UCL)

  • Zoë Jennings (Oxford): ‘Intermedial challenge in Daria Martin’s Minotaur with Anna Halprin (2008)’
  • Sophia Elzie (Oxford): ‘Against Fossilization: Reading Brian Friel’s Translations and the Odyssey
  • Menelaos Karantzas (National and Kapodistrian University of Athens): ‘Fragments on stage: how ancient dramatic fragments have been used in contemporary performances’

12:45 – 14:00 Lunch

14:00 - 15:00 Transformation and subversion (Chair: Zoë Jennings, Oxford)

  • Naser Albreeky (KCL): ‘Strategies of Undoing Colonialism in the New World: Parody and Classical Reception in Anglophone Caribbean Literature’
  • Julia Jennifer Beine (Ruhr-University Bochum): ‘Challenging an Ancient Comic Tradition (Un-)Intentionally: Molière’s L’Étourdi ou les contretemps

15:00 – 15:15 Break

15:15 In conversation: Dr Benjamin Poore (York) with Dr Henry Stead (St Andrews) and Dr Helen Eastman (theatre director; APGRD)

‘Challenging Traditions and Traditions of Challenge: The History Play in Modern Times’

16:00 – 16:15 Break

16:15 Day 2 Guest Respondent: Dr Lucy Jackson (Durham)

16:45 Plenary

Large print and PDF downloads of this information

About the symposium

This annual Symposium focuses on the reception of Greek and Roman tragedy and comedy, exploring the afterlife of these ancient dramatic texts through re-workings by both writers and practitioners across all genres and periods. This year’s focus on ‘Challenging Traditions and Traditions of Challenge’ takes as its starting point the contemporary challenges to traditional forms and structures of theatre which the pandemic has precipitated, but expands to encompass a broader historical perspective on what it means to challenge a tradition, to negotiate our involvement within traditions which are themselves challenging, and to build on traditions of challenge.

This year’s guest speaker will be Professor Clare Finburgh Delijani (Goldsmiths, University of London).

We will also have a guest respondent for both days: Dr Marchella Ward (Oxford) on the Monday and Dr Lucy Jackson (Durham) on the Tuesday.

The first day of the symposium will include the digital premiere of the 68th annual King’s College London Greek Play. In keeping with the symposium’s focus, this project is a first in the long tradition of the King’s Greek Play: the creation and staging of an entirely new piece of writing drawn from extant and fragmentary Greek tragedy. Symposium attendees will be among the first to experience this world premiere.


Postgraduates from around the world are welcome to participate, as are those who have completed a doctorate but not yet taken up a post. The symposium is open to speakers from different disciplines, including researchers in the fields of Classics, modern languages and literature, and theatre and performance studies.

Practitioners are welcome to contribute their personal experience of working on ancient drama. Papers may also include demonstrations or recorded material. Undergraduates are very welcome to attend.