Classical Play and Ancient Olympics Impact Activities Quantitative

Classical Play and Ancient Olympics Impact Activities
Quantitative and qualitative evidence
1. UCL Classical Play 2013: Euripides’ Trojan Women
2013 sales: 1935 tickets sold for Trojan Women
2012 sales: 1879 tickets sold for Hippolytus.
 05 February 2013 (Simon Goldhill)
 06 February 2013 (Chris Carey)
 07 February 2013 (Rosa Andújar)
130 attendees
56 attendees
122 attendees
308 attendees
Geograhical spread (sample of schools who attended the lectures):
Besides various London area schools (e.g. Old Palace of John Whitgift School, Putney High
School) groups from the following schools also attended:
Kingswood School (Bath)
King Edward VI Five Ways School (Birmingham)
Varndean College (Brighton)
Chigwell School (Essex)
Abingdon School (Oxfordshire)
Kendrick School (Reading)
Woldingham School (Surrey)
St. Swithun's School (Winchester)
We also attracted a couple of groups of university students: from the University of Leicester,
the Open University, and Brigham Young University (study abroad in London).
05 February 2013 (David Stuttard)
20 attendees (2 groups: students from St Swithuns
School and The Howard School)
06 February 2013 (Russell Bender) 20 attendees (2 groups: students from Vardean College
and Colchester County High School for
Girls, plus one member of the public)
07 February 2013 (Deb Pugh)
20 attendees (1 group from Brigham Young University
and members of the public)
60 attendees
Question: Do you think that the performance of Trojan Women has improved either your or
your students’ understanding of the play?
It brought it to life and made sense of the conventions of Greek tragedy e.g. choral
singing/dancing. (Member of the general public)
Visualisation of the play and discussion afterwards about setting, staging, use of
chorus, interpretation of character. (Mother from Norfolk who brought her A-level
Good reminder of plot and character, interesting insight into the characters of
Andromache, Cassandra and Helen in particular. (Teacher from St Margaret’s
School, Bushey)
Useful to see any production that follows the play quite closely – so good for storyline
revision rather than the interpretation which we felt was less useful. (Teacher from
Putney High School)
A visual reinforcement of their study – especially good after hearing Prof Goldhill!
Even the parts of the play they didn’t like, they were able to justify why using good
references to the Euripides. (Teacher from Kennet School, West Berkshire)
I had not seen this play performed before, nor read it for many years (perhaps
decades) so it was a useful reintroduction. A female, Trojan perspective on ancient
warfare and on a story told normally from a Greek, male, perspective was well
portrayed and illuminating. The choice of a modern, WWII, setting, sometimes
works, sometimes not, for Classical drama, this time it worked and showed that
however much times have changed over the last couple of thousand years, the
suffering and cruelty of war continues. (Member of the general public)
They found some of the portrayals surprising (e.g. Cassandra, the Chorus) and this
challenged them to revisit the play and their existing interpretations. (Teacher from
Blackheath High School GDST, London)
I thought it was interesting to see how much the chorus hated Helen out of all
proportion to the others they had at hand to hate. It brought out the misogyny in the
play – I also thought the blank and almost mechanical Greek guards really gave the
sense of a faceless masculine enemy, which made it easier for the women to attack
Helen because she was more human – easier to get a purchase on. It was very
revealing to set the play during the war, with the gods as Hollywood ‘gods’- it really
made the context of war understandable. I didn’t think it was quite so successful to
have the women as English, though, because England wasn’t conquered and defeated
like Troy was. It would have worked better if it was set in Berlin, and the Trojan
women were German. To see the atrocities committed by the allies/Greeks and the
suffering of woman associated with the historical ‘other’ would have better reflected
the circumstances for Euripides’ original audience, who were seeing themselves
depicted as aggressors while the Trojans/‘others’ get all the sympathy.
I’m a fiction writer and in future work I’ll be looking at using different characters to
express viewpoints that shape the attitude and position of a central character – in the
same way that Hecuba’s position is defined by the grief of others as well as her own.
(Member of the general public)
Question: If you attended a lecture, how did it contribute to your or your students’
understanding of Greek drama?
It highlighted and summarised the issues of the play; gave a verbal context. It’s
important to hear someone speak about these things, not just read it in a book.
(Member of the public)
Simon Goldhill’s lecture was excellent. It was really helpful for giving complete
beginners (Year 10 Latin students with no knowledge of the Greeks or Greek theatre)
a great introduction to the basics of these topics. Entertaining too. (teacher from
Hampton School)
Prof Goldhill spoke in such an engaging manner and it really enlightened us all on the
inner workings of the play and what makes it so successful. Pupils took excellent
notes and that fuelled discussion afterwards on the way home as well as in class.
Notes will be excellent for revision. (teacher from Kennet School, West Berkshire)
I had not been to a lecture before and brought my (non-Classicist) wife who found it
invaluable background to a play she had not been aware of previously. The lecture
was pitched at a good level so my non-Classicist wife (a New Zealander with a
background in IT who had not even done any Latin, let alone Greek, at school) was
able to appreciate it and know what to expect from the play; whereas I (a UCL
Deptartments of Greek & Latin Alumnus who was involved in the Greek Plays in the
late 1980s) was able to refresh my memory of the play and see different viewpoints
about the characters. (Member of the general public)
Excellent lecture by Prof Carey. Accessible and thought provoking. Just the right
level. Good experience for my daughter of being in a “uni lecture.” (Mother from
North Norfolk who brought her A-level daughter to the lecture and performance)
Professor Chris Carey was brilliant. The lecture was pitched really well. My girls
were particularly appreciative that he stayed to speak to them all personally,
answering their questions on Talthybios and beyond. (teacher from Colchester County
High for Girls)
I really enjoyed the lecture by Dr Rosa Andújar. The content was similar to a lecture
I gave at Northampton theatre to accompany the Bacchae, but it included some
elements I didn’t make explicit, and was delivered very well. Although none of the
material was new to me it did make me think about some aspects in a different way
(particularly the idea of female characters on the stage being distanced from male
audiences as different from Athenian women.) (PhD candidate from the Open
We were very pleased that the lecture did not just deal with the text, but extended the
students’ knowledge by looking at the role of women and mourning, and by
introducing other texts. (Teacher from Blackheath High School GDST London)
The lecture was a very useful summary of the key issues in the play, and opened up
some interesting points to look out for in the performance. The idea of varieties of
defeat expounded by different characters really helped me understand the structure of
the play. (Member of the public)
Question: If you attended a workshop, how did it enhance your or your students’ engagement
with Greek drama?
The girls did really enjoy it, and gained a greater understanding of how the chorus
functions by ‘being’ the chorus. It was good for them to get away from the academic
pressures and embrace the workshop! (teacher from Colchester County High for
I really enjoyed the workshop – it was a lot of fun, and brought out some great ideas
for creating meaning on stage with movement. It made me realise how much we’re
lost, in only have the words extant. (Member of the general public)
Question: If [you purchased one], what aspects of it did you find useful for your learning or
[I found useful] the info about the director’s concept of the play and the section by the
UCL members of faculty – to promote discussion (Mother from North Norfolk who
brought A level daughter)
Haven't read [the programme] yet, though will probably scan the essays and use them
in future teaching. (Teacher from Chigwell School)
Liked the Director’s notes, explaining the choice of Second World War, and the other
essays. We have subsequently discussed these. (Teacher from Blackheath High
School GDST, London)