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Performing Greek drama in Oxford and on tour with the Balliol Players

Wrigley, A. (2011) Performing Greek drama in Oxford and on tour with the Balliol Players. University of Exeter Press. ISBN 9780859898447

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Performing Greek Drama in Oxford traces enduring connections between antiquity and dramatic performance in modern Oxford, discussing landmark events from the 16th century to the 1970s. This performance history of classical texts, especially those by the Greek dramatists, illuminates contemporary responses to debates on such matters as the position of women students, the dangers perceived to be associated with undergraduate acting and the position of classics within the curriculum at the University of Oxford. The book consistently engages with the history of theatrical performance of ancient plays beyond Oxford, for example, John Masefield’s Boars Hill Players, Penelope Wheeler’s Greek plays at the Front, and the link with the London stage through companies touring to Oxford, such as that led by Sybil Thorndike. Many of these engagements with Greek drama were facilitated by the connection with the classical scholar Gilbert Murray, who plays a central part in the history. The final chapters tell the story of the Balliol Players, a group of students who, fired by the post-war missionary enthusiasm of the early 1920s and supported by the elderly Thomas Hardy, determined to take Greek plays in translation to school and public audiences in the south and west of England in their summer vacations. Born from a socially idealistic impulse, the tradition lasted for over five decades, during which time these summer tours evolved from earnest productions of tragedy to satirical and irreverent re-writings of Aristophanes, typical of the spirit of the 1960s.

Item Type:Book
Divisions:No Reading authors. Back catalogue items
ID Code:71652
Publisher:University of Exeter Press

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