2013 University of Leeds - Antigone
The Michael Cacoyannis Foundation in Athens, Greece, is a distinguished cultural institute actively present in the cultural life of the city during the last five years. Being a major component of its general programme planning and action, the study, support and promotion of the performing arts highlights the importance of the Foundation as a significant cultural centre of international scope.
The Foundation’s initiative to host the Project «Ancient Drama: Influences and Contemporary Approaches», with the support of the Hellenic Ministry of Culture and Sports, provides us the opportunity to better understand the ways important foreign academic institutions are approaching and presenting ancient drama.
Apart from being a vital part of our cultural heritage, ancient Greek dramatic art consists an asset for contemporary theatre. The fact that foreign cultural institutions are dedicated to studying and promoting this heritage is evidence of an appreciation based on the perception that culture may lead the way; and Greece is at the core of this effort at a global scale in the field of culture taking also into consideration sociopolitical dimensions.
Even with the crisis we experience, the Michael Cacoyannis Foundation presents a successful educational programme for a second successive year, underlining that creative actors in Greece continue to be productive, and actively contribute to the promotion of culture.
I wish that this initiative, and the creative undertaking of the Foundation carries on in the future, and becomes an established institution for the study of ancient drama.
I wish you the best of success on this significant cultural project.
Minister of Culture and Sports, Greece
It is with great joy that we welcome for the second time in Athens, at the Michael Cacoyannis Foundation, all those participating in the Programme «Ancient Drama: Influences and Modern Approaches». This year, we are very happy to receive new friends from the University of Leeds’ School for Performance and Cultural Industries, an academic foundation renowned for its high standards.
The initiative by the Michael Cacoyannis Foundation to establish an international network on ancient Greek drama – currently financed by the «Attica» Regional Operational Programme under the NSRF – is particularly important. It is also fully integrated in the overall planning of the Ministry of Culture and Sports with regard to the development and promotion of “edutainment”, education and tourism combined, in suitable places like Athens. In this respect, it makes even more sense to host a programme of this nature in a modern and pleasant environment such as that of the Michael Cacoyannis Foundation, which is also replete with the artistic aura and the spiritual heritage of the great Greek director, who presented new and original readings of classic texts to international audiences.
The perceptual experience and interpretation of ancient Greek drama through the ages is one of the most fascinating chapters of our common cultural history, European and global. The challenging “dialogue” and interaction with the various texts, the constant struggle of the reader or artist to embrace, comprehend, represent and reproduce them, the endless alternative or contradicting approaches and interpretations, all enrich and continue an age-old humanistic tradition, which remains relevant and “fresh” today, perhaps more so than ever before.
Dr. Lina Mendoni
Secretary General, Ministry of Culture and Sports
Antigone’s dramaturgical framework is the base framework of ancient Greek drama, the charged field between that which is of God and that which is of man. Of course, the motivating force of the tragedy is not the difference among the two, but Antigone’s perceived freedom to choose the law that has true authority over her. In this modern era of ecumenical -economic, but not only- challenges, the act of freely searching for the ideal law continues to be the common goal of collective social pursuits. The constant internationality and diachronicity of ancient Greek drama is, of course, long ago affirmed, much as its place in the global narrative of Hellenicity is also established, recognising it as a nation-building historical conscience. This is perhaps one of the reasons for which international financial researches correlate modern Greece’s financial development with the founding of classical studies programmes. The study of ancient drama is a method for the direct placement of Greece on the historical and ethnological axis.
This year, in the University of Leeds, the Michael Cacoyannis Foundation has found an ideal partner for this precise study, which is being organised in Athens for a second year, within the «Attika» Regional Operational Programme of the 2007 – 2013 NSRF. The university’s School for Performance and Cultural Industries, which is being hosted at the Foundation from September 3-14, makes a point of broadening the field of its reflection beyond the established boundaries of the art of acting and dramaturgical analysis, in order to include the interaction of the creative cultural and industrial elements of modern social daily reality.
Quite in the same way, the “Ancient Drama: Influences and Modern Approaches” programme broadens the field of dialogue between Universities from all over the world, aspiring to offer the scholars of ancient drama a permanent residence, where their research and experimentation will compose a guide for the pursuit of internationality, diachronicity and Hellenicity.