Depth of Australian theatre unveiled at UNE conference

Published 16 January 2009

The one-day conference, titled Classical Tradition and the Epic Impulse in Australian Theatre: The Lost Echo and The Women of Troy is sponsored by UNE's School of Arts.

The recent collaborations in classical performance between Barrie Kosky, Tom Wright and the Sydney Theatre Company, The Lost Echo and The Women of Troy, will be explored.

'This is the first colloquium to be held on the work of Barrie Kosky and his work at Sydney Theatre Company. The focus of the conference is to look at how Australian theatre engages with the classics- in this case the literature of Ancient Greece and Rome' explained Dr Elizabeth Hale from UNE's School of Arts.

The Lost Echo was staged in 2006 at the Sydney Theatre Company. It provided an eight-hour adaptation of Ovid’s Metamorphoses. The Women of Troy was staged in 2008 at the Wharf Theatre in Sydney and in Melbourne at the Malthouse Theatre. It provided an intimate staging of Euripides’ text.

The colloquium will examine the significance, influence and dynamism of these two very different adaptations of classical texts, and speakers from disciplines such as performance, literature, music, and classical studies will take part.

Speakers from UNE include Adrian Kiernander (Theatre Studies) who will deliver 'The ‘old’ in ‘Golden’: Images of aging and decay in Australian stagings of classical drama. Ruth Thompson (School of Arts) will present Atrocities in the name of Democracy in Wright/Kosky's The Women of Troy“. Noted speakers from other universities include John McCallum (School of English, Media and the Performing Arts, University of New South Wales): Ejaculating Blood and Michael Ewans (School of Drama, Fine Art and Music, University of Newcastle)’Trojan Women, new and old’.

Tom Wright, the writer and translator of both productions, will give the keynote address. 'Tom Wright will also be giving wrap-up comments. This is a chance to have a conversation with him on issues involved in adaptation and classical reception and the notion of performance' said Dr Hale.

Classical Tradition and the Epic Impulse in Australian Theatre will be held from 9am until 5 pm on February the 2nd at Sancta Sophia College at the University of Sydney.