Rupert Goold and Robert Icke will direct a complete reading of Homer’s The Iliad this summer as part of the Almeida Theatre’s incredible one-off festival celebrating Ancient Greek theatre.
The Almeida Theatre’s Artistic Director Goold and 1984 co-director Icke will direct more than 50 artists in an epic staging of the mythical poem on 14 August. It will begin at the British Museum at 09:00 and finish at the theatre’s Islington home that evening.
The ambitious project is just one of many events, talks, readings and performances taking place between June and October as part of Almeida Greeks, a festival to tie in with the theatre’s trio of Greek tragedies playing in the current season.
As part of the festival, leading theatremakers including Ivo Van Hove – who recently won an Olivier Award for his hugely successful A View From The Bridge – Deborah Warner, Bijan Sheibani and the Guardian’s chief culture writer Charlotte Higgins will discuss the importance of bringing Greek tragedies to contemporary audiences and unpick some of the themes at the centre of these legendary works across a number of talks at the theatre.
Taking inspiration from Bacchus and the Ancient Greek spirit of revelling from dusk to dawn, on 18 July audiences are invited to join Midnight Run, a 12-hour walking journey through the hidden spaces of London led by poet, playwright and performer Inua Ellams.
Alongside an eclectic programme of fun activities, from The Big Fat Greek Quiz (2 August) to a musical day of wine and feasting in Orlando Gough: That Feeling (13 September), the festival will also play host to a number of performances including a series of readings of Ancient Greek comedies by rising star directors Blanche McIntyre, Fiona Laird and Ramin Gray.
Other highlights include an all-female retelling of Lysistrata by acclaimed theatre group Gaggle (7 & 8 August), award-winning drag artist Dickie Beau’s brand new performance lecture Masking Tapes (11 September) that delves into the performer’s fascination with the Greek canon, and Early Opera Company’s performance of Médée Furieuse (4 October) featuring mezzo-soprano Ciara Hendrick.
For the full Ancient Greeks Festival line-up, as well as details of the season itself that features Lia Williams in Oresteia, Ben Whishaw in Bakkhai and Kate Fleetwood in Medea, visit the Almeida Theatre website.