In the Footsteps of Hercules

Light Night 2011 in Leeds – Friday 7th October

In the Footsteps of Hercules (or should that be Herculeeds?)

Tales of Hercules tells the stories of the Hercules’ life, from his earliest childhood to him becoming a god, offering you an opportunity to read, listen to and ask questions about this ancient – yet very modern – hero.

Iphicles will recount his twin brother’s exploits – from Hercules’ very first heroic act (saving Iphicles’ life) to his last (walking the three-headed dog Cerberus). Hear little-known details of Hercules’ famous 12 Labours and get an insider’s view of what it’s like to grow up with a hero. Story-telling will respond to the audience’s interests and age-group. Particular stories by request.

Dr Emma Stafford, internationally renowned expert on the Greek hero Herakles, who was known to the Romans (and to us) as Hercules, will be on hand to answer any and all of your questions about the hero: from the size of his feet, to how many Labours he actually performed, to whether he performed them at all! Take the opportunity to discuss what it means to be a hero and discover some of the meanings attached to this hero through the ages.

Literary and artistic responses to individual tales of Hercules will be on display, with examples from a number of different media and time periods – from epic poetry to sculpture, from the ancient world to 21st century Yorkshire.

Location: the Classics Departmental Library, 1st floor, Parkinson Building, University of Leeds

Walk in Hercules’ size 14½ shoes to well-known – and less-well-known – Leeds city centre locations to encounter mythical characters and monsters featured in his 12 Labours. In the Footsteps of Hercules brings ancient Greek and Roman myth to life by combining cutting-edge classical research by Emma Stafford and other experts on ancient costume with performance art and story-telling in a “factasy” walking tour of Leeds taking in its public art, architecture, and history. Collect a map of the locations from the young Hercules or his mother, Alcmene, in the Ancient Worlds Galleries of Leeds City Museum or join the route at any location with an information point or costumed character. Each location will have information explaining the link between it and one of the 12 Labours, including illustrations and excerpts from relevant ancient texts. Masked costumed characters, who will tell the story of a Labour and guide interactions with the location, can be found in Leeds City Museum, in Mandela Gardens, on the Town Hall Steps, in Bond Court (off Park Row and East Parade) and in City Square. Will you kidnap Cerberus, kill the Hydra, seek the Cretan Bull, confront the Nemean Lion, capture the cattle of Geryon, cleanse the Augean Stables, dodge the Horses of Diomedes, scare the Stymphalian Birds, spot the Erymanthian Boar, find the Apples of the Hesperides, meet the Amazon Queen, or chase the Keryneian Hind? Above all, will you find Hercules in Leeds?

For more information, see the profect website.

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The Cambridge News reports on Sancton Wood’s success

From the Cambridge News

Sancton Wood school, in St. Pauls Road in the city centre, has won first place in the city wide Latin Play Competition for the fourth year running.

In a competition which featured St. Mary’s, Perse Boys, Parkside, Coleridge, Comberton and the Perse Girls, Sancton Wood also scooped a prize in the Latin Reading Competition when Emily Atkins (Year 8) was placed second out of twelve competitors.

Judge John Stevens, Classicist, and Lecturer at the University of Cambridge Faculty of Education said,” It was richly deserved. The Sancton Wood play was performed with supreme confidence, the pronounciation was very beautiful and you felt as if you were really there in Ancient Rome.’

The year 8 Sancton Wood team was coached by teachers Michelle Holman and Russell Lord.

The play, a version of the Pyramus and Thisbe story, was performed by 13 Year 8 pupils who have been studying Latin for the last two years.

They had to perfect a first century Latin accent and then learn their roles by heart.

SPQR re-enactment

Global Post

ROME — Recently, residents and tourists around the Coliseum watched in awe as a legion of Roman soldiers marched in unison down Rome’s Imperial Avenue.

“Caesar!” called out the commander in Latin as the legion came to a stop. “I, Centurion Lucius Valerius Seianus, have brought your favorite legion here to return the scepter of command to your hands!”

A horn blared as the Centurion placed a large laurel crown on the pedestal of the statue of Julius Caesar, the great Roman general who was stabbed to death in the Forum 2,053 years that day — March 15, or the “Ides of March.”

As an excited crowd of tourists snapped their cameras, the legion made its way to the Roman Forum.

“It’s our way of exporting Rome’s history without being boring,” said the Centurion, whose real name is Giorgio Franchetti. He is president of the historical reenactment group, called “SPQR.”

The name is an acronym in Latin from ancient Rome, Senatus Populus Que Romanus — meaning the Senate and the People of Rome. With 35 active members of all ages, “SPQR” is one of several non-profit associations in Rome devoted to experimental archeology.

“Experimental archeology means putting yourself in the shoes of ancient characters who can no longer tell you how they lived,” Franchetti said, “to experience their struggles in first person.”

Members of the group are not actors. They are passionate Romans who believe their approach to archeology helps keep ancient Rome alive, much as Civil War reenactors in the U.S. discover history by portraying period characters and recreating scenes from another era.

In addition to studying archeological findings, such as jewels, weapons and military equipment, these enthusiasts re-create an entire living environment by organizing Roman encampments, gladiator trainings and religious rituals.

Their devotion to the study and practice of the Roman Empire has turned them into a subculture of purists.

Last summer, when rumors circulated about an idea to build a theme park inspired by the Roman Empire, SPQR President Giorgio Franchetti went on alert. He feared the plan would provide a superficial rendition of Roman life with one goal in mind: making a profit.

ROME — Recently, residents and tourists around the Coliseum watched in awe as a legion of Roman soldiers marched in unison down Rome’s Imperial Avenue.

“Caesar!” called out the commander in Latin as the legion came to a stop. “I, Centurion Lucius Valerius Seianus, have brought your favorite legion here to return the scepter of command to your hands!”

A horn blared as the Centurion placed a large laurel crown on the pedestal of the statue of Julius Caesar, the great Roman general who was stabbed to death in the Forum 2,053 years that day — March 15, or the “Ides of March.”

As an excited crowd of tourists snapped their cameras, the legion made its way to the Roman Forum.

“It’s our way of exporting Rome’s history without being boring,” said the Centurion, whose real name is Giorgio Franchetti. He is president of the historical reenactment group, called “SPQR.”

The name is an acronym in Latin from ancient Rome, Senatus Populus Que Romanus — meaning the Senate and the People of Rome. With 35 active members of all ages, “SPQR” is one of several non-profit associations in Rome devoted to experimental archeology.

“Experimental archeology means putting yourself in the shoes of ancient characters who can no longer tell you how they lived,” Franchetti said, “to experience their struggles in first person.”

Members of the group are not actors. They are passionate Romans who believe their approach to archeology helps keep ancient Rome alive, much as Civil War reenactors in the U.S. discover history by portraying period characters and recreating scenes from another era.

In addition to studying archeological findings, such as jewels, weapons and military equipment, these enthusiasts re-create an entire living environment by organizing Roman encampments, gladiator trainings and religious rituals.

Their devotion to the study and practice of the Roman Empire has turned them into a subculture of purists.

Last summer, when rumors circulated about an idea to build a theme park inspired by the Roman Empire, SPQR President Giorgio Franchetti went on alert. He feared the plan would provide a superficial rendition of Roman life with one goal in mind: making a profit.

Eagle of the Ninth to be filmed

Newsbites: The Greco-Roman edition!
1. Kevin Macdonald (Touching the Void, The Last King of Scotland) will start shooting The Eagle of the Ninth in August; the film concerns “a wounded Roman soldier and his loyal Celtic slave who try to solve the mystery of the Ninth Legion, a brigade of Roman soldiers that vanished after heading into the untamed Highlands of Scotland 15 years earlier.” — Variety

2. Coincidentally, Neil Marshall (The Descent, Doomsday) is already making his own movie about the Ninth Legion; it is called Centurion, and it is far enough into production that the filmmakers recently released a making-of video and a photo of former Bond girl Olga Kurylenko made up to look like “a savage-looking Pict warrior woman”. — Empire, Rotten Tomatoes

3. Bond girl Gemma Arterton has been cast as the demi-goddess Io in the upcoming remake of Clash of the Titans (1981). Meanwhile, Cinesite has been hired to provide some of the “major creature animation” — using computers, of course, rather than the stop-motion techniques that living legend Ray Harryhausen used on the original film. — Empire, VFXWorld

4. Sean Bean will play Zeus, Kevin McKidd will play Poseidon, Pierce Brosnan will play Chiron, Uma Thurman will play Medusa and Melina Kanakerides will play Athena in Percy Jackson, an adaptation of the best-selling children’s novel The Lightning Thief, which is set in the present day and concerns the half-human children of the gods. — Variety, Hollywood Reporter (x2)

5. The Gotham Group is developing a film based on Steven Sherrill’s novel The Minotaur Takes a Cigarette Break, which concerns “the mythical half-man, half-bull minotaur who was supposedly slain by Theseus 3,000 years ago and now lives a lonely life in a Wichita trailer park, making ends meet as a short-order cook in a rundown diner.” — Variety
Total Film
State Of Play director Kevin Macdonald is going back to Roman times for his next film, signing up to direct The Eagle Of The Ninth.

The film finds a wounded Roman soldier and his loyal Celtic slave (Jamie Bell, below) who attempt to solve the mystery of the Ninth Legion.

Who are they? They would be a brigade of Roman soldiers who set off for the wild Scottish Highland hills 15 years before… And were never seen again.

Channing Tatum has been offered the role of the injured Roman, but he hasn’t yet decided if his accent’s up to the job. Sorry, that he’ll take the part.

If he signs, he’ll be off to shooting Hungary (doubling for Roman-occupied England) in August. Scotland, meanwhile, will be played by Scotland.

Seems England’s a little too built up to really serve Roman times.

And what is it with Romans, suddenly? Neil Marshall’s in production on Centurion and now this?

Seneca’s Oedipus to be staged

From Leigh Valley

Moravian College works with Touchstone Theatre
School receives outside assistance to stage Roman version of classic tragedy “Oedipus.”
Saturday, March 28, 2009
By ADAM RICHTER
The Express-Times

Christopher Shorr thinks the nation could use a healthy dose of Roman theater.

Shorr, a visiting assistant professor of English at Moravian College who runs the school’s theater department, says the visceral nature of Roman drama helped guide his decision to have his students perform “Oedipus” by Seneca.

The Greek “Oedipus Rex” by Sophocles, is the more famous play. But Shorr wanted to produce Seneca’s later version, because he wanted to challenge his students and because he thought the timing seemed right.

“Maybe America is ready for some Roman tragedy,” says Shorr. “There are things that are happening in our society that show that we’re not as young and optimistic as we once were, and as the Greeks once were.”

“Oedipus” opens Thursday at Moravian College’s Arena Theater and runs through April 5. The Moravian College Theatre Company is producing the play, in conjunction with Touchstone Theatre.

Romans borrowed a great deal of their culture from the Greeks, adding their own cultural twist. So instead of Zeus, the Romans had Jupiter. And they may not have changed the name of “Oedipus,” or the central storyline — a man tries to avoid his fate of killing his father and marrying his mother and ends up doing just that — but Shorr points out some key differences.

For one thing, there’s a lot more blood.

“One of the major differences bet Greek tragedy and Roman tragedy, in general, is that in Greek tragedy more violence happens offstage, whereas in Roman tragedy the violence happens onstage,” Shorr says.

This creates subtle changes in the plot, too. (Spoiler alert.) In Sophocles’ play, Oedipus blinds himself (offstage) after his wife/mother, Jocasta, commits suicide. In the Roman version, Jocasta discovers her son already blinded, and stabs herself, onstage.

Shorr reached out to Touchstone Theatre for help with staging “Oedipus.” A former Virginia resident, Shorr says he knew of the South Bethlehem theater company’s reputation before he moved to the Lehigh Valley. Touchstone ensemble member James Jordan says the troupe had not collaborated with Moravian before, and the opportunity seemed right.

Jordan consulted on the technical aspects of “Oedipus,” pushing the students to come up with creative solutions to the problems of Seneca’s play. They responded well, Jordan says.

“I’ve been amazed at some of the students and their willingness to immerse themselves in the work,” he says. “It’s neat to … pass the torch and give them the knowledge.”

Shorr says the collaboration with Touchstone was a success, and made sense from the start.

“Because the theater program is very small, we don’t have a faculty of acting teachers and directing teachers and designing teachers … we just have me,” he says.

Jordan agrees: “It’s just this perfect match, and such a fulfilling experience,” he says.

“Oedipus” stars Moravian College student Jason Ginther in the title role, student Becky Kolacki as Jocasta and professor Christopher Jones as Creon. Because of the play’s violence and mature themes, it is not suitable for children.

Adam Richter can be reached at 610-258-7171 or by e-mail at arichter@express-times.com.

More about that film being made in Scotland, Centurion

Press and Journal

Highlanders dress part to play extras in movie Centurion
Actors Roman in the gloamin

By Nichola Rutherford and Johnny Muir

Published: 12/03/2009

When almost 200 armoured men marched through a Highland estate wielding spears and carrying shields, onlookers would have been forgiven for thinking: “The Romans are coming”.

But the dozens of local men spotted braving rain and snow on the Glenfeshie Estate this week had good reason for dressing as Roman soldiers – they were extras in the new movie, Centurion.

Men from across the Highlands and Moray volunteered to take part in the movie, ensuring they would spend their 13-hour day working alongside Bond girl Olga Kurylenko.

Filming in the Highlands began last month and the local extras played their part during a day’s filming on Tuesday.

It is understood their efforts will amount to little more than seven minutes of the film, which is set during the Roman invasion of Britain and tells the story of Quintus Dias, the sole survivor of a raid on a Roman fort.

Newcastle-born writer-director Neil Marshall is among a team now working on the film’s special effects, which include increasing the numbers of Roman soldiers to appear like many thousands.

Ukranian Kurylenko, who appeared in Quantum of Solace, plays Gorlacon, a Pictish Queen who leads the rout of the Roman legion. The film is expected to be released late this year or in early 2010.

Meanwhile, Inverness Castle, the hills above Loch Ness at Dores and swing bridges over the Caledonian Canal could all feature in a Bollywood movie due to be shot in the Highland capital next month.

Filming of the psychological thriller Purple Lake – based on Loch Ness – had been due to begin on Saturday but the start date has now been put back until the end of March.

Sue Bellarby, a UK-based locations manager for Indian film company ASA Productions and Enterprises, said Inverness and the Highlands would provide the movie’s backdrop during a month of filming.

She has scouted a multitude of locations which could feature in the movie, including Falcon Square, Inverness Castle, Midmills College, the city’s Red Cross building, the River Ness, the Town House and swing bridges over the Caledonian Canal.

The hills and moorland overlooking the east bank of Loch Ness could also be used to create an “eerie winter feel”. Woodland close to Inverness may also be used, while shooting could take place inside a city home.

Ms Bellarby said: “For the size of the city in relation to a lot of other places, Inverness has everything.

“It has everything you could possibly want – shops, a theatre, lots of facilities, but it is only 10 minutes away from some of the most stunning countryside on the planet.”

Ms Bellarby said the film could also give the Highland economy a lift, with the movie’s cast due to stay in the Kingsmill and Thistle hotels during filming.

It is also hoped that after the film’s release, which is due to be this year, visitors will want to come to Inverness and the Highlands to explore some of the sights featured in the movie.

The film’s start date has been put back because of difficulties in bringing Indian actors to Scotland.

‘Clouds’ in Fleet Street

By an oversight I never posted this one, I fear. Hope it’s not too late. We are talking March – not all the dates make that clear.

flytheatre presents
ARISTOPHANES’ CLOUDS
a dazzling new musical comedy

Pre-show speakers announced! See below for details…
BOOK NOW for special schools offers – Friday 27th already SOLD OUT!

Tuesday 24th – Saturday 28th March 2009 (Friday 27th SOLD OUT)
At The Bridewell Theatre, Fleet Street, London

Evening performances at 7pm
Matinee Thursday March 26th at 3.45pm

IT’S GOING TO BE CLOUDY IN LONDON…

Idiotic bumpkin Strepsiades has a problem – he’s in terrible debt
and his creditors are about to crunch. Only Socrates (philosopher, teacher, madman) can help.

Following last year’s hugely successful premiere, Clouds is back in
London for one week only and the tickets are selling fast…

Don’t miss this chance to see Aristophanes at his absurd best!

Follow this link for more information:
http://www.cloudslondon.com

Special prices for Schools:
Tickets for school students are priced at £8.50 each.
School groups can book tickets now via our group sales line:
Call 01568 613823 or email groups@flytheatre.co.uk

Please note: this production contains strong language and sexual
references.
(It is Aristophanes after all!)

EDUCATION PROGRAMME in association with the Oxford University Classics Outreach Programme

An education pack will shortly be available to download (free of
charge) from the Clouds website: http://www.cloudslondon.com.

Pre-show Talks (free of charge for audience members!)

Weds 25th – “An Introduction to Aristophanic Comedy” by Dr James Robson (Open University)

Thurs 26th Matinee – “Cloudcuckooland or Subversion? Philosophy and
Science in Aristophanes’ Clouds” by Professor Chris Emlyn-Jones (Open
University)

Thurs 26th Evening – “The Cloudspotter’s Guide to Comedy Ancient and
Modern” by Dr Nick Lowe (Royal Holloway)

Fri 27th – “But What Did It Really Sound Like? Music and Voice in the
Ancient Comic Theatre” by Dr Armand D’Angour (Jesus College, Oxford University)

Workshops
Our in-school workshops can be tailored to your requirements and
complement important modules in the Classical Civilisation, Drama, Theatre Studies and Ancient History syllabuses. Please contact our Education Officer, Simon Andrews, to make enquiries.

CONTACT
For more information on any of these events, or to enquire about a
workshop, please contact our Education Officer, Simon Andrews,
at education(AT)flytheatre.co.uk