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The Independent


The Suppliant Women opens a cycle of four plays by Aeschylus, first performed in Athens in 463 BC. It’s one of the earliest Greek plays to have survived. The other three plays, Egyptians, Danaids and the satyr play Amymone, have been lost to history.

In December 2016, director Ramin Gray and composer John Browne staged a new production of The Suppliant Women at Konzerttheater Bern in Switzerland with a community chorus of 28 local women.

Following the Swiss production, The Suppliant Women was staged in the UK at the Royal Lyceum, Edinburgh and the Young Vic, London. Renowned Scottish playwright David Greig created a new version of the play, following a literal translation to ensure maximum fidelity to the original.

For the UK tour two professional actors, one chorus leader and two musicians worked with newly created community choruses at each venue. The music comprised percussion and the haunting sound of the aulos, the twin pipes on which all classical theatre was accompanied. This was the first Greek production to be heard with the aulos since antiquity. The production then toured to Dublin Theatre Festival and Hong Kong Arts Festival.

We have now begun the process of reconstructing the final three plays. Since only fragments remain, the plays are being reconstructed through a workshop process supported by some of the world’s leading classical scholars, arts organisations and practitioners.

In November 2021 The Suppliant Women was revived  at the Gulbenkian Theatre in Canterbury. This was followed by the first development workshops for the next play in the cycle, Egyptians, which premiered at the same venue in February 2022.

With further workshops planned over the coming months in the UK and Greece, our ultimate goal is to rehearse and stage the entire tetralogy, with the next instalment, Danaids, scheduled to premiere in Canterbury in 2024.

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