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National Theatre’s Odyssey

Beautiful illustration of the OdysseyEmily Lim (2005, Classics), Director of the National Theatre’s Public Acts Programme, was recently interviewed by Dr Lucy Jackson (2004, Classics) about her latest production at the National Theatre, The Odyssey.

To mark the fifth anniversary of Public Acts, The Odyssey was reimagined for today in an epic retelling with hundreds of community members across the country. This national, multi-venue production was told over five parts, with each episode of Odysseus’ journey created and performed by local artists and communities from four partner organisations across the country. The final part was a full-scale musical production on the Olivier stage at the National Theatre, bringing together community performers from the partner organisations and members recruited through Public Acts founding community partners in London, founding theatre partner  Queen’s Theatre Hornchurch, and Trybe House Theatre in London.

Emily Lim’s work explores theatre making as a radical form of community activism and she has worked both nationally and internationally in settings ranging from schools and hospitals to day centres and care homes. Her directing work includes Pericles and A Declaration from the People at the National Theatre; Yoko Ono’s Bells for Peace for Manchester International Festival; Brainstorm (as co-director) for Company Three; we’re here because we’re here (as Senior Associate) for 1418 Now and National Theatre; and The Kilburn Passion at Kiln. Emily Lim is an associate artist of Company Three and was the Resident Director of the National Theatre from 2016–2018 after winning the inaugural Peter Hall Director Award in 2016.

Dr Lucy Jackson is Assistant Professor in the Department of Classics and Ancient History at Durham University. Her research focuses on ancient performance culture, in particular the ways in which people come together in groups to sing and dance. She maintains a broader interest in the ways in which ancient Greek drama has been revived, re-formed, and reperformed in the ancient, early modern, and contemporary and global contexts. In addition to studying at Univ and the University of Exeter, she was a visiting graduate student at the Scuola Normale Superiore di Pisa, Princeton University, and the University of Sydney. After teaching posts at King’s College London and Balliol College, Oxford, she was Leverhulme Early Career Fellow at King’s College London, researching the Latin translations and versions of Greek drama created and performed in sixteenth-century Europe. She acted as academic consultant for the Medea at the National Theatre, London (2014), the Oresteia at Shakespeare’s Globe (2015), and the Iliad at the British Museum and Almeida Theatre (2015). Her first monograph, The Chorus of Drama in the Fourth Century BCE. Presence and Representation was published in 2020 by Oxford University Press.

You can watch the full interview on YouTube.

Published: 8 November 2023

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