Department of Greek & Latin


Classical Play

The UCL Classical Drama Society and the Department of Greek and Latin each year present a classical play in English translation in UCL's own theatre, the UCL Bloomsbury. The play takes place in February each year (about the same time as the ancient Athenian dramatic festival known as the Lenaia).

UCL Classical Play 2021

The Greek Play 2021 will be a dramatic version of Homer’s Odyssey, directed by Lewis Bentley and produced by Elena Bashkova, and will take place in the week 8 to 12 February 2021. The production as well as accompanying material will at least be partly online (with further details to follow in the autumn)

The Odyssey

2020 is not a typical year, nor will the annual UCL's Greek Play be any less conventional in this academic year. We decided to trespass the boundary of Greek plays and settle for nothing less than The Odyssey itself. The idea of transforming such an iconic and influential piece of ancient literature into a work of theatrical art was too exciting to be missed. In Antiquity, Homer would have been recited anywhere and everywhere, from palaces and dinner parties to street corners, and could be argued have been a form of theatre in itself – relaying a story to a group of people. However, the question lies in how such an ancient text can be made relevant to a contemporary audience. 

Our interpretation of The Odyssey will take a more enigmatic and metaphorical route than one might expect yet set in the traditional timeframe. It will be focussing on the psyche and moralities of the characters, and stories. The Odyssey will be a multi-media platform consisting of live music, video projection, physical theatre, and dance. And we hope to create a performance of The Odyssey which will give you a different perspective than before.

Through Emily Wilson's translation we want to offer a different understanding of the characters and explore their reception in our contemporary society.

We will be updating our Social Media regularly so do keep an eye out for that!

Associated events:

Odyssey 'Round the World' (Tuesday, December 8, 2020 - Wednesday, December 9, 2020)

More about the UCL Classical Play

This is now one of the most famous and long-running commitments to the modern production of ancient drama in the world. It attracts large audiences, many of whom are young people studying classical drama at school or university, and is regularly reviewed in the national press. Ticket prices are kept low. 

The production is managed by students in the Department of Greek and Latin, with help and advice from staff. A number of former students involved in the classical play have gone on to careers in drama. Students choose a director and a producer in the autumn: the title of the play for the following year is announced in late October (and is advertised on this website).

The Department of Greek and Latin is committed to bringing these productions to the widest possible audience. For each production we run a programme of lectures and workshops, free and open to the public, which are run by leading academics and theatre experts from across the UK. For the benefit of schools and colleges we also create a web-page of study materials on ancient drama in general, and with special focus on the current year's performance. 

Frogs 2020

Aristophanes Frogs: UCL Classical Play 2020

Last year's play was Aristophanes Frogs. Read more about the production and the students involved.

Greek Goddess

Previous Productions

Take a look back at some of our past classical play productions.