7th International Ancient Drama Workshop

National Theatre of Greece

02 - 16 July 2024

The National Theatre of Greece is holding its 7th International Ancient Drama Workshop from 2 to 16 July in Lygourio, Argolis. This year's Workshop, taking place for a second year in partnership with the Municipality of Epidaurus, will be run by the director and actor Argyris Xafis together with choreographer Cecile Mikroutsikou. The academic head is Dr. Irene Moundraki.

The Workshop’s intensive programme includes speeches, discussions with artists, masterclasses, and activities such as a guided tour of the archaeological site of Epidaurus, to help foster both a connection with the place and its history, and a sense of its importance. Participants will also be able to watch performances at the two theatres at Ancient Epidaurus, while this summer they will have the special opportunity to attend rehearsals of the National Theatre of Greece production of the Aeschylean trilogy the Oresteia, directed by the internationally renowned Theodoros Terzopoulos as part of the Epidaurus Festival.

In addition, the Workshop will continue to work with the Master's Programme of the Department of Theatre Studies at the University of the Peloponnese, Creative writing, Theatre and Cultural Industries.

The Workshop is aimed at young theatre professionals, including actors, directors, graduates of drama schools, and stage practitioners in general who want on the one hand to deepen their knowledge of ancient drama and investigate how it functions, and on the other to try their hand working on specific topics. At the same time, the main objective of the Workshop is to encourage a fruitful conversation about the reception of ancient drama in the modern world, approaches to staging it, and issues arising from it, while also strengthening the dialogue that tragedy itself has with the individual.

The International Ancient Drama Workshop was instituted on an annual basis in 2016. It is a member of the International Ancient Drama Network created, coordinated and financed by the Ministry of Culture to educate people working in the theatre at various levels and in diverse capacities about ancient drama, familiarise the general public with the genre, and develop the conditions under which theatre people from different countries can work together. 

The destruction of myths

The Workshop will focus on the example of Sophocles’ Oedipus Rex, what Aristotle called a “perfect example of ancient tragedy”, on the myth, and on the unique way in which it connects the personal with the public and the political. It will explore issues that concern us on both the personal and the political level, including the repression of guilt, the erasure of the individual and collective past, and the way in which society creates myths only to destroy them in order to survive itself.

It will also consider a question that nags at anyone working in this genre: is there psychology in tragedy or are the mechanisms of the science of psychology based on the archetypal codes of tragedy?

 Different translations will be used, examining variations in the style of each translator in order to explore the landscape of the tragedy, which is at once so attractive yet so difficult to negotiate. The technical aspect – once a common vocabulary for mutual understanding has been arrived at – will focus on the approach that Argyris Xafis has developed over the years for himself: Melos, Epos, Rhetoreia (song, epic, oratory).

Recognising them in the ancient dramatic text is the key to unlocking it at a practical level, while the way they are connected or in conflict give rise to unexpected artistic results that go far beyond the well-known forms of modern theatre.

This workshop on ancient drama is first and foremost for actors and stage professionals who want to learn about it in practice rather than in theory, bringing it live to the stage, in public. A relationship with music, rhythm and the basic theatrical concepts and techniques of modern drama is almost a prerequisite, so that – using them with relative ease – they can be surmounted. And there, as Argyris Xafis notes, “in this known-unknown place we meet our past but also our future. Because I view ancient tragedy as a genre that comes from the future."

It is worth noting that Oedipus Rex and its performance at the Teatro Olimpico in Vicenza, Italy, on 3 March 1585, is the cornerstone of the revival of ancient drama in modern times.


Working languages

English & Greek (knowledge of English is also essential for Greek participants).


Participation fee

€450 for Greek participants and €600 for participants from abroad. This covers tuition, transfer by coach from Athens to Lygourio (and return), accommodation in a hostel, breakfast and lunch, local transportation, a guided tour of the archaeological site, tickets to performances that are part of the programme.

Those interested should email their CV and photo by 10 June 2024 to with “7th International Ancient Drama Workshop” in the subject line. Participants will be selected on the basis of their CVs. If necessary, an interview will follow.

Further information is available at the National Theatre of Greece website, by email ( and by phone (2105288253, Eftichia Charalambaki).

Cover photo: International Ancient Drama Workshop © Karol Jarek 

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