The team of NCSR Demokritos (VAST project coordinator) realised a field visit to the premises of partner Museo Galileo (IMSS) in Florence Italy on Thursday 16 March 2023.
During their visit, the team of NCSR Demokritos had the opportunity to be guided through the fabulous exhibits at Galileo Museum by its highly knowledgeable museum curators (and partners in the project) Marco Berni, Elena Fani, Carmen Gagliardi and Ilenia Ulivi, whilst exchanging views and ideas on the design of VAST’s educational activities.
A very big thank you goes out to the staff at Galileo Museum for the beautiful experience!
Within the framework of the Ancient Greek Drama pilot of the VAST Project, partner FESTIVAL staged a contemporary adaptation of the ancient Greek drama Antigone by Sophocles. Through this performance and case study, the Athens Epidaurus Festival investigated questions regarding the way core European values, such as freedom, democracy, equality, tolerance, dialogue, human dignity, and rule of law, are related to the present, the role of ancient drama in relation to the communication of values, and the way that values are perceived and interpreted by theatre artists and audiences in modern society.
The research was based on a mixed methods approach, encompassing both qualitative and quantitative methods and addressing the perception of values by theatre artists, as value communicators, as well as by audiences, as value recipients and final co-authors of meaning. In what concerns qualitative methods, eight semi-structured interviews were conducted with theatre artists (the director, the dramaturgist, the set and lighting designer, the costume designer, and four actors in key roles), and two focus groups were held with audience members. Concerning quantitative methods, an audience questionnaire based on 33 variables was prepared and circulated during all three performances, and it was answered by a random and representative sample (15,06%) of the audience.
Research results demonstrated a strong engagement with values by both theatre artists and the audience. At the same time, both groups coincide in their positive assessment of contemporary ancient drama adaptations as a means of addressing values in the present. Antigone’s spectators, in particular, clearly display the features of the “knowing” audience, while a multivariate analysis demonstrates the significance of age and professional or educational involvement in theatre regarding the perception of values and ancient drama adaptations.
The Athens Epidaurus Festival presented its research results at the AIMS Conference in a paper titled “Televising Antigone? Understanding the political values of ancient Greek drama in a contemporary media environment”, at the Reconnecting & Recovering Conference, in a paper titled “The values of democracy and the politics of adaptation: Remaking Sophocles’ Antigone in a contemporary political and media landscape” and at The Off-Screen Conference in a paper titled “Democracy on and off screen: Political values and discursive oppositions in a contemporary adaptation of Sophocles’ Antigone.”
Partner Festival at the Off-Screen Graduate Student Conference
VAST partner Athens Epidaurus Festival was represented by Dr. Aristotelis Nikolaidis at The Off-Screen Graduate Student Conference, which was held in hybrid mode at Georgia State University, USA and online on 23 and 24 February 2023, with a paper titled “Democracy on and off screen: political values and discursive oppositions in a contemporary adaptation of Sophocles’ Antigone“.
Abstract: Based on a modern theatrical performance of Sophocles’ Antigone, which is set in a contemporary political and media environment, the paper revisits Antigone through the lens of its current interpretation, examines spatial and discursive oppositions of meaning, and discusses the connection between ancient drama, performance space, and cultural politics. The paper also presents the main research results on the communication and reception of values, addressing theatre artists (as value communicators) through semi-structured interviews, as well as audiences (as recipients of the communicated messages and final co-authors of the meaning) through focus groups.