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Spruce Wood July 16th!!

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Picture taken at last year's venue for Paris-Alexandros at Spruce Wood.

aod offer exclusive, high quality bespoke events for every occasion including parties, weddings, birthday's anniversaries and more sombre occasions.  These can be one off performances, poetry readings or recitals depending on individual requirements.

Previous venues have included the wonderful outdoor theatre at Spruce Wood, London's City Hall, the House of St Barnabas in Soho, Allington Castle in Kent, Europe House (the home of the European Commission) and the Reform Club on Pall Mall.

This year sees us return to Spruce Wood on July 16th for a rousing performance of Euripides' s masterpiece, The Bacchae.

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A high-flying performance from Helen of Troy

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Celebrating over 21 years of touring new adaptations of ancient Greek drama to national & international audiences, aod are on the road again, this time with a completely original and spellbinding piece of theatre, featuring a strong physical and aerial dimension. 

Inspired by one of the most famous characters in Greek myth, Helen of Troy, Helen re-positions her story into the 21st century, following the time-ravaged icon 20 years after the all of Troy and upon the death of her dictator husband.  Seemingly locked in a room with only a military figure for company (her lover, jailer, or executioner?), the pair embark on a power struggle for survival. 

Following a development period in 2014, the critically acclaimed, Brighton-based company, Actors of Dionysus, are taking Helen to venues in Malvern and Warwick, as well as seven performances as part of the Brighton Fringe – England’s largest arts festival. 

The multi award-winning creative team includes direction from Jonathan Young, design by Dora Schweitzer and lighting by Ric Mountjoy. Assistant Director, Justin Murray, re-joins the team, and aod Artistic Director Tamsin Shasha takes the title role.

"Let nothing stop you from seeing them." - The Times

For all aod press enquiries contact • Mill Goble This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. • 01273 673 691 www.actorsofdionysus.com • This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

Performed and Co-written by Tamsin Shasha
Directed and Co-written by Jonathan Young 
Production Design - Dora Schweitzer 
Outside Eye – George Mann 
Assistant Director – Justin Murray
Aerial Choreographer – Jami Reed-Quarrell
Sound Designer – Matt Eaton
Lighting Designer - Ric Mountjoy 

Venues include:
Forum Theatre, Malvern – 10th-11th May
Bridge House Theatre, Warwick – 12th-13th May
Sweet St Andrews, Hove – 16th-19th May

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Lysistrata 2016 update

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We are hectically busy preparing for our tour of Lysistrata and go into rehearsals on 8th Feb.  The tour begins on 22nd Feb at Worthing College.  To download a pdf flyer please click here

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The Big Give

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We recently took part in The Big Give Christmas Challenge – a nationwide initiative allowing charities to have their donations doubled by Charity Champions over the course of a few days at the start of the holiday season.

We raised an amazing £1846 towards our Spring tour of Lysistrata, which will make a huge difference to us. Enormous thanks to all who donated towards our cause!

This fundraising effort is now closed, but do watch this space for the next one…

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Paris-Alexandros heads East to Allington

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After a fantastic night at Spruce Wood Kingston on July 4th we have been invited to perform the play at Allington Castle on Sunday 27th September.  The performance will begin at 6.30pm and numbers are strictly limited, so if you would like to join us please do get in touch asap.  Please see Save the Date details below for more information and contact This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. or phone Tamsin on 07957 471949 for more details

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Paris-Alexandros

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On the 4th July was a night to remember with a reception, canapés, fireworks and live music; we performed  Paris-Alexandros – the newly reconstructed masterpiece that hasn’t been staged in 2400 years –  in a beautiful outdoor theatre.

Dinner was catered by award winning restaurant The Life Goddess and we arranged for fabulous gifts in our auction that was conducted by the much-loved John ‘Fingers’ Fingleton.

The funds that we raised from this event will benefit our existing education strand (schools workshops and study aids), as well as our new Public Engagement and Outreach programme.

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Classics in the City

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Thursday 18 September 2014, 6.30-9.30pm
hosted by London’s Mayor Boris Johnson
Venue: London’s Living Room

A large number of supporters shared their love of Classics with Boris Johnson, Bettany Hughes and aod,  in support of the charity Classics for All, in a spectacular venue with panoramic views of London.

The evening began with a speech by Boris Johnson, Patron of Classics for All, followed by a talk from Burntwood School pupil Yasmin Solomin and Greig City Academy Assistant Vice Principal Deborah Hughes. They were followed by a special performance by aod performers and directed by David Stuttard, which we created for this event, featuring readings of excerpts from well-loved Greek literature and drama by actors including Fenella Fielding.

For more information on the charity Classics for All click here.

Here are some photos from the event :

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Sappho: The Sweetness of Honey

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On Sat 12th July aod held a small launch of their new Sappho CD The Sweetness of Honey at a private house in London.  The evening was  a great success and there was much enjoyment to be had.

Poems of Sappho (based on translations by David Stuttard and Josephine Balmer) are read by Fenella Fielding and Tamsin Shasha, and set to music by Emma Hetherington, who performs them with Rebecca Vučetić.

‘The readings are fluent and expressive, bringing the texts to life and conveying the emotion without ever becoming histrionic. the music suits the verse well and the performance by the two sister is delightful, their voices blending most attractively.”

JACT review (Joint Assoc of Classical Teachers)

Photographs of the event below

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Open Air Trojan Women 2014

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On Friday 11th July 2014, aod performed Trojan Women in a secret London location in an outdoor theatre in the midst of gloriously cultivated gardens.

Produced by Euripides in 415 BC in the run-up to war, Trojan Women is a powerful and moving ancient Greek dramas – a profoundly contemporary story of love, loss and loyalty.

In this special production, staged in the magical setting of Spruce Wood’s outdoor theatre, David Stuttard directed his own exhilarating adaptation. Guests arrived at 7.30pm – Drinks and Canapés: Reception and Garden Walk 8.00pm – Performance of Trojan Women 9.30pm – Buffet Garden Supper in the Tudor Sunken Walled Garden 11.30pm – Carriages This was a fundraising event. Tickets were (£150.00) , with the money raised going towards the registered charity aod, which carries out important outreach programmes, including schools workshops and study aids.

For further information contact Tamsin at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. or on 07957 471 949.

Let nothing stop you from seeing them! (The Times)

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Open Air Medea

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A once-in-a-lifetime outdoor performance of Medea was at a secret London location on Saturday 31st August 2013.

First produced by Euripides in 431 BC at the height of Athens’ empire, Medea is one of the most powerful of all ancient Greek dramas – the story of a woman scorned and the terrifying consequences of her fury. For this special event, held in a private outdoor theatre, David Stuttard directed his own exhilarating adaptation to create a tense psychological drama of sexual jealousy and revenge.

This was a fundraising event, prior to a full-scale production at The Rose Theatre, Kingston. The money raised went towards the registered charity Actors of Dionysus (aod), which carries out important outreach programmes, including schools workshops and study aids.

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Dionysia

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aod’s forthcoming Dionysia will be held in May at a venue to be confirmed – please watch this space for more information or contact Lianna

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Palamedes

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Palamedes by Euripides, reconstructed by David Stuttard, will take place on 28th May 2013 at Europe House 32 Smith Square, London SW1P 3EU (doors open 6.30 pm, performance begins 7.00 pm)

The sequel to ‘Paris Alexandros’ originally the second play in a ‘Trojan Trilogy’ (which contained the celebrated ‘Trojan Women’), ‘Palamedes’ tells the story of a hero falsely accused of treason.

Unperformed for almost two and a half thousand years, ‘Palamedes’ has been reconstructed from fragments by David Stuttard.

Canapés and wine will be served.  RSVP by 14th May to Lianna Valenti, This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. | 01273 810 268

Of our last event, historian Bettany Hughes wrote:

Savage Beauty last night pulled together sensuous, hilarious and genuinely moving work from Ancient Greek poems, plays and inscriptions. A✭!  Kudos.

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Savage beauty

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To mark the beginning of their twentieth anniversary, the celebrated classical Greek theatre company aod (Actors of Dionysus) debut at St James Theatre with an evening of readings and performances of Greek literature and drama specially devised for the Studio Theatre and featuring newly written songs and music on the theme of women (a ‘savage beauty’ as Hesiod called the first woman, Pandora).

Fenella Fielding with her ‘distinctive stage presence’ (The Independent) will be joined by the ‘hugely talented’ (The Scotsman) Tamsin Shasha, Nigel Anthony and Matt Barber for a mix of comedy, tragedy and original songs composed and performed by Becca Vučetić and Emma Hetherington. Come and enjoy an invigorating cocktail of Euripides and Homer, Sappho and Aristophanes all in one night, performed, sung and read by 3 actors and 2 musicians!

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Dionysia – Europe House

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AOD performed Alexandros for its 2nd dionysia at Europe House on 25th October 2012.

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Dionysia Reform Club

 

 

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AOD performed its inaugural dionysia at the reform club, pall mall on May 22nd 2012. The cast included Jane Asher, Tom Conti, Simon Russell Beale and Fenella Fielding.

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Hel(en) beyond

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After an intense few months Helen our Autumn 2014 production has finally come to an end……like the show itself it’s been a rollercoaster experience with a few bruises, silk burns and bumps along the way, but we’ve emerged with something we’re really proud of and excited by. It was difficult to predict that this project would develop into exploring the psyche of a woman on the verge of a meltdown, languishing in a drug induced, partly self-imposed exile, struggling for her own survival and sanity; and yet Tamsin Shasha’s portrayal of Helen was painfully real; a menagerie of sensuality, strength and unfortunate denial Winchester Online

Photographs and more reviews below

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Reviews

A passionate and intense piece of physical theatre, Helen is thought-provoking, powerful and makes you question so many of our current values Denis W McGeary, British Theatre Guide  full review click here

Shasha and director Jonathan Young’s script has an urgency that eluded Sophocles, Euripides and Aeschylus… Charles Hutchinson, York Press  full review  click here

A fantastic aesthetic quality to the piece… haunting… gripping… Helen is a visual treat… well worth checking out  Adam Bruce, A Younger Theatre

full review click here

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Helen on tour

Reviews for Helen

Wonderfully complex….and compelling Peter Jacobs, The Public Reviews

full review click here

Haunting…..and visually gripping…Helen is a rollercoaster ride of emotion and a fantastic adaptation of a story millennia old Jennifer Dutton, Salford Online

full review click here

Cumbria Live click here 

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Helen rehearsals

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Rehearsals are well under way for Helen and we are having fun devising, here are some pics to whet your appetite.

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Classics for All

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Share your love of Classics with Boris Johnson, Bettany Hughes and aod, in support of the charity Classics for All, in a spectacular venue with panoramic views of London.

On Thursday 18th September 2014 we will be performing at London’s Living room hosted byBoris Johnson.

It is a fundraising event in support of the charity Classics for All who provide launch-aid funding to help schools get classical subjects off the ground. Classics is well-known in improving pupils’ literacy and language skills and who believe it should be accessible to all.

For more information on the event and tickets please click here

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Sappho: The Sweetness of Honey

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On Sat 12th July aod held a small launch of their new Sappho CD The Sweetness of Honey at a private house in London.  The evening was  a great success and there was much enjoyment to be had.  To view pics of the event please click here

Poems of Sappho (based on translations by David Stuttard and Josephine Balmer) are read by Fenella Fielding and Tamsin Shasha, and set to music by Emma Hetherington, who performs them with Rebecca Vučetić.

Reviews of the CD include: ‘Who could possibly resist this? Charismatic, sensuous, sublime: Imagine yourself under Sappho’s silvery moon, the warm wind of her beloved Lesbos around you, the oak leaves shivering; our poet and her lovely girls your companions. A lyrical delight.’ (Bettany Hughes) 

Sappho’s is the first female voice in western literature. Today only some of her poetry survives, but it remains as startlingly fresh as it was when it was first written around 600 BC. With subjects ranging from love and desire to old age and sorrow, Sappho’s verses not only transport us to the flowering meadows of ancient Lesbos, but speak to us directly of emotions with which are are all familiar. For a preview please  click here

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