Assemblywomen at Edinburgh Fringe
Hana Lawrie 2023
Assemblywomen is a student-run, modern production of the Ancient Greek Aristophanic comedy Ecclesiazusae. A satirical political commentary, this play follows the women of Athens as they disguise themselves as men, take over the government and implement a new system of living, with some farcical consequences. Assemblywomen is an exemplar of Greek comedy, exploring the popular themes of political upheaval and women in power. It is also very relevant to today's political climate, being written in a tumultuous time in Athenian history. We have updated the script to be both understandable and entertaining for a modern audience, using the original jokes but applying them to modern situations.
Our production of Assemblywomen has already had a run in the Warwick Arts Centre, with great success. We sold over 1000 tickets over three shows, with lots of laughter and applause. Our run included a schools outreach event, to encourage students to study classics at Warwick, which sold out and from which we received very positive feedback. Following this initial success, we then took this show to the Edinburgh Fringe Festival in August 2023.
By going to Fringe, we gained an opportunity to showcase not only the dramatic talents of Warwick students, but also the performance niche of Greek comedy. This show is a new and innovative way of bringing classics to the public, demonstrating that our subject is still fresh and exciting. Warwick Classics are always increasing outreach efforts, with the Warwick Classics Network and their various projects, and this was a large-scale impact project to a new, wide and very diverse audience.
The positive effects of this project go beyond outreach, as it also benefits current Warwick students. The Ancient Drama festival (our run in the Arts Centre) is an established annual event, and by going to Fringe we hope to set a precedent for future classics plays to do the same. This production is not just for classics students, as Assemblywomen has a large cast and crew from several departments. Going to Fringe would allow all of these students to include taking a production to a festival of great renown on future CVs, as well as giving them the opportunity to make connections with some of the thousands of creative professionals who will also be in Edinburgh.