The Chorus Project is a collaboration between Upstart Theatre in the UK, Pathos München in Germany, Theater am Lend in Austria, and the MKC Youth Cultural Centre in the Republic of North Macedonia. It is co-funded by the Creative Europe Programme of the European Union. Four companies, from four very different European countries, have each created a new piece inspired by ancient Greek tragedies.
Each of the companies has collaborated with professional and non-professional theatre makers to create a new piece of theatre inspired by one of the three surviving plays of Aeschylus’ Oresteia, and its lost fourth part, the mysterious Proteus. We’ve been working together since 2018 to bring these ancient plays to new life in new forms, and we presented live performances of each of these shows in our home cities in 2019 and 2020.
The Oresteia – the only trilogy of ancient Greek theatre that survives today – unfolds a founding myth of ancient democratic Athens, bringing together its historical guilt and its hopes for the future. In the second decade of the 21st century, forces that once seemed to have been overcome by democracy and international collaboration – nationalism, discrimination, corruption – have returned like the Furies, jeopardising law, peace and democracy throughout Europe. The Chorus Project asks if democracy can save us from falling once again into the historic cycles of violence and misunderstanding that plagued Europe throughout its history; and if not, what will?
In ancient Athens, theatre was at the centre of democratic life, one of the key rituals that brought the community together. We were hoping to be able to continue to build our international community in presenting each of the Chorus Project performances in each of the participating cities. While the pandemic has made that impossible, it’s also given us the new opportunity to invite many more people to join us for this online festival. We’re delighted that you can join us for this celebration of the power of theatre, and the power of our shared European identity.