THE SUPPLIANT WOMEN
in a version by David Greig, with music by John Browne
First Produced by the Lyceum Theatre, Edinburgh, on 1st October 2016
11-14 NOVEMBER 2021, Gulbenkian Theatre, Canterbury
Seen at major festivals and theatres around the world to huge acclaim, The Suppliant Women came to the Gulbenkian Arts Centre in November 2021, the start of an epic journey.
“If we help, we invite trouble. If we don’t, we invite shame.”
Fifty women leave everything behind to board a boat in north Africa and flee across the Mediterranean. Escaping forced marriage, they hope for protection and seek asylum in Greece.
Written 2,500 years ago, this is one of the world’s oldest plays. At its heart, a powerful chorus of young women drawn from Kent, arguing for their lives, speak to us with startling contemporary resonance.
An extraordinary theatrical event, full of music and movement, The Suppliant Women is part play, part ritual, part theatrical archaeology. It offers an electric connection to the deepest and most mysterious ideas of humanity – who are we, where do we belong and, if it all goes wrong, who will take us in?
This is first part of an epic cycle of plays.
PRAISE FOR THE 2016 / 2017 PRODUCTION
"BEAUTIFUL, ELEGANT, OUTSTANDING"
The Art of Banksy - Regent Street
The Art of Banksy - Regent Street
The Mongol Khan Trailer
Trailers by Alex Raptatasios from the 2016 production of The Suppliant Women
The Suppliant Women opens a cycle of four plays by Aeschylus, first performed in Athens in 463 BC. It’s one of the earliest Greek plays to have survived. Sadly, the other three plays, Egyptians, Danaids and the satyr play Amymone, have been lost.
In December 2016, director Ramin Gray and composer John Browne staged a new production of The Suppliant Women at Konzerttheater Bern in Switzerland with a community chorus of 28 local women.
Following the Swiss production, The Suppliant Women was staged in the UK during 2016 and 2017 at the Royal Lyceum, Edinburgh and the Young Vic, London. Renowned Scottish playwright David Greig created a new version of the play, following a literal translation to ensure maximum fidelity to the original.
For the UK tour two professional actors, one chorus leader and two musicians worked with newly created community choruses at each venue. The music comprised percussion and the haunting sound of the aulos, the twin pipes on which all classical theatre was accompanied. This was the first Greek production to be heard with the aulos since antiquity. The production then toured to The Dublin Theatre Festival and Hong Kong Arts Festival.
Wild Yak Productions have now teamed up with the original creative team to begin the process of reconstructing the final three plays in The Danaid Tetralogy. Since only fragments remain, the plays are being reconstructed through a workshop process supported by some of the world’s leading classical scholars, arts organisations and practitioners.
In November 2021 The Suppliant Women was revived with the original cast and creative team, and a new community chorus, at the Gulbenkian Theatre in Canterbury, in association with the Institute of Cultural and Creative Industries at the University of Kent. This was followed by the first development workshops for the next play in the cycle, Egyptians.
With further workshops planned over the coming months, our ultimate goal is to rehearse and stage the entire tetralogy over the next three years. We are currently seeking partners to join us on this journey.