Since 1977, a community scholars, students, and enthusiasts of Greco-Roman drama have produced an ancient play in the original Greek or Latin through an endowed fund at Barnard College, Columbia University. While the organization is formally a collaboration between the Classics departments of Columbia and Barnard, several other institutions in New York City are often represented each year, drawing audiences from throughout the tri-state area. With annual programming in the original ancient tongue for over four decades, our performing arts group is the only one of its kind in the United States. Browse our recent productions and check out our YouTube postings for freely available videos of past productions. Stay tuned for news on the current season: casting calls often occur in the fall semester, with performances in early April.
Directed by Caleb Simone
Featuring a full musical score on the aulos (Ancient Greek double-pipes) performed by Callum Armstrong
Faculty Advisor: Helene Foley
Helene Foley is Professor of Classics at Barnard College, Columbia University, where she has taught for forty years and supervised Barnard Columbia Ancient Drama. As an internationally recognized authority on Greek drama especially, Helene has published several books on the reception of Greek tragedy. She is the author of Reimagining Greek Tragedy on the American Stage (2012, UC Press), Female Acts in Greek Tragedy (2001, Princeton), and Ritual Irony: Poetry and Sacrifice in Euripides (1985, Cornell), among several other books and articles. She is co-editor of Antigone on the Contemporary World Stage (2011, Oxford) and Visualizing the Tragic (2007, Oxford). Her current research examines the aspect of choral dance in particular.
Director: Caleb Simone
A PhD Candidate in Classics at Columbia University, Caleb is currently writing his dissertation on the aulos or double pipes in ancient Greek culture. He has published on sound and musical performance in Greek lyric and tragedy. Caleb holds a certificate in Ancient Greek Music from the University of Trento in Italy (2015) offered through the MOISA Society for Greek and Roman Music. He has been involved in Barnard Columbia Ancient Drama since 2013, playing a lead role in the production of Euripides’ Ion. In July 2017, Caleb participated in a concert in the Ashmolean Museum in Oxford featuring a fragment of the musical annotation from Euripides’ Orestes. In 2017, Caleb worked with Matt Rocker (below) to record a dramatic performance of spoken Latin for Bloomberg’s London Mithraeum project. Caleb has also worked with the Paideia Institute for Humanistic Study as the program developer for a volunteer-based public-school program in ancient Greek language and myth.
Musician: Callum Armstrong
Born in Glasgow, Callum is a professional musician based in London who specializes in woodwind instruments. Having studied the recorder at London’s Trinity Laban Conservatory, Callum has a broad background in performing on historical reed woodwinds. For three consecutive years Callum won the Beryl Maggs Award for recorder and in his final year was awarded the Silver Medal for Early Music. In recent years, Callum has collaborated with the MOISA Society for Greek and Roman Music to perform on reconstructed models of the ancient Greek aulos in chiefly scholarly settings. In November 2017, Callum played the aulos to accompany a creative retelling of Aeschylus’ Suppliant Women at London’s Young Vic.
Choreographer: Jon Froelich
Jon is artistic director of Cloud of Fools Theater Company, for whom he writes, acts, directs, and leads physical training. He is a regular collaborator with Caborca, Stolen Chair, and Mettawee River. Besides his regular work in NYC, he has performed in Germany, Italy, and Puerto Rico, as well as regionally in the United States. He teaches Movement in Pace University’s International Performance Ensemble program, and obtained his MFA in acting from Columbia University, where he has also taught acting.
Lighting Designer: Marién Vélez
Marién is from Puerto Rico and has a background in stage lighting in Argentina, New York City and Puerto Rico. Marién is currently finishing a Masters in Fine Arts in Lighting Design at Parsons School of Design. She has participated in events produced by the Hemispheric Institute of Performance and Politics (NYU) in Brazil and Canada. She has collaborated with groups like Madres de la Plaza de Mayo, Sylvia Bofill, Sleep No More, The Public Theater, Kairiana Núñez, Viveca Vázquez, Karen Languevin, Mima, and other artists and collectives. She has published for the magazine of the Colegio de Arquitectos de Puerto Rico.
Since 1977, the Matthew Alan Kramer Fund has supported an annual production through the Classics departments at Barnard and Columbia. Matthew was an engineering major and lover of Greek drama who died during his time at Columbia. As the benficiaries of this fund, we celebrate Matthew’s passion for the broad appeal of ancient Greek theater through our annual spring productions.