The Future of the Past

January 2023
Friday 27 – Sunday 29


The Future of the Past

January 2023
Friday 27 – Sunday 29


Welcome to Classics Now, an exciting new cultural festival online, in Dublin and beyond.

Dive into the art, literature and ideas of the Ancient Greeks and Romans as interpreted and reimagined by outstanding artists today.

Following the success of our first two festivals, our third weekend will showcase the current burst of exploration and re-engagement with Classics and the ancient world. Artists, writers and thinkers, international and Irish, are taking Classics as a lens to examine our contemporary cultural and political preoccupations and challenges.

Our three-day programme in January will present a series of inviting encounters including readings and performances, online and live in Dublin's public spaces - art galleries and cultural centres - with a number of events aimed at second and third-level students. In interviews, discussions, film screenings and musical theatre performances, you will meet artists who are working in different genres and art forms, in thought-provoking and imaginative ways.

Come and join the new Renaissance.

Twitter/ Instagram @ClassicsNowFest

At a Glimpse:
First Programme Highlights

The ClassicsNow weekend will feature online and live events with exciting writers and artists using the ancient past as a way to reflect on our world today.

photos of Andrew Synott along with Rory Musgrave (by Frances Marshall)

Eurydice and Orpheus: Words and Music

In this year’s festival we’re tracing the haunting myth of Orpheus, the Thracian poet and singer with divine powers. For over 2,500 years the story of this archetypal artist-poet has been adapted and represented in Western literature, music, painting and film.

Join us for a special ClassicsNow opening night performance at theNational Concert Hall, with baritone Rory Musgrave, composer Andrew Synnott on piano, and actor Tara Lynne O’Neill. Directed by Conor Hanratty; in partnership with Poetry Ireland.

In a selection of music and poetry we will hear echoes of Orpheus and his lover, Eurydice, through the words of Ovid and Rilke along with contemporary Irish poets; the music of Monteverdi, Glück, Saint-Saëns, as well as recent interpretations.

Friday January 27th, 7pm, Kevin Barry Room, NCH.
Booking opens on January 9th.

Book Tickets ➔
Still from Jean Cocteau's Orphée

Orpheus on Screen: Cocteau’s Orphée

In our second event tracing the many facets of Orpheus in music, poetry and images,ClassicsNow partners with the Irish Film Institute for a screening of Orphée. In this luminous black-and-white film, the French poet, playwright, artist and filmmaker Jean Cocteau transposes the myth of Orpheus to 1950s Paris. Introduced by Sinéad MacAodh, Director of Literature Ireland.

Sunday 29 January, 6.15 pm, IFI.

Book Tickets ➔
UCD Museum of Classical Antiquity

Classical Museum: Tour and Drawing Workshop

Join Museum Curator Dr Joanna Day for a guided tour of the Classical Museum, University College Dublin, the largest collection of Classical antiquities on display in Ireland. To take a closer look at these artefacts, we invite you to respond creatively through your own artwork in a drawing workshop with artist Genevieve Harden. (No previous art experience required. Materials provided.) 

Saturday January 28th. Tour, 11-11.45 am; workshop, 12 noon-1.30 pm.

Book Tickets ➔
natale haynes and stone blind appearing in dublin

An evening with Natalie Haynes

Natalie Haynes in Dublin: bringing insight and originality to her readings of Classical myth, drama and history, this award-winning author and broadcaster will introduce her latest novel, Stone Blind, a dazzling reinterpretation of the story of Medusa. In partnership with the Abbey Theatre. Peacock stage. Saturday January 28th, 6pm.

greek black pottery shwoing nausicaa and odysseus

The Odyssey

Nostos, Return to Ithaca: join us to watch new episodes of Gavin Kostick’s dynamic version of Homer’s Odyssey take shape, in a special work-in-progress presentation, performed by composer Andrew Synnott, with playwright Gavin Kostick and dance artist Megan Kennedy. In partnership with Dublin City Gallery: the Hugh Lane.

Sunday January 29th, 12 noon. Booking opens on January 23rd.

Ovid's Metamorphoses translated by Stephanie McCarter who is interviewed by Helen Morales

Subversive Power: Helen Morales and Stephanie McCarter

In Antigone Rising: The Subversive Power of the Ancient Myths, renowned Classics scholar Helen Morales (pictured, bottom) explores contemporary recreations of myth and the questions they pose. She will be in conversation with classicist Stephanie McCarter, whose new feminist translation of Ovid’s Metamorphoses speaks powerfully to our 21st century world. Online event; watch from Friday January 27th.

Mary Beard and Shadi Bartsch

In Conversation:
Shadi Bartsch and Mary Beard

Award-winning classicist Shadi Bartsch’s publications include a gripping new translation of Virgil’sAeneid. Her latest book, Plato Goes To China: the Greek Classics and Chinese Nationalism, is a cross-cultural study of Chinese readings of Plato, Aristotle and Thucydides. She will be joined online by acclaimed Classical scholar and broadcaster, Professor Mary Beard, author of Confronting the Classics, among many works.

Online event, available from Sunday 29th January.

Laura Beatty and John Banville, photo by Douglas Banville

Of Gods and Men:
John Banville and Laura Beatty

Who speaks here? I do, little god, the great ones having absconded.’ Enter Hermes, the god who narrates The Singularities, the latest novel by Booker-prize winning author, John Banville. He will be in conversation with novelist and biographer Laura Beatty, whose new book, Looking For Theophrastus: travels in search of a lost philosopher, is a fascinating quest to recover traces of the ancient past.

National Concert Hall Studio, Sunday January 29th, 3.30 pm.

Book Tickets ➔
staging greek tragedy

Staging Greek Tragedy

Drawing on artists’ insights into performing and directing Ancient Greek tragedy for modern audiences, our second event in partnership with the Abbey Theatre is a panel discussion and Q&A with leading theatre artists Derbhle Crotty, Eileen Walsh and director Erica Whyman, chaired by dramaturg Dr Tanya Dean. Peacock stage. Saturday January 28th, 3pm.

Book Tickets ➔

Festival Highlights

A small taste of what's to come. Keep an eye on this page as we release more details closer to the festival.

Madeline Miller

Award-winning novelist and essayist Madeline Miller will be joining us online to talk about The Song of Achilles, which won the Orange Prize for fiction, and Circe, her acclaimed reimagining of Homer’s Odyssey from a compelling perspective. Madeline Miller will be in conversation with author and journalist Anna Carey on Friday January 21st.

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A Fox Fest for All The Family

Theatre Lovett invites you to stroll through the crinkly papyrus pages of history, with helpful advice from Aesop’s Fables. Mister Fox rustles up fascinating facts from Ancient Greece and Rollicking Rome. Myths and mystery abound when Fox is around! Live interactive performance in partnership with Dublin City Gallery: the Hugh Lane.

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Tell us, Muse, about a man of twists and turns…

Join us to see Gavin Kostick’s dynamic new version of Homer’s Odyssey take shape, in a special work-in-progress presentation performed by Janet Moran, Gavin Kostick and composer Andrew Synnott. Presented in partnership with MoLI – Museum of Literature Ireland.

Image ©️The Trustees of the British Museum
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Festival Partners

Literature IrelandInstituto Italiano di Cultura DublinoThe Classical Teachers Association of IrelandThe Classical Association of IrelandThe Classical Association of Northern IrelandAdvocating Classics EducationIrish Institute of Hellenic Studies at AthensMaynooth UniversityTrinity College DublinInstituto Italiano di Cultura Dublino

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