The Invasion of Melos

Event Type

Live performance and discussion

Colin Murphy, Conall Morrison and Once Off Productions
Adapted from Thucydides
Presented in association with Once Off Productions

Event Details

Council Chamber, City Hall, Dublin

February 3, 2024 12:00 PM

Event Link

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The Invasion of Melos
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About the event

When is invasion or conquest justified? Are there laws of war? Who will hold belligerents to account? Is geopolitics always about self-interest and the survival of the fittest?

The invasion of the island of Melos by the Athenian empire in 416 BC brought all these questions to the fore. The historian Thucydides compressed some of these arguments in an elaborate debate, the Melian Dialogue, a chapter in his influential History of the Peloponnesian War. His account of the 27-year war between Athens and Sparta (431-404 BC) analyses the Athenians’ imperialism and belief in their own superior strength.

We present a rehearsed reading of Colin Murphy’s adaptation of the Dialogue. The short performance will be followed by a panel discussion looking at the 2,500-year history of the ‘realist’ school of foreign policy.

The panel, including foreign policy specialist, former Naval Vice Admiral Mark Mellett and Classicist Dr Kerry Phelan, Maynooth University, will be chaired by journalist Sarah Carey, columnist with the Irish Independent.

Presented in association with Once Off Productions.


Colin Murphy

Colin Murphy is a playwright, screenwriter and journalist. His plays include The United States vs Ulysses with Once Off Productions and the Pavilion, The Asylum Workshop for TU Dublin and The Treaty, Haughey/Gregory and Guaranteed! for Fishamble, all published by Bloomsbury. His radio plays include #Antigone for Newstalk and Hamlet, Prince of Derry for RTÉ. Screenplays include The Guarantee, produced by John Kelleher Media. He writes a weekly column for the Sunday Independent.

Conall Morrison is a highly respected director and writer based in Dublin, who works across stage and screen. Most recently he directed The United States vs Ulysses by Colin Murphy and Quake by Janet Moran for the Dublin Theatre Festival, as well as directing Joyce’s Women at the Abbey Theatre, where previously he co-directed The Great Hunger with Caitriona McLaughlin. He is a regular collaborator with writer Colin Murphy directing many of his plays. Haughey | Gregory premiered at the Peacock Theatre followed by a sold out tour.

Conall’s adaptation of Woyzeck in Winter was a fusion of two masterpieces: Büchner’s Wozyeck and Schubert’s Die Winterreise. Co-produced by Landmark Productions and Galway International Arts Festival, following its opening in Ireland it transferred to the Barbican, London where it received 4* reviews.  As well as working for major Irish theatre companies, Conall has directed in the UK at the Royal National Theatre, the Royal Shakespeare Company and Lyric Theatre Belfast.

Vice Admiral Mark Mellett, DSM, is a retired Irish Naval Service vice admiral and was Chief of Staff of Ireland's Defence Forces from 2015-2021. He has a PhD in Politics and Law from the National University of Ireland, is an adjunct professor of Law at UCC and a graduate of the US Naval War College and the Royal Naval College Greenwich. He leads Green Compass, a consultancy that specialises in the complexities of today's strategic environment. He has received multiple awards and honors, including the Commander of the Legion d’Honneur from the President of France.

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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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