Director Helen Meany tells us about the ClassicsNow Festival Which Happens This Weekend

Posted January 13, 2022 in Arts and Culture, Festival Features

BIMM nov 13 – dec 15 – Desktop

What is the genesis of ClassicsNow and what should the public expect from the festival?

We wanted to showcase the current burst of interest in revisiting the art, literature and ideas of the ancient Greeks and Romans. 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 will present inviting encounters, including performances and readings, both online and live in public spaces – from the Dublin City Gallery: the Hugh Lane, to the Irish Film Institute and Museum of Literature Ireland. In interviews, discussions, readings, film screenings and musical theatre performances, you will see and hear from artists who are working in different genres and art forms, in thought-provoking and imaginative ways.

Was its second iteration always conceived as online or a hybrid?

Our second festival is a hybrid of live and online events. We think people are dying to get back out to live events, so this time we have included three live performances, a (live) writers’ discussion, and a film screening, with careful social distancing, masks, and audiences at 50% capacity in each venue.

Can you select a highlight for:

The avid fan of Classics? 

For people who can tell Athena from Antigone, author Charlotte Higgins in conversation with Carlo Gébler, is the one to go for. It’s a live discussion on Greek myth, at City Assembly House, the HQ of the Irish Georgian Society, on Saturday 22nd, 5.30 pm.

Or if you would prefer to stay comfortably at home, watch novelist Madeline Miller online on our opening night. She’ll be talking about her best-selling books, Circe,and The Song of Achilles. Friday 21st, from 8pm.

The first timer exploring Classics? 

A documentary at the IFI, in which acclaimed hiphop artist, writer and activist, Akala, goes island-hopping around the Mediterranean to discover more about Homer, whose oral epic poems, composed 3,000 years ago, have influenced Akala’s own music and writing.

Akala’s Odyssey, IFI, Saturday 22nd, 1 pm.

The curious Classics kid?

For kids of all ages, A Fox Fest for All The Family is the one to pick. Inspired by the ancient Aesop’s Fables, there will be myth, music and mystery from the always magical Theatre Lovett. Live at the Hugh Lane Gallery, Sunday 23rd, 2-3 pm. Admission free; booking required.

What would you like to see the audience take away from the festival?

We would like to invite you to dive into the art, literature and ideas of the Ancient Greeks and Romans, as interpreted and reimagined by outstanding artists today. Whether you loved Greek and Roman mythology as a child, learned some Latin at school or have a passion for Roman history and architecture, there’s something here for you to discover.

“We would like to invite you to dive into the art, literature and ideas of the Ancient Greeks and Romans, as interpreted and reimagined by outstanding artists today.”

Is there any topic of discussion which is drawing heated debate and being re-evaluated in the world of Classics at the moment? What should we be name dropping?

A question that’s current here in Ireland is about who gets to learn about Classics and the ancient world, or is taught Latin and Greek at school? Did you, and would you have liked to? There is also exciting new research into the role of women in ancient societies, as well as big questions about class, privilege and race.There’s lots of discussion on these topics on Twitter, using #ClassicsTwitter. That’s after you follow us on @ClassicsNowFest, of course.

ClassicsNow is on from Friday January 21 to Sunday January 23.

All booking information is on


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