The Iris Project - Ancient Theatre

Oxford Ancient Theatre

For the easter and summer terms 2011 children in year six from the Barton estate in east Oxford took part in Iris's ancient theatre project. They learned about ancient theatre and its importance to ancient Greek civilisation in a series of workshops run by The Iris Project, and this culminated in a double-bill performance of Aristophanes' Birds and Frogs.



Perhaps the best-loved and most famous of all Aristophanes' comedies, Frogs is the story of the god Dionysus and his slave Xanthias' journey into the underworld to find a poet to save the city from itself. On his way he meets friend and foe who help him in his journey from the hero Hercules to the god Pluto and the famous chorus of Frogs. It is at times hautingly sad but it never loses its sense of mischief and fun. Written as Athens faced total defeat at the hands of her arch-rivals Sparta at the end of a long war, the play is about the role of art in society, the old ways against the new. The play captures perfectly Aristophanes' unique mix of satire, fantasty and slap-stick. Once seen it is never forgotten.

Here are snippets of the performances at Bayards Hill Primary School, as well as interviews with the children.

Iris Festival of Classics

took place at THE SCOOP City Hall, More London
17th - 19th June, 2009

The Iris Festival was a three-day festival of Classics, including plays and performances of Greek drama by London state schools. Free to schools and other members of the public, it brought a fresh approach to classics and Greek drama.


Read more: Iris Festival of Classics

Ancient Theatre Project

Ancient theatre in inner cities

Ancient theatre is a diverse and fascinating aspect of the Classical world. Centuries after they were first written, we are still haunted by the themes of the great plays of the ancient Greeks, and moved by their poetic intensity and beauty. So many elements of theatre today have been informed by the theatre of the ancient world, and exploring the roots of drama is a revealing and extraordinary process of historical, cultural and literary discovery.

The Iris Project runs a variety of different ancient theatre initiatives for inner London schools and communities. Please click on the links below for details:

London Ancient Theatre


Every year, The Iris Project runs ancient theatre projects in London's primary and secondary schools which explore the roots of Greek drama. Pupils from schools across the city experience workshops on drama and ancient theatre, visit a London theatre and watch a production of an ancient Greek comedy or tragedy. As the culmination of this year long programme, pupils perform ancient Greek comedies and tragedies at professional theatres. In the past, these have included the UCL Bloomsbury Theatre and The Scoop at City Hall.


Please get in touch if you would like to be involved in these projects.

The Iris Project
24 Green Ridges

This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.