Aquila Theatre will host a YouStories program–A Female Philoctetes—from April 16th through 19th at the Brooklyn Academy of Music.
The mission of the Aquila Theatre is to make classical works accessible to a wide audience, including people who have not previously encountered ancient Greek drama. Classical plays have transcended their origins because they ask questions about what it means to be human—questions that are as pertinent today as they were when the plays were written more than two thousand years ago. The NEH awarded the Aquila Theatre three grants to assist it in its mission to ensure that the humanities reach wide audiences. In 2008, Aquila Theatre received support from NEH for its Page and Stage: Theatre, Tradition, and Culture in America initiative. The program benefited underserved communities, allowing for a series of performances, readings, and programs, which focused on the contemporary resonances of the plays.
In 2010, Aquila Theatre received a second grant for Ancient Greeks/Modern Lives. Ancient Greeks/Modern Lives was aimed at underserved inner city and rural communities with a special focus on veterans and members of military families. The goal was to give audience members the chance to share their stories and process their experiences through performances and discussions of ancient Greek drama. The program centered around four thematic units: Rites of Passage (Changing Worlds, Transforming Lives), Stranger in Strange Land (Encountering the Other), Homecoming (The Return of the Warrior), and From Homer to Hip Hop (The Art of Storytelling). Those units explored significant humanities themes that consider the connections between classical literature and contemporary America. More than one hundred locations nationwide hosted Ancient Greeks/ Modern Lives programming.
Aquila Theatre is now adapting concepts from Ancient Greeks/Modern Lives for a new audience of veterans and civilians. The Theatre is planning scholar-led reading/performance and discussion programs, a website, and a mobile app focused on the ways in which classical Greek and Roman drama continue to resonate for veterans as well as civilian audiences.