The Chorus Project Podcast documents the making process of The Chorus Project, an international collaboration between Upstart Theatre in the UK, Pathos München in Germany, Theater am Lend in Austria, and the MKC Youth Cultural Centre in the Republic of Northern Macedonia. Each theatre company has created a new theatre production inspired by the ancient Greek tragedy, The Oresteia.
The Oresteia – the only trilogy of ancient Greek theatre that survives today – unfolds a founding myth of ancient democratic Athens, bringing together its historical guilt and its hopes for the future. In 2018, forces that once seemed to have been overcome by democracy and international collaboration – nationalism, discrimination, corruption – have returned like the Furies, jeopardising law, peace and democracy throughout Europe. The Chorus Project asks if democracy can save us from falling once again into the historic cycles of violence and misunderstanding that plagued Europe throughout its history; and if not, what will?
Each company has worked with professional and non-professional theatre makers to create a new piece of theatre inspired by one of the three plays of The Oresteia. In January 2020 Upstart presented Beneath the City at the Birmingham REP. Beneath the City reimagined the third play in the trilogy, The Eumenides and followed the story of Shey, a woman on a quest for justice after her brother dies in custody.
Can Theatre Save Democracy?
The first episode of the Chorus Project Podcast features an interview with Katja Kettner and Angelika Fink, part of the directing team for The Chorus Project in Germany. Angelika, Katja and Tom talk about how The Chorus Project got started, the different ways of working we have in Germany and the UK, and how theatre - and time - can help save democracy.
How to Swallow a Frog
In episode two of the Chorus Project podcast, Tom talks with Macedonian theatre-makers Kristina Bozurska and Jasmina Vasileva about why coming to London is like meeting your teenage boyfriend for the first time, how democracy feels like something that happens somewhere else, and how hope for change comes from the next generation.
How to Stage a Missing Play
In episode three of the theatre and democracy podcast, theatre directors Tom Mansfield (UK) and Christian Winkler (Austria), AKA Franz von Strolchen, talk about how taking part in democracy can be part of our cultural identity, reviving the Oresteia’s Satyr Play as an act of reconstructing a non-existent memory, and their shared love of the Choose Your Own Adventure books.
How to make Birmingham a fairer city
In our fourth episode, Tom talks to the Citizen Chorus of Beneath the City - a group of citizen performers in Birmingham who'll be performing with us as part of The Chorus Project. We talked about access to housing and healthcare in the city; about the decline of a sense of social solidarity, and much more.
Is Culture Bad for You?
In this episode, recorded live at DARE Festival 2019, Tom talks to Dr David O'Brien about Panic! It's an Arts Emergency, a ground-breaking study into inequality and taste in the arts in the UK.