THEATRE: The Greek Theatre Workshop


June 2018
Dates will be announced.

Imagine yourself standing in the Theater of Dionysus at the foot of the Acropolis in Athens, surrounded by the relics from the society where western theater began. Participants in the three week intensive workshop will explore the great dramatic works of the ancients while engaging in creative writing and acting. You will be inspired by the country of Aeschylus, Sophocles, Euripides and Aristophanes while being immersed in the vibrant modern city of Athens.

The Greek Theater Workshop is for participants interested in honing skills in playwriting and acting on the site where Western Theater was born.  Participants will select their focus track for the workshop. Both focus groups will work collaboratively to develop and stage original work inspired by the Ancient Greeks. Writer’s Focus: Involves the study and practice of script analysis and development for the stage.  Class will include readings and critique of student work. Actor’s Focus: Methods of classical acting, character development, mask and movement and vocal projection will be explored. Scenes and monologues from classical plays and modern plays inspired by the ancients will be presented along with pieces generated in the Writer’s Focus group.

The Greek Theatre Workshop will be part of the Summer Programs sponsored by the Athens Centre. Building on existing programs, this workshop promises to be a significant addition to the Greek language, poetry, and art classes currently offered. The theatre workshop will take place from …Dates will be anounced. Open to under-graduate, graduate students and the general public, this workshop is a valuable addition to the Athens Centre’s exciting summer programs.

The workshop will be participatory in nature. All participants will write scenes and monologues or study and perform scenes from Greek classics which will be discussed and critiqued in workshops. Each week will culminate in staged readings of selected writings generated in the daily workshops. Seminars will be led by David Edgecombe and Elizabeth Ware. The program is designed for both novices and experienced writers and promises to be a stimulating opportunity for personal creative growth.

EXCURSIONS:  The Athens Centre will arrange excursions to archeological sites and museums in the Attica region including the Acropolis and Theatre of Dionysus and the splendid new Acropolis Museum.  There will also be a tour of the Athens Theatre Museum. Trips to other local attractions will be added as appropriate. Participants will attend the Athens Festival and view performances at the Odeion of Herodus Atticus. An excursion to Epidaurus will be a two-day trip to the Peloponnese.

PRESENTATION OF SELECTED WORKS: On Friday evening of each week, staged readings and memorized pieces will be presented of the writers’ new works and selections from existing plays. These performances will be staged in the Athens Centre courtyard and the public will be invited to attend. This is an invaluable aspect of the playwright’s process – the opportunity to hear and see the words take on dimension and characterization through the actors’ interpretation. A response session will conclude each evening’s presentation.

David Edgecombe teaches Playwriting, Directing, Theatre History and Dramatic Literature for the Department of Theatre and Dance at the University of Alaska Anchorage.  He holds a B.A. from California Western University, M.A. from San Diego State University and a Ph.D. in Theatre History and Directing from Kent State University.  He is the Past President of the Northwest Drama Conference.  Dr. Edgecombe was Chair of the Department of Theatre at Marian College in Indianapolis for ten years.  He directed for the California Shakespearean Festival and founded the Indiana Shakespeare Festival where he directed 16 of its main season productions. His book, Actor Training during the Age of Shakespeare has recently been published in second edition. His play Libby, which he wrote and directed, toured nationally and received critical acclaim at the Edinburgh Fringe Festival in Scotland. He has staged productions at the Last Frontiere Theatre Conference in Valdez, Alaska, including A Delicate Balance, and Three Tall Women.  He often directs at Cyrano’s Playhouse in Anchorage where his productions include The Three Sisters, Hamlet, The Seagul , Dinner with Friends, Othello and this year’s Helen.  His two UAA productions, Somewhere in Between and The Scarecrow, received awards from the American College Theatre Festival.  He was honored at The Kennedy Center in Washington, D.C. for his work as a theatre educator and contributions to ACTF. Recently produced original scripts and adaptations include The Women of . . ., Adam’s Rib, The Scarecrow, and He Who Gets Slapped. He has also adapted plays by William Shakespeare for educational tours.  He directed tours of Shakespeare’s A Midsummer Night’s Dream and Othello which were funded by National Endowment for the Arts grants.  Dr. Edgecombe has taught in various study abroad programs including Siena, Italy and Ancient Theatre History in Athens, Greece. He has led tours for students and educators to Italy, England, Ireland, Scotland, Greece and Spain.

Elizabeth Ware is well known to Alaska audiences through her work with Cyrano’s Theatre Company and as Libby, her one-woman show which has been performed throughout the United States, and earned a 4-star review from The Scotsman at the Edinburgh Fringe Festival. Libby was presented at the Last Frontier Theatre Conference in 1999 where she has also appeared in three of Edward Albee’s plays; Agnes in A Delicate Balance, Mommy in The American Dream and “B” in Three Tall Women.  For ten years she produced and was a featured actor with the Indiana Shakespeare Festival where her roles included Kate the Shrew, Beatrice, Isabella, Portia and Hermione.  As a guest artist with the Chamber Drama Theatre in Vladivostok, Russia, Elizabeth performed Titania in their international production of A Midsummer Night’s Dream at the Pacific Rim Theatre Festival. Memorable roles in Alaska include Masha in Chekhov’s The Three Sisters, Arkadina in The Seagull and Sara in Henry and Sara. For UAA Theatre she has directed The Heidi Chronicles and Antigone. Today as a Teaching Artist with the Alaska State Council on the Arts she performs, writes and directs educational productions of the plays of William Shakespeare. She is currently appearing as Kate in her own script of Shrew and numerous characters in Hamlet. With her husband David Edgecombe she has taught Theatre History, Shakespeare, Ancient Greek Theatre and mask making in Siena, Italy and Athens, Greece. Elizabeth was educated at the USIU School of Performing Arts in San Diego and holds a Master’s in acting from Kent State University.

Educational and Artistic Experience:  A practicing playwright, Dr. Edgecombe teaches playwriting at the University of Alaska Anchorage.  Ms. Ware, a professional actor, manages her own production company which focuses on Shakespeare and the Classics. They have received two National Endowment for the Arts Shakespeare for a New Generation awards.  This initiative provides funding to bring live professional performances of Shakespeare to underserved communities.  Both David and Elizabeth have been Featured Artist/Respondents at the Last Frontier Playwriting Conference since its inception 20 years ago under the leadership of Edward Albee.  In that capacity they have worked closely with such playwrights as John Guare, Terrence McNally, Arthur Miller, Robert Anderson, and August Wilson.  They have collaborated on numerous theatre projects including critically acclaimed productions of Albee’s Who’s Afraid of Virginia Woolf?, Chekhov’s The Sea Gull,  Wilder’s Our Town and many plays by Shakespeare.  Elizabeth has appeared in several of David’s original plays and adaptations, most notably the title character in Libby, Amanda in Adam’s Rib, and Hecuba in The Women of…, his modern adaptation of Euripides The Trojan Women.  In September 2011 David and Elizabeth will collaborate once again on a modern adaptation of Euripides’ Helen by Ellen MacLaughlin.

International Travel Experience:  David Edgecombe and Elizabeth Ware have team-taught for AHA study abroad programs in Siena, Italy (Fall 1996) and in Athens on two occasions (Fall 2004 and Fall 2009). They have led European theatre tours for the University of Alaska Anchorage.  They have produced and performed original works at the Edinburgh Fringe Festival, the Theatre of Changes Festival in Athens and they were guest director/featured actress with the Chamber Drama Theatre in Vladivostok, Russia.

Course duration: The full program is three weeks in duration. Participants with less time at their disposal are welcome to register for one or two weeks of the session.

College Credit: University credit is available for eligible students from the University of Alaska Anchorage. For more information regarding credit, please e-mail David Edgecombe, at There are additional fees charged by the University if participants request acedemic credit. Other colleges and universities often grant credit for the workshop to their own students by special arrangement with the registrar or Studies Abroad office. Teachers can earn credit toward their continuing accreditation by participating in the program. Language Arts instructors who participate in the program frequently find that they learn new teaching skills to bring to their classes.

Classrooms:  Classes are held in the Centre’s air-conditioned neo-classical building in the central residential area of Mets. There is a full view of the Acropolis from the rooftop terrace. The Athens Centre office and classrooms are located 15-30 minutes’ walk from the most important museums and archaeological sites of Athens, including the Acropolis, the new Acropolis Museum, the Agora, and the Benaki and Cycladic Museums. The Plaka and Monasteraki flea market neighborhoods are within walking distance, as are the major shopping areas of central Athens.

Housing: The housing arranged by the Centre is in furnished, air-conditioned studio apartments with bathroom and simple kitchen. The studios are located in a residential area five minutes’ walk from the Athens Centre. Double or single accommodation is available.

Program activities: Included in the program fees are one or two guided visits each week, to sites which include the Acropolis and the new Acropolis Museum, art galleries and other cultural and historical places in the city. A day trip to a nearby island will provide an opportunity to hold class in a very different setting, with plenty of time during the day to swim in the clear blue waters of the Aegean, Homer’s “wine-dark sea”. The evening poetry readings at the Athens Centre are always enjoyable occasions, as is the public exhibit of work by the Art Workshop participants, who will be at the Athens Centre during the same weeks. Welcome and Farewell dinner are arranged at the beginning and end of the session.

Independent activities: Athens Festival events, including theatre, dance and music, take place during the summer at the Herod Atticus theatre under the Acropolis, and at other venues in Athens and Piraeus. Most participants will choose to attend at least one of these performances.  Weekends are free for independent activities or travel. Many students elect to go to the Peloponnese to visit Nauplion, Mycenae, or Epidaurus, or to nearby islands such as Hydra, Spetses, Mykonos or Santorini. Others stay in the city to explore Athens in more depth, and take advantage of the many events and cultural activities which take place each summer.

Computers: Participants are encouraged to bring their laptops with them. Most computers have built-in adaptors to use with the electric current in Greece, which is 220v. There are five computers and a printer available for student use at the Centre’s computer facility. Wifi covers the classrooms and courtyard.

Program Dates: TO BE ANNOUNCED. Participants arrive on Monday, June … A reception for students and faculty of all the summer programs takes place on Sunday evening in the Athens Centre courtyard. The Welcome Dinner at a nearby taverna follows the reception. Classes begin on Tuesday morning at 9:30am. The last day of class is Friday, June …. Students depart on Saturday, June …

Registration: To register for the Theatre Workshop, complete the registration form on the Athens Centre’s web site, at Fees/Registration page. A deposit of 250 Euros is required to reserve a place in the workshop.  (The deposit is credited towards the full tuition fee of 1280 Euros).

A detailed pre-program bulletin will be sent to participants upon registration for the program and receipt of the course deposit.

Tuition fees:  1280 Euros for 3 weeks. You can make your payment at our Fees/Registration page.

Housing fees: Information about the housing can be sent upon request at

Housing  fees are pro-rated for those registering for less than three weeks of the program.

Refunds:  Full deposit, tuition and housing fees are refunded if a participant cancels before June … If cancellation occurs on or before June … half the fees are refunded. No fees are refunded after June …, but a tuition and housing credit valid for one year will be given.


The University of Alaska Anchorage, in cooperation with the Athens Centre in Greece, is offering a three-week intensive playwriting workshop in the birthplace of Western theatre.  Imagine yourself soaking up inspiration as you wander the narrow streets of Athens’ ancient Plaka in the shadow of the Acropolis; as you stand where it all began in the Theatre of Dionysus; as you sit in a sidewalk bar sipping a frappe and watching life in this busy, cosmopolitan city whirl around you.

Your writing will be inspired by the classics, but it will be up to you, the writer, to bring the ancient themes and stories into the modern world.  Be part of a true writer’s workshop, led by practicing theatre professionals who believe creative participation is the best teacher.  At the conclusion of each week, you will have the unique opportunity of hearing and seeing your words spoken in staged readings by skilled actors in the beautiful Athens Centre courtyard.

You will have the option of earning college credit, consulting with onsite experts on ancient Greek culture and mythology, attending offerings at the world-renowned Athens Festival of the Arts, and adding excursions to other parts of Greece and the islands at the conclusion of the three-week program.  Excursions to the Acropolis, the stunning new Acropolis Museum and the Agora, as well as an overnight trip to the Theatre at Epidaurus are included in the program.

Organized by UAA professor David Edgecombe and professional performer Elizabeth Ware, The Athens Playwriting Workshop promises to be a dynamic exploration of theatre in an exotic locale.

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