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24 July 2019

The Department of Classics announces the new Greek Play 2020

The Department of Classics at King’s College London is delighted to announce that its next Greek Play will be a world first: Dionysus in the Underworld, Euripides’ Bacchae and Aristophanes’ Frogs presented together in a combination of ancient Greek and newly translated English.

Dionysus in the Underworld poster

This new play is to be created especially for King’s by writer and director David Bullen in collaboration with Isaac Freeman (as associate director). This is an exciting new direction for the Greek Play, the UK’s only production of ancient Athenian drama to be staged annually in the original language.  Get your ticket today!

“I am hugely proud of the King’s Greek Play, an illustrious tradition now entering its 67th  year. We are very excited to have appointed a professional director, David Bullen, who will give our students an exemplary training in theatre production.”

Dr Daniel Orrells, Head of the Department of Classics

Dionysus in the Underworld  takes two of the best-known plays of the ancient world and combines them to give a caustic tragicomic look at the most urgent issue of our time: the climate emergency.

“When Athens was on the brink of annihilation in 405 BCE, plays by both Euripides and Aristophanes unusually featured the god of theatre, Dionysus, in the starring role. Both Bacchae  and  Frogs  dramatize terror that civilisation is about to be wiped out. The King’s Greek play 2020 unites them to address age-old themes of threatened extinction, rebellion, and the power of art to change the future.”

Edith Hall, Professor of Classics at King's and one of the leaders of the Advocating Classics Education campaign

The new play continues the Department of Classics' excellent outreach work. Last February, the Department’s production of Antigone  played to over fifteen hundred people, giving more than a thousand children and young people the opportunity to experience ancient Greek drama in performance. Dionysus in the Underworld  will again be ideal for those studying Classical Civilisation – both Bacchae and Frogs are prescribed texts for the OCR A level syllabus – as well as Classics, Drama, and English.

Dionysus in the Underworld  will be performed at the Greenwood Theatre, London Bridge (SE1 3RA) from 26-28 February 2020 (19.00 nightly with 14.30 matinées on the 26 and 28). Evening performances will be preceded by pre-show events at 18.00 featuring leading scholars and climate change experts; these are free to ticket holders for the subsequent performance.

Tickets are available for schools and other educational groups. Teachers accompanying all educational groups receive complimentary tickets; booking enquiries for educational groups should be sent to Angelica Baker Ottaway at

For individual tickets, general booking has also now opened.

Follow the Greek Play on Twitter, Instagram, and Facebook @KingsGreekPlay for all the latest updates. Please direct any enquiries to