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 Ismene  Lada-Richards

Professor Ismene Lada-Richards

Professor of Classical Literature & Performance Culture

Research interests

  • Culture
  • Literature


After a first degree in the University of Athens, I did my PhD in Cambridge under the supervision of Richard Hunter. I subsequently spent three years as a Junior Research Fellow at St John's College, Cambridge. In 1995 I was appointed to a lectureship in Classics at the University of Nottingham, where from I joined King's in 1999.

Research interests and PhD supervision

My research interests range very broadly in the field of Greek and Roman literature and culture and currently include: the performance dimension of Greek drama, with particular focus on the history and practice of acting in antiquity; Graeco-Roman pantomime dancing, with emphasis on its perception in antiquity, its multiple reflections in imperial literature and its post-Renaissance reception (with particular focus on the 18th century); aspects of the interface between élite and popular culture in antiquity, and comparative cultural studies pertaining to theatre and performance history. My publications include Initiating Dionysus: Ritual and Theatre in Aristophanes' Frogs (OUP 1999), Silent Eloquence: Lucian and Pantomime Dancing (Duckworth 2007) and numerous articles on aspects of ancient drama and pantomime dancing.

I would be delighted to supervise students working on any of the following:

  • pantomime dancing
  • dance traditions of the ancient world
  • ancient theatrical culture
  • fifth-century drama (especially from the angle of performance)
  • early reception of tragedy in literature and/or art
  • drama and ritual (especially from an anthropological perspective)
  • Dionysus
  • initiation rituals (especially as reflected in literature)

For more details, please see my full research profile.

Selected publications

  • Silent Eloquence: Lucian and Pantomime Dancing (London: Duckworth 2007)
  • Initiating Dionysus: Ritual and Theatre in Aristophanes' Frogs (Oxford: Clarendon Press 1999)
  • “On Taking our Sources Seriously: Servius and the Theatrical Life of Vergil's EcloguesClassical Antiquity1 (2019) 91-140
  • “‘Closing Up’ on Animal Metamorphosis: Ovid's Micro-Choreographies in the Metamorphoses and the Corporeal Idioms of Pantomime Dancing”, Classical World 3 (2018) 371-404
  • “Dancing Trees: Ovid's Metamorphoses and the Imprint of Pantomime Dancing”, American Journal of Philology 1 (2016) 131-69
  • Mutata Corpora: Ovid's Changing Forms and the Metamorphic Bodies of Pantomime Dancing”, Transactions of the American Philological Association 143 (2013) 105-52
  • “‘By Means of Performance’: Western Greek Mythological Vase-Paintings, Tragic ‘Enrichment’, and the Early Reception of Fifth-century Athenian Tragedy”, Arion2 (2009) 99-166
  • “‘Mobile Statuary’: Refractions of Pantomime Dancing from Callistratus to Emma Hamilton and Andrew Ducrow”, International Journal of the Classical Tradition 1 (2003) 3-37
  • “The Subjectivity of Greek Performance”, in E. Hall and P. E. Easterling (eds.), Greek and Roman Actors: Aspects of an Ancient Profession (Cambridge University Press 2002) 395-418.
  • “‘Empathic Understanding’: Emotion and Cognition in Fifth-century Dramatic Audience Response”, Proceedings of the Cambridge Philological Society 39 (1993) 94-140