With NEH funding, Aquila Theatre has brought classic theatre to the public since 2008. Aquila’s initial partnership with the National Endowment for the Humanities developed into Ancient Greeks/Modern Lives, a program that encouraged the general public to explore how classical Greek and Roman dramas help us understand the present day. Working with the Urban Libraries Council, Aquila focused its efforts on rural and inner-city libraries in 100 communities. Libraries chose one of several themes to work with, including “Homer to Hip Hop: The Art of Storytelling” and “Homecoming: Return of the Warrior.” About 25% of the programs were oriented toward veterans. Aquila donated books and other materials to the participating libraries and trained 60 classics professors to run reading groups and give public talks. As a highlight of the program, Aquila brought a touring theater program to each of the libraries, where they hosted a workshop in the morning and a performance in the evening.
“I liked that the experiences were filtered through classical literature. This distance allows both performers and audience members to use their imaginations in an empathetic way, rather than merely evoking sympathy.”
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