About Helikon Theatre Company
Theatre - especially in the early modern and Ancient Greek canon - used to be a civic event, where a community would encounter stories they knew and characters they thought of as family.
At Helikon Theatre Company, we want to develop a contemporary piece of writing in this style. We expect to push, test and deconstruct various theatrical forms. Can Shakespeare’s text be updated? What does a truly modernised adaptation look and sound like? But we also want to start creating a play of our own - one that draws on current events and modern myths as our source: What happens if we swap Aeschylus’ sources with a modern equivalent? Is today’s version of The Oresteia an adaptation of Friends where Rachel kills Ross, and Ben in return kills Rachel? Currently we do not have an answer: we want to pose these questions. We hope this will lead to a complex, new, accessible and urgent mode of theatre.
We want to recreate the civic, political, social and emotional immediacy of theatre, a power that we think it is beginning to lose in a increasingly commercial sphere. The way we consume theatre - house lights down and curtain up - has grown stale. We seek to interrogate a form that has remained dormant for too long.
Theatre must also reflect the society in which we live. Old classics are steeped in patriarchal influence and power. This influence needs to be rewritten and its form broken open. We will create theatre that draws on and listens to overlooked narratives and the structures they inhabit. Above all, we simply want to create groundbreaking theatre.
Myles is a theatre director, primarily working with modern versions of classical texts. He is particularly drawn to the works of Shakespeare - somewhat foolishly he has already directed Hamlet twice. After specialising in early modern drama at Cambridge University, he researched the conversational and historical layers that exist between the works of Shakespeare and his contemporaries, layers that the early moderns lived among and knew inside out. How can this historical depth survive today? Perhaps it doesn’t. Myles is interested in resurrecting this civic, political and physiological immediacy so that our theatre of today engages with the world in which we live, rather than looking to the past.
Gaia Fay Lambert
Gaia is a producer and writer, who has been involved with all sorts of theatre but finds herself constantly drawn back to Shakespearean and Greek plays. Her first experiments with theatre were aged 8 when she tried to convince her entire primary school class to stage A Midsummer Night's’ Dream. She failed. She has thankfully found some more willing collaborators since then.
She believes that the most powerful theatre rests on the simple idea of the fallibility of being human: all compelling stories, at their hearts, come from the universal theme of human error and suffering, and our continued fascination with tragedy arises from the knowledge that we too have this capability for this on a grand scale. She particularly enjoys narratives that have travelled down the stream of history, resurfacing for air in the likes of Ovid, Shakespeare, Keats and Elliott, and loves to find unusual parallels in unlikely places.