Helikon: a mountain in Greece, in Boeotia. Location of the springs of Hippocrene and Aganippe, believed by the Ancient Greeks to be the source of poetic inspiration and the home of the Muses. In Ancient Greek mythology, as Pegasus landed atop Mount Helikon and his hoof touched the ground, a healing spring of water shot out of the earth. This spring was called the Hippocrene. In the Orpheus myth, the women who killed Orpheus wanted to wash the blood off their hands in the Helikon river; it went underground and sprung up further away so that the Hippocrene remained pure.
A similar version of the story occurs in the bible. When the Angel Bethesda touched the ground in Jerusalem, a healing fountain shot up from the ground and became a site on which lepers and all those with illness could be cured and washed clean of pain. The story even pops up at the end of Tony Kushner’s “Angels in America”.
Helikon is a source of inspiration, but also its waters are healing, purifying and purgative.
This is true of theatre.
We champion theatre’s ability to cure, to challenge, to purge, to inspire, to emote. Good theatre asks us to respond with our bodies, with the springing of tears and the bubbling of laughter.
The story behind the healing spring on top of mount Helikon is predicated on the way we experience theatre: the springing up of catharsis. It is no accident that the ancient greeks likened the experience of catharsis to a ‘hot bath’, while early modern tracts similarly describe catharsis as an experience that brought about physiological change.
Behind our name lies the ‘spring’ of tragedy and the experience of catharsis that, we believe, exists transhistorically.
Hence our mission to put classical texts, stories and masterpieces from before our time but fit for our time through the moving waters of tragedy. To renew and refresh so that we might discover our own personal “Helikon”. Just as the muse moved through the Hippocrene waters, so must art move through the world today.