Westminster New Home to Nation's Longest Running Classical Greek Theatre Festival
After 40 years at the University of Utah, organizers have fond memories, big hopes for new venue
Contact: Stephanie Carter (801) 832-2682
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Feb. 18, 2011
SALT LAKE CITY – Westminster is proud to be the new home of the Classical Greek Theatre Festival (CGTF), the longest running theater festival of its kind in the country. CGTF is also the only touring Greek festival in the country. For the last 40 years CGTF has been sponsored by the University of Utah. But like Olympian counterparts of old, the torch has been passed to Westminster.
“The Classical Greek Theatre Festival is a wonderful part of the culture scene in the Salt Lake Valley and I’m so happy not only that it will continue, but especially that it will be here at Westminster College,” said Dr. Mary Jane Chase, dean of Westminster’s School of Arts and Sciences.
Commenting on the move to Westminster, Dr. Raymond Tymas-Jones, dean of the University of Utah’s College of Fine Arts and associate vice president for the arts said, “As we are saddened by the reality that we will no longer host the Greek Theatre at the University of Utah, we rejoice in the fact that the life of this esteemed production will continue in such a great establishment as Westminster College.”
“We have the nostalgia of 40 years of great theater behind us and the anticipation of what’s to come in front of us,” said Dr. Jim Svendsen, who serves as classical consultant of CGTF. “It won’t be easy; there will be changes and with those changes come challenges, but we’re excited.”
Some of those changes include: a new venue at Westminster, with a scheduled performance each year, open auditions for Westminster students, U of U students and actors from the community, and the possibility in coming years for a new artistic director and producer for the festival.
“We’re delighted that on the heels of introducing our theatre major the Classical Greek Theatre Festival will find a home here. It fits in with our curriculum perfectly and presents unique opportunities for our students to get involved,” Dr. Chase said.
In the fall of 2011 CGTF will present Euripides’ Iphigenia in Tauris, the further adventures of the eldest daughter of Agamemnon. Set in an exotic land at the edges of the civilized world, we discover that Iphigenia was not sacrificed at Aulis but transported far away to serve the goddess Artemis in a bloody and barbaric cult. The story tells of a near-sacrifice of brother by sister, their moving reunion, and a thrilling escape plan almost foiled by the barbarian king. Though a tragedy by Greek standards, Euripides’ play in many respects looks like the Shakespearean romances with scenes of melodrama and even comedy.
About the Classical Greek Theater Festival:
The Classical Greek Theatre Festival (CGTF) is an annual theatrical event. Its mission is to introduce and sustain the appreciation of ancient Greek theatre throughout communities and campuses in various southwestern and western states. CGTF is committed to the idea that Greek drama, like Shakespearean drama, has much to offer contemporary audiences. While there are many Shakespearean festivals throughout the USA, there is only one touring Greek festival: The Classical Greek Theatre Festival of Utah.
The Classical Greek Theatre Festival was named to reflect a multi-dimensional event that includes not just the theatrical performance but also educational components. These include lectures, post-play discussions, exhibits, symposia, films, and a study guide distributed widely to the general public and to high school and college students.
Westminster is a nationally recognized, comprehensive liberal arts college. With a broad array of graduate and undergraduate programs, Westminster is distinguished by its unique environment for learning. Westminster prepares students for success through active and engaged learning, real world experiences and its vibrant campus community. Westminster’s unique location, adjacent to the Rocky Mountains and to the dynamic city of Salt Lake, further enriches the college experience. For more information visit www.westminstercollege.edu or follow @WestminsterSLC on Twitter.