Call out for Suppliant Women

May 20 2016 | By More

Amateur chorus needed for Lyceum production

The Lyceum has put out a casting call for women aged 16 to 26, to perform in The Suppliant Women, the opening production of its 2016/17 season.

The adaptation by new Lyceum artistic director David Greig of a 2500 year-old text by Aeschylus will be staged from Saturday 1 to Saturday 15 October 2016, with a rehearsal period starting in August.

David Greig. May 2016. Photo Thom Dibdin

David Greig. May 2016. Photo Thom Dibdin

The 50 women will play the Chorus and represent what is, in many ways, the central character of the play. These are the women who fled forced marriages in Egypt, crossing the Mediterranean to Greece, where they asked for protection from the first city they came to.

The city had then to decide whether to take them in – and put the matter to a vote.

Even though this is the third ever complete play still in existence – and written at the end of Aeschylus’ life a year before Athens became a democracy – its themes are intensely contemporary.

It is also Greig’s opening salvo in his period as artistic director of the Lyceum. And as such, it represents many of the different themes which he intends to bring to his tenure.

the gift of your performance

Greig told Æ: “The reason why we have a chorus is not the simple thing of ‘oh, we can’t afford 50 actresses’ it is more than that. In Greek theatre the chorus was always amateur.

“There is a central point in that about the giving the gift of your performance for the gods and so on. I think there is something in it for me about the democratic civic nature.”

It’s not just the use of a chorus, who represent Greig’s sense of democratising the Lyceum stage, that drew him to the play. There is the subject of the play itself: How do you decide whether or not to take refugees in to a country.

“I think this is the most important question of our times,” Greig said. “Who has the authority to take people in to the city? What do we do? Is it Angela Merkel? Does morality demand that we do it, what ever it brings, or should we be cautious like the king suggests?”

“This is a big question we need to talk about – and here is this two and a half thousand year old play that weirdly enough does it.”

The chorus will be sung, using new music written for the production by composer John Browne, with whom Greig worked on The Events. This co-production with the Actors Touring Company, which was behind The Events, and sees Greig and Browne re-united with director Ramin Gray.

Anyone interested in taking part in The Suppliant Women chorus should email to register their interest and find out more.


The Suppliant Women
Royal Lyceum Theatre, Grindlay Street EH3 9AX
Saturday 1 – Saturday 15 October 2016
Provisional dates:
Evenings: Tue-Sat: 7.30pm.
Matinees: Weds, Sat: 2pm.


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