Welcome to Thiasos-Ancient Greek theatre



Biographical Information
Yana Zarifi, Artistic Director.

After graduating from the London School of Economics and Political Science  she worked in the 70s with Jerome Savary's Grand Magic Circus, and with visiting experimental theatre companies from Eastern Europe for the London International Festival of Theatre. She directed and participated in workshops on Stanislavski, Artaud, Brecht and Commedia dell'Arte techniques, In the early 80s she directed fringe productions of, notably, Sartre's Huis-Clos, Artaud's Spirit of Blood, and Strindberg's Miss Julie. From 1985 to 1993 she worked as a drama teacher at King Alfred's school, taking a year out to travel with a dance troupe in Bali in 1988. Her interest in eastern theatrical techniques was developed by further expeditions to Lombok in Indonesia (1994) and Kerala in India (1996). From 1989 to 1993 she worked as Project Co-ordinator for the Group d'Encouragement du Spectacle (financed by the French Ministry of Culture), involved in cultural exchange with theatrical participants from eighteen countries; and directed plays in the Pierre Cardin theatre at the Champs Elysees. A growing interest in the performance and cultural translation of ancient Greek theatre culminated in a string of educational productions of Aristophanic comedy, an MA in Classics from University College London , and eventually the foundation of Thiasos. She is currently an Honorary Associate of Royal Holloway University of London and has recently received a Getty Scholar Award for the 2006-7 year to continue her research into Persian (Islamic and pre-Islamic) performance traditions in relation to theatre. Her ongoing research informs Thiasos' adaptation of Aeschylus' Persians which will be performed shortly at the Cyprus ITI Ancient Greek Drama Festival 13-17 July, and at New College Gardens Oxford 27-29 July 2006.


M.J.Coldiron, director.

M.J.Coldiron, director has been with Thiasos since 1998. She was born in Butte, Montana, trained at the Drama Centre, London and works as an performer, teacher and director in the US and Britain. She has taught and directed for professional actor training programmes at Drama Centre, London, Central School of Speech and Drama, Arts Educational Schools, E15, Mountview, Rose Bruford, the American Conservatory Theatre and Missouri Repertory Theatre. She is also a scholar and researcher with an MA in Text and Performance Studies from King's College London and RADA and a PhD in Drama from the University of London. Her doctoral research included study of mask carving and Topeng dance drama in Bali, and Noh drama and mask carving in Japan and she has since studied performance traditions in South India and Sri Lanka. She regularly presents papers at international conferences and her articles on Asian performance, masks and performance ethnography have appeared in Asian Theatre Journal, New Theatre Quarterly, Consciousness, Literature and the Arts, and Indonesia and the Malay World. She is the author of Trance and Transformation of the Actor in Japanese Noh and Balinese Dance Drama (Edwin Mellen Press, 2004). She currently teaches at the University of Reading and lectures on Asian performance at the British Museum. She is a member of the Directors' Guild of Great Britain.

Richard Seaford, academic consultant.

Professor of Greek literature at the University of Exeter. He is the author of numerous books and articles on Greek literature and religion from Homer to the New Testament, and of commentaries on Euripides' Cyclops (1984) and Bacchae (1996). He is particularly interested in the dramatic representation of ritual, both for its power to evoke emotion and as a social and political phenomenon.
Abdelkader Farrah, design consultant. (1926-2005)

A stage designer of eclectic style, he has been affiliated primarily with the Royal Shakespeare Company since 1962, but he has worked with other English companies and also abroad. Previously, from the early 1950's he had been designing in France as a close collaborator with Michel Saint Denis in the National Theatre at Strasbourg. A native Algerian, Farrah had been a self-trained painter doing freelance work in France before his encounter with Saint Denis, who brought Farrah into theatre and eventually introduced him to the Royal Shakespeare Company as his fellow-artist. Farrah has also taught theatre design at Strasbourg (1955-61) and, as a guest, at the National Theatre School of Canada (1968-69). In three decades of designing, Farrah has worked with some thirty directors on more than 250 productions which include designs for plays, operas, musicals, ballets in many countries including Holland, France, Tunisia, Canada, USA, Germany, Austria, Italy and Mexico.
John White, composer (Peace).

John White, composer (BACCHAE and PEACE). Born in Berlin, he studied piano with Helene Gipps and then with Arthur Alexander and Eric Harrison at the Royal College of Music, and composition with Bernard Stevens and Elizabeth Lutyens. A prolific composer and active performer, he has written 25 symphonies, 3 operas, 150 piano sonatas, several ballets and countless works for chamber and vocal ensembles. Although a leading figure on the experimental music scene, he has a long-established relationship with the theatre and has been musical director for many musicals in London's West End, notably Canterbury Tales, Hair, Applause, and Maggie. He has written music for a number of productions at regional theatre throughout the UK and for the Royal National Theatre, including The Prince of Homberg, Don Juan Returns from the War, The Wild Duck, The Mayor of Zalamea, Death of a Salesman and Measure for Measure. Scores for the Royal Shakespeare Company include Les Enfants du Paradis and The Merry Wives of Windsor.
Jamie Masters, composer.

A Cambridge classics graduate with a PhD, has published on the Roman poet Lucan and the emperor Nero. As a musician, he is self-taught. After moving to London in 1993, his time was fairly evenly divided between teaching at the University of London, and developing a career as a songwriter, composer and performer. A close association with King's College London led to his work on the music for their production of Aristophanes' Lysistrata (1995); and he was executive producer and co-composer for their production of Euripides' Medea (1997), which led immediately to the foundation of Thiasos. Since 1999 he has worked full time as a commercial composer and sound designer, writing and producing music for television and advertising; and an album of his songs is forthcoming. He still finds time to teach Latin a few hours a week, just to keep him sane.
Katerina Zacharia, academic.

After graduating from the Kapodistrian University at Athens, she earned her PhD at University College London; later she worked in various positions at Royal Holloway, King's College London and UCL. As an expert in Greek tragedy, with a reputation for being an energetic teacher, she was in much demand as a consultant for dramatic productions, and was one of the main moving forces in the foundation of Thiasos. She has since moved to California, where she is a tenure-track Assistant Professor in Classics and Modern Greek Studies, Loyola Marymount University, Los Angeles.

Online CV
- Loyola Marymount University