Sophocles’ infamous tragedy, also known as Oedipus Rex or Oedipus the King, will be taking to the ADC stage this Spring, from the 21-25 May. Adapted in English by directors Ella Joralemon and Jonathan Wilson, this production promises a new interpretation of one of the most ancient plays we have access to today.

"Hello! I am currently studying for an MPhil in Film and Screen Studies, after completing my undergraduate degree in Classics, but my heart absolutely lies in theatre and I am so unbelievably excited to be bringing Oedipus Tyrannus to the ADC Stage! Working on this play has brought me so much joy and, for a tragedy, a very unexpected amount of laughter — I am yet to hold a rehearsal in which I don’t end up in fits of giggles! One of the aims I had going into this production was to make it as accessible as possible to as wide of an audience as possible. That’s where the idea of this liminal, timeless Oedipus Tyrannus was born. I, and my co-director, wanted a production which didn’t require previous classical knowledge, but also didn’t confine the play to one particular modern context (although the possibility of an Oedipus set in the Wild West or in the Italian-American Mafia were definitely discussed!). An extremely important part of this was working on the script, including a prologue that would give the audience the information they need going in, and adapting the language to be… well, less old. It’s also so amazing to think there will be a version of Sophocles’ text out there that has my own mark on it! Throughout the process, not to be cheesy, what has been most rewarding is working with a team of some of the most talented individuals I have had the pleasure of meeting - I can’t wait for you to see them and their work shine on the ADC stage!"

 Ella Joralemon, Sidney Sussex College

Photo by Paul Ashley

"I am currently studying for an MPhil in Classics at Cambridge, and one of the two directors of Oedipus Tyrannus. My main focus is on Greek literature, and I am particularly interested in Homeric epic and Greek tragedy. I have studied aspects of Oedipus Tyrannus and other Sophoclean plays from the perspectives of textual and literary criticism, and I am now helping to bring one of my favourite ancient texts to life in an engaging and exciting way. I grew up with very little access to theatre or Classics more generally, and I was under the impression that Greek tragedy was 'two men standing still on stage and talking to each other for four hours' (an actual quote from the BBC's Horrible Histories!). These (completely false) preconceptions come from a tendency to treat Greek drama as text, rather than as something which was performed with elaborate costumes, a state-funded chorus, and orchestrated dance & music at one of the largest religious festivals in the ancient world. In this production we are hoping to emphasise how dynamic and universal Greek theatre can be, particularly through the use of a 10-person chorus, including choral singing and chanting. A lot of work has also gone into adapting the script, as we have tried to convert the power and elevated tone of the Greek text into an English which strikes the balance between sounding dusty and colloquial. We hope that this production will be engaging and emotional whilst remaining faithful to the spirit of Sophocles' text."

Jonathan Wilson, Jesus College

Oedipus Tyrannus runs at the ADC Theatre from 21-25 May 2024. Click here to book your tickets!

Oedipus Tyrannus
ADC Theatre
21-25 May 2024