A tale as old as time

14 July 2014

University of Newcastle PhD student presents at prestigious international symposium.

University of Newcastle PhD student Leanne Glass has become an expert in digging up ancient drama and comparing it with the Hollywood blockbusters and art films of today. In fact, she has recently presented her research at the 14th Annual Postgraduate Symposium on the Performance of Ancient Drama at the University of London, the UK's Classics Association and Oxford's Archive of Performances of Greek and Roman Drama.

This two-day event – which took place on Monday 30 June at the Ioannou Centre for Classical and Byzantine Studies, Oxford University, and Tuesday 1 July at the Royal Central School of Speech & Drama, University of London, UK – is attended by international leaders in the field, the selection process is rigorous and the environment extremely competitive in terms of acceptance.

However, in 1996, when Leanne first signed up to the University of Newcastle's Open Foundation course, it wasn't with gusto that she headed straight into Classical Studies.

PhD Student Leanne Glass"I knew I wasn't interested in business studies and I was never a science or maths student, which meant I needed to look at the humanities. I chose English Literature and Film straight away but my second choice was an issue," Leanne said.

"Finally, I decided on classical studies with no real idea exactly what it was. I just remember the blurb and its offer to go back over essay writing, which I felt I really needed."

Leanne credits her first lecturer, Dr Marguerite Johnson, for fuelling her passion for study and the ancient world.

Dr Johnson is a Senior Lecturer in the School of Humanities and Social Science, who is inspired by interpretations of how the ancient world collides with modernity.

"The myths, legends and historical events of antiquity connect us all as humans, even if it is at times a tenuous thread," said Dr Johnson. "These stories touch us and remind us that we are not alone – the same emotions were experienced by people eons back and we may find a deep sense of comfort in reading the works of poets such as Sappho and Catullus, and the dialogues of philosophers such as Plato, all of whom speak with such clarity and beauty about the human condition."

At the symposium Leanne is showcasing part of a chapter from her thesis, which examines filmmaker Lars von Trier and his exploration of Danish national identity through his replication of iconic Scandinavian art in his reception of Euripides controversial revenge tragedy Medea.

"This is a wonderful follow-up to Leanne's 2014 publication, 300 and Fellini-Satyricon: Film Theory in the Tertiary Classroom. This beautifully-constructed article was accepted for publication in the inaugural edition of Dialogue: the Interdisciplinary Journal of Popular Culture and Pedagogy and is a testimony to Leanne's burgeoning international reputation," said Dr Johnson.

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Contact: Jessie Reid
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