Barnard Columbia Ancient Drama Group

The Barnard Columbia Ancient Drama Group has been producing ancient plays in the original Greek or Latin every year since 1977. Though there is a faculty advisor, the director and actors of the play are students, primarily undergraduates and including first-year students in beginning Greek or Latin. A high standard is achieved, both in linguistic terms and in the quality of the acting.

The group is supported by the Matthew Alan Kramer Fund, which was established in memory of Matthew Alan Kramer, a Columbia Engineering student who performed in a number of  productions as a student. 

It is possible to acquire course credit for participation in the performance by reading the play with the faculty advisor as a directed reading (Greek 3997); for more information, contact Helene Foley.

BCADG performances attract audiences from across the nation, and have received positive reviews in both academic and non-academic journals (see below). Recent productions can be viewed on YouTube, where they are presented with subtitles as a resource for teaching.


Social Media



Press for Recent Productions

"The annual performances by the Columbia/Barnard Ancient Drama Club remain one of the only opportunities in the country to watch the works of Aeschylus, Sophocles, Euripides, Plautus, Terrence, and Seneca (as well as other ancient works adapted for the modern stage) in their original languages. It is a magical experience."

 Didaskalia review of "Trachinia" (2016)

“Even if the performances of the Barnard Columbia Ancient Drama Group were half as good as they are, we’d have to be grateful to them for even attempting to perform ancient theater in the original language as something more than an academic exercise...Beyond youthful energy and enthusiasm, an impressive concentration of solid Greek, close, intelligent study of Euripides and his text, and, above all, theatrical talent brought this rarely performed—rarely even read—masterpiece to life.”

—“Euripides’ Ion in Ancient Greek, by the Barnard Columbia Ancient Drama Group” in New York Arts Magazine (2015)

“The Barnard/Columbia Drama Group presented a provocative and meaningful production of Euripides’ Ion, which both entertained and intellectually engaged its audience.”

—“Euripides’ Ion” in Didaskalia 12.1 (2015)

“Loveless’s score, in particular, carried the drama, via the voices of the chorus and actors as well as her and Yamashiro’s accompaniment. Her music animated the poetry and the dance, and the harmony between the three gave life to the drama.”

—“Matricide in Manhattan: The Libation Bearers”, The Virginia Advocate (2014)

“Beyond the novelty of being performed in Latin... what is most striking about this production is its creativity, which is evident in all aspects of the production.”

—“Seneca's Thyestes” in Didaskalia (2013)

2019 greek Play
Euripides' Herakles
DIRECTED BY Caleb simone

April 4- April 6, 2019
Minor Latham Playhouse, Barnard College


Barnard Columbia Ancient Drama presents the first modern staging of a Greek tragedy with a fully reconstructed score on the historic double-pipes or aulos, directed by Caleb Simone. Euripides’ Herakles premiered in Athens around 416 BCE during a time of innovation in the aulos music of theater. In this play in particular, the sound of the aulos breaks into the dramatic action to control Herakles, the most embodied of ancient heroes, as it choreographs his ruin. Join us for Euripides’ powerful drama of the ruin and rehabilitation of Greece’s greatest hero presented in its native language and soundscape for the contemporary theatregoer.

2018 greek Play
Aristophanes’ Frogs
DIRECTED BY Carina de Klerk

March 29-March 31, 2018
Minor Latham Playhouse, Barnard College


The Barnard Columbia Ancient Drama Group is pleased to present Aristophanes' "Frogs." 

It’s 405 BCE and things aren’t looking too good. We’ve been at war for ages. We’ve lost money. We’ve lost men. A further and final blow—all the good tragedians are gone. Aeschylus, Sophocles, Euripides, they’re all dead. Without our tragedians, we’re totally screwed. But Dionysus, the god of theater himself, is coming to the rescue. He’s got a plan to save the day, a plan that is so good and so crazy that it could only ever be pulled off in a comedy. Zeus willing, if Zeus indeed exists, it will all work out for the best.

2017 latin Play
seneca's troades

March 30-April 1, 2017
Minor Latham Playhouse, Barnard College

Troades ticket poster (1).jpg

The Barnard Columbia Ancient Drama Group is proud to present Seneca's "Troades" (Trojan Women) - a resistance piece composed around the middle of the first century CE during the reign of Emperor Nero by his tutor.

Ten years wrought with bloodshed and agony of the Greek-Trojan conflict have ended. The surviving Greeks are ready to return to their homes, taking the Trojan people as their prizes and reducing the royalty to slaves. Despite the ashes of their city and compatriots scattering across the desolate plain of Ilium, the Trojan women stand together in their final moment of shared grief, rage, and strength. 

This spring's production applies contemporary symbols and movement to Seneca’s protest in poetry.

2016 Greek Play


March 31–April 2, 2016
Minor Latham Playhouse (Barnard Campus)

Sophocles’ Trachiniae tells the story of Deianeira, the wife that Herakles left at home while completing his famous labors and who inadvertantly (?) causes the hero's death. After long awaiting her husband's arrival, Deianeira learns he will return home with a new, younger bride. Burning with her own passion, she says she does not blame the lovers—“Love rules gods and humans as he likes, including me. Why not others, too?”—but she determines to win back his heart using a dangerous love potion. Learning her error, Deianeira commits suicide as Heracles, burning alive, is carried onstage and sings a powerful aria of anguish and anger.

Many of tragedy’s famous protagonists are women—Medea, Antigone, Clytemnestra, Hecuba—but Trachiniae is strikingly sympathetic in its analysis of the female experience of marriage and motherhood. Sophocles was a male poet writing for male actors to perform for male peers, yet the play he presents is obsessed with understanding the female psyche. What did these men hope to learn by acting out the sorrows of their wives and mothers, their daughters and slaves?


2015 Greek Play

Euripides’ Ion tells the story of Creusa, an Athenian princess raped and abandoned by the god Apollo, and Ion, a foundling raised as a servant in Apollo’s sanctuary at Delphi. Their meeting unleashes an exciting plot of mistaken identities, long-kept secrets, and ultimately, reunion and reconciliation. This production will offer the rare opportunity to see this innovative and rarely performed tragedy in the original Greek with English supertitles, complete with all new music and choreography. Please note that the production contains some non-graphic discussion of sexual assault and its aftermath.

2014 Greek Play

This play, the second of Aeschylus’ Oresteia trilogy, portrays Orestes’ return to Argos to avenge his father Agamemnon’s murder, along with his sister Electra, by killing their mother Clytemnestra. The production included a chorus of 11 who sang and danced to a live, original score by Melody Loveless.

2013 Latin Play
SENECA’S Thyestes

Thyestes was written by the Roman philosopher and dramatist Seneca in the first century CE. In this gruesome tragedy, Tantalus is summoned from the underworld to infect his House, rekindling enmity between his grandsons Atreus and Thyestes. Having usurped the throne of Mycenae from Atreus, Thyestes has long been in exile. Now Atreus lures his brother back to Mycenae, but not for reconciliation. Following in the footsteps of grandfather Tantalus, Atreus plots the perfect vengeance: preparing Thyestes’ own sons for a nefarious feast. 

2012 Greek Play

Alcestis is the earliest surviving play by the Greek dramatist Euripides. Originally produced in 438 BCE in Athens, the play stands ambiguously between comedy and tragedy. Certain elements, such as the drunkenness of Heracles and the wrestling-match with Thanatos, are clearly comic. Yet the speeches and emotions of the central characters are deeply serious, and the play takes as its central theme the tragic limitations of human life and love.

2011 Greek play
Homer’s Iliad, Book 9
Directed by Claire Catenaccio


  • Achilles: Ridge Montes

  • Agamemnon: Mathias Hanses

  • Ajax: Colin Webster

  • Diomedes: Gavin McGown

  • Nestor: Katharina Volk

  • Odysseus: Stephen Blair

  • Patroclus: Jeremy Lily

  • Phoenix: Joe Sheppard


  • Calloway Scott

  • Charley McNamara

  • Laura Walbroek

  • Jenny Wasson


  • Flute: Caleb Dance

  • Violin: Suzanne Davies

  • Mandolin: Colin Webster

  • Bass: Liam Webster


  • Costume: Kate Collison

  • Design Director: Jenny Wasson

  • Lighting: Gita Deo

  • Music Director: Colin Webster

  • Producer: Talia Varonos-Pavlopoulos

  • Projection: Stephen Blair

  • Tech: Sarah Kaczor


2009 Greek play