Amy R. Cohen, professor of classics and the Catherine Ehrman Thoresen ’23 and William E. Thoresen Chair of Speech and Theatre at Randolph College, has been awarded the 2015 Outreach Prize of the Society for Classical Studies.
As both the driving force behind the Greek Play revival at Randolph and as the editor-in-chief of Didaskalia, Cohen has played a major role in introducing students and audiences to classical theatrical production. In 15 years, she and her students have produced 10 dramas, and her decision to move from an annual to a biennial production has allowed students to conduct multi-year experiments in acoustics and mask-making.
She has also created an extensive outreach program for K-12 students and worked with the College to create the website, http://web.randolphcollege.edu/greekplay/, which serves as a resource for performance stills, videos and DVDs. Adding to the educational outreach, the biennial play at Randolph is held in conjunction with a conference on ancient drama performance, which brings scholars and experts in the field to speak on campus. In 2016, the Greek Play will coincide with the College’s 125th anniversary celebration.
“I feel really lucky to have worked with such marvelous collaborators over the years—mostly my students,” Cohen said. “Without needing much encouragement, my students completely understood the value of what we were doing. They knew it was fun, and they knew it was part of the College history, but at the same time they knew that they were learning a lot and they were also discovering things and helping other people learn about an ancient tradition.”
“We find that Professor Cohen’s project combines sound scholarship, imagination, and collaboration across disciplines,” said Martha Malamud, chair of the Society for Classical Studies’ Outreach Prize Committee. “The Greek Play reaches many people in the community and the college, and thousands of visitors from schools all over Virginia who have attended since 2000, and serves as a laboratory for exploring ancient performance practices.”