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Presentation Talk

Papyrus Fragments – Rediscovering the Lost Stories of Ancient Greece

Just thirty-two Greek tragedies have survived to the modern day. Hundreds more plays by Euripides, Aeschylus, Sophocles and many other writers were irrevocably damaged or lost to time. However, some of these lost works were rediscovered on papyrus found in an ancient rubbish dump in the Egyptian desert – but mostly in small, nearly indecipherable, fragments.  

Over the last five years, theatre company Potential Difference have been collaborating with Dr Laura Swift (University of Oxford) and with experts at the Oxyrhynchus Collection in Oxford and the British Library. Their aim is to develop a new play inspired by fragments of Greek papyrus, processes of rediscovering lost literature; and the tantalising stories that are pieced together from these jumbled lines.  

Join us for an event that brings together papyrus specialists and theatre makers to explore the stories of these fragments and how they continue to inspire. The speakers will detail the journey of the papyri and the challenges of deciphering them, and provide demonstrations of how new theatre can be created from fragmentation and Greek myths.