Library Research Fellow, 2018-2019
Athena Stournas holds a BA (Hons) in Theatre Design from Rose Bruford College (UK) and a Maîtrise and an MA in Theatre Studies from the Université de la Sorbonne-nouvelle Paris III, where she also completed her PhD, summa cum laude. She is the author of the monograph La Cuisine à la scène: boire et manger au théâtre du XXe siècle [Cuisine onstage: Food and drink in 20th-century theatre],Rennes/Tours: PU de Rennes/ PU François-Rabelais, coll. Tables des hommes, 2011. She has taught Scenography, Theatre History and Acting and Directing Principles at various universities in Cyprus and in Greece . As artistic director of the multinational Okypus Theatre Company, she has directed and designed all of the company’s productions, which have been presented in theatrical and non-theatrical spaces (museums, archaeological sites, and public spaces) in Greece, the Czech Republic, Wales and Argentina. In June 2016 Athena participated in the Mellon School of Theatre and Performance at Harvard University. Her current research focuses on the performativity of the Banquet in history.
In ancient Greece, variety shows developed alongside tragedy and comedy during the συμπόσιον (symposion), a study of which will reveal the pagan aesthetic which emphasized entertainment and the pleasure of the senses. The main aim of this research project is to make an attempt to rediscover the symposion through the lens of the Performance Studies. The symposion will be considered as a performative event in the cases when food consumption and drinking coincide with performance during banqueting. We will address the question of how commensality and performance watching shape the banqueting space. We will question how food, the objects related to eating and drinking and the table become scenographic arrangements and how cooking, serving or eating and drinking become part of a mise-en-scène of a performed banquet. We will also consider the banqueters’ active performative participation in the form of role-playing, playing games, poetry reciting, singing and dancing.