Dec 13, 2012
Jim Svendson recognized for his work with the Classical Greek Theatre Festival of Utah
The American Philological Association, (APA), has awarded the 2012 Outreach Prize to James Svendsen, professor emeritus of the University of Utah, for his work with Westminster College's Classical Greek Theatre Festival of Utah (CGTF). Svendsen has been the producer and dramaturge of the festival since 1971, when he helped found the group with a production of Prometheus Bound.
After 40 years at the University of Utah, Westminster College proudly became the festival sponsor in 2011. CGTF is the only touring Greek festival in the country and expanded its tour under Svendson's leadership at Westminster.
The 2012 production of Antigone
opened to rave reviews at Westminster. In ancient times, Greek theatre traditionally began at dawn, and Utahns have made their own tradition of bringing a blanket and breakfast to watch the morning production at Red Butte Garden. The tour continued in Ogden and Provo with new stops in Denver, Colorado, and Springdale, Utah, outside Zion National Park. The performances at Westminster, BYU, Weber State University and in Colorado sold out to enthusiastic crowds.
As dramaturge of each play, Svendson insures that the director uses modern translations accessible to general audiences, provides detailed online study guides and study questions to the audience and delivers an orientation lecture before each performance. In the words of Svendson's APA nominator, "he is a gifted lecturer, not only because he himself has a dramatic flair, but also because he is able to give the audience, most of whom have no background in Greek drama, a framework for understanding the play they are about to see."
The American Philological Association, founded in 1869 by "professors, friends, and patrons of linguistic science," is the principal learned society in North America for the study of ancient Greek and Roman languages, literatures and civilizations. The APA Outreach Prize recognizes outstanding projects or events by an APA member or members that make an aspect of classical antiquity available and attractive to an audience other than classics scholars or students in their courses.