The Outreach Prize Committee has awarded the 2015 Outreach Prize of the Society for Classical Studies to Dr. Amy R. Cohen, Professor of Classics at Randolph College in Lynchburg, Virginia. Professor Cohen has revived a tradition of historically informed, outdoor performances of classical Greek drama at Randolph College. The Greek Play was introduced by Mabel K. Whiteside at what was then Randolph-Macon Woman’s College in 1909. The tradition was continued until 1954, and then revived by Professor Cohen in 2000, with a production of Sophocles’ Antigone.
As both the driving force behind the Greek Play revival at Randolph and as the editor-in-chief of Didaskalia, Professor Cohen has played a major role in introducing audiences to classical theatrical production. In fifteen years, she and her students have produced ten dramas, and her decision to move from an annual to a biennial production means she has been able to conduct multi-year experiments in acoustics and mask-making. Her audiences consist of the Randolph College community, to be sure, but she has created an extensive outreach program to Virginia’s K-12 school students. The website is a resource for performance stills, videos and DVDs.
We find that Professor Cohen’s project combines sound scholarship, imagination, and collaboration across disciplines. 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.
Martha Malamud, Chair, Outreach Prize Committee