Polis & Panathenaia

By Georgia McKenzie

It's Time To Take Our Stories Back.

In classical Athens, it was a rarity for women to attend activities outside of oikos—the opposite of polis, meaning home and family. The Panatheneaia, an annual festival in honour of the goddess Athena, was one of the rare public festivals in which women had an active role, providing a bridging ground to the public, or masculine, sphere for women. Thousands of years later, all over the world, many spaces remain tainted by gender politics. In Australia, allegations of gender-based violence regularly emerge from places deemed ‘safe’, such as universities, schools, and even Parliament House. The outside world remains masculine. Ancient spatial politics continue to ooze into our spaces.

Polis and Panathenaia questions the spatial politics and performance implications of gendered space in classical Greek myth-lead plays. This site-specific promenade performance will centre five contrasting women of Greek tragedy, giving each character a distinct space and moving the audience to reflect on power, erasure, and tragedy.

Produced in association with Anywhere Festival, Polis & Panathenaia was performed at VENTspace, South Brisbane, & ran from 11th - 14th May, 2023.


Georgia McKenzie

Writer, Director

Serima Caldwell

Actor - Antigone

Hannah Flannery

Actor - Clytemnestra

Grace Lofting

Writer, Actor - Phaedra

Roxanne Gardiner

Actor - Medea

Eli Free

Actor - Medusa

Triss Niemi


Special Thanks to Chris Hay, Bernadette Cochrane, Craig & Tia Piva, Sian & Steve McKenzie, and Jacob Denaro.