Poster for the World Premiere of Herakles with twin peaked mountain and ruins

Poster for the World Premiere of Herakles

Materials being developed to support the musical drama Herakles by Tim Benjamin  commissioned by Todmorden Choral Society can be found on the Musical Drama Resources page. The work is based on the choice of Herakles story as re-told by Dio Chrysostom in his Discourse on Kingship addressed to the Roman Emperor Trajan. The world premiere was in Todmorden on 30th April 2017 and the film will be shown in Leeds on 8th July 2017. The DVD of the world premiere in Todmorden is available to purchase from the Hercules Project.


Ħard-hatted labourers of Herakles standing before a screen with projected archive image.

The Labourers of Herakles, staged reading. The screen image has been adjusted so it does not show archive material.

The Labourers of Herakles, a play by Leeds-born poet and playwright Tony Harrison, had its world premiere at Delphi, Greece, 1995, with sponsorship by the Herakles General Cement Company. One of the celebratory events surrounding Tony Harrison’s 80th birthday in 2017 was a staged reading, directed by George Rodosthenous, further see our news item. The choice to project images of the original performance, among other material from the Tony Harrison Archive (Special Collections, Brotherton Library, University of Leeds) not only made a local link but also showed the contribution that Harrison’s work has made to the cultural heritage underpinning the play.

The programme is available to download (184kB pdf).

Owen Hodkinson, Translation strategies in Tony Harrison’s Labourers of Herakles – examines the play and contextualises it in Harrison’s life and thought through reference to material in the Tony Harrison archive, no slides are available due to copyright issues.


The Wife of Heraclesa version of Sophocles’ Trachiniae by George Rodosthenous and ensemble had its world premiere at stage@leeds in the University of Leeds in May 2010. The performance was accompanied by three pre-performance talks for a modern non-specialist audience delivered by classical scholars, linking Sophocles’ play with this adaptation and others, including Disney’s Hercules and Martin Crimp’s Cruel and Tender.

Emma Stafford, “Heracles’ wife: Is this the only story that can be told?” with slides (pdf download 1368kB)

Sue Hamstead, “Sophoclean Roots” with slides (pdf download 1169kB)

Eleanor OKell “C21st Adaptations & (Re)creating Meaning” with slides (pdf download 3092kB)