byron-press release

Interdisciplinary Center for Hellenic Studies

Press Release

On Sunday, November 1, 2009, at 3 PM, the Richard Stockton College Friends of Hellenic Studies will present “Byron’s Letters from Greece,” a reading of some of Lord Byron’s works which will be performed by Stockton theater student Patrick Judd. In addition, the Hellenic Dancers of New Jersey will perform the regional dances of Greece. The event will take place in the Stockton Performing Arts Center (PAC) and the ticket price includes a Mediterranean buffet lunch at 2 PM, prior to the performance.

 

This event will have its premiere in September at the National Historical Museum of Greece as part of the International Byron Conference. Stockton’s November event will present it in celebration of the 200th anniversary of Lord Byron’s first trip to Greece which inspired him to write poetry about the country. Lord Byron was a Philhellene, meaning one who sympathized with the Greeks in their effort to free themselves from the Ottoman occupation in 1821 and who helped them restore the Greek nation. The word literally means one who loves all things Greek. 

 

George Gordon Noel Byron was an English poet of the Romantic era. He was born in London in 1788 and traveled the circle of other well-known British poets such as Mary Shelley, who wrote the story of Frankenstein. One of Byron’s children, Ada Lovelace, distinguished in her own right, collaborated with Charles Babbage on the analytical engine, a predecessor to modern computers. 

 

Byron’s strong convictions regarding political justice eventually led him to fight with the Greeks in their quest for independence. In 1824, he and the Greek statesman, Alexandros Mavrokordatos planned an attack on a Turkish-held fortress, but Byron died of a fever at Missolonghi, Greece before it could happen. His body was brought back to London where he is buried. The name Byron quickly became popular among Greeks and it is said that, had he lived, he might have even been crowned king of Greece.

Stockton professor Mark Mallett who also directs, created the script from Byron’s writings along withJudd, Professor Robert Gregg (Dean, Division of Arts and Humanities) and Professor David Roessel. Jaaron Boger is the Stage Manager.

The Hellenic Dancers of New Jersey is a group of first, second and third generation Greek-Americans dedicated to perpetuating their heritage through enthusiastic performances of the regional folk dances of Greece.   Master Instructor Eleni Chakalos leads them in more than 300 dances, songs, and related traditions. They’ve performed for presidential inaugurations, won first prize at the Garden State Arts Center intra-State Competition and danced at the Closing Ceremonies of the 2004 Olympic Games in Athens.

 

Tickets are $35 for adults; $30 for FHS members and $15 for students. There is no charge for children under 12. For more information, please contact Dawn Kanaan, (609) 652-4830 or email her at dawn.kanaan@stockton.edu.