A classic tale

Imagine this. A group of students undertaking their own Odyssey by performing a play in Latin and classical Greek.

The play, sponsored by the Classical Languages Teachers Association (CLTA), brought 60 students from independent and public schools together earlier this term for the once-in-a-decade experience.

"It was a delight to see them all, tentative at first, gradually coming to trust and rely on each other," Sydney Girls High School teacher, Karyn Moon said.

"It made me strive harder to achieve my best while still having fun.

The play, Cupid and Psyche 2012, was scripted by CLTA president Emily Matters from a second-century Latin novel by Apuleius, with insertions from Aristophanes and poets Catullus, Tibullus and Virgil.

Sydney Girls High Year 11 student Emily Baird played the lead role of Psyche and described it as a momentous experience.

Bringing the language to life

"The opportunity to engage with Latin in such a dynamic way really brought the language to life," Emily said.

"I don't think any of us would refer to Latin as a 'dead' language after such an intimate involvement, and that vitality in learning has really transferred into the classroom.

"The production gave us a passion for Latin - which benefits both us and the language itself, which I imagine is susceptible to feeling a little unloved in contemporary times."

Connecting with other students

Fellow student and performer Rou Li, who played the god Neptune, agreed.

"Most importantly, this opportunity to connect with other classics students and the passion and dedication they showed reinforced my own [passion]," the Year 10 student said.

"It made me strive harder to achieve my best while still having fun."

Year 9 student Clara Chow said it had been a challenge to speak and sing songs in Latin, but with the help of the Latin teachers it had been enjoyable.

"Just knowing that there were so many others out there like me, who also showed interest in learning classical languages made me feel great," Clara said.

Photo supplied by Pymble Ladies College.

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