Oklahoma Contemporary

Media Release

Stars and artists team up with Oklahoma Contemporary for Odyssey livestream

August 06, 2020
Odyssey fb cover

Contact: Lori Brooks | 405 951 0000 | lbrooks@okcontemp.org
Media kit: bit.ly/OC_Odysseykit

Artists, educators, actors, musicians and more will marathon-read the Emily Wilson translation, all 24 books of the epic poem

For more than 25 centuries, the human race has been fascinated with and inspired by The Odyssey. Now Oklahoma Contemporary wants to bring it live into your home.

Oklahoma Contemporary will livestream a six-day, reading series of Emily Wilson’s recent translation of Homer’s The Odyssey, an immediate, accessible and boldly contemporary version of the ancient text.

Working with a diverse group of local and national actors, musicians, artists and public officials, including Wilson herself, Oklahoma Contemporary’s presentation will include all 24 books of the epic poem, broadcast live via Facebook, YouTube and okcontemp.org from 7-9:30 p.m. Aug. 20-22 and 27-29.

Artistic Director Jeremiah Matthew Davis says the time is right for this performance series, which he’s has been considering since 2017, when Wilson’s translation — the first in English by a woman — was published.

Scholars think Homer’s work was composed orally and “intended to be performed before a live audience, rather than read silently,” he says.

Odyssey cover

“At a time when we’ve canceled travel and confined ourselves to our apartments and houses to slow the spread of a global pandemic, it would seem we might feel more at home than ever,” Davis says. “But the world, and our sense of place within it, has changed. In the wake of the twin crises of racial injustice and COVID-19, with their extreme disruptions to our health, careers and lives, individuals and communities can feel unmoored, lost at sea.”

Some of the scheduled readers, in fact, will stream live from their own homes. Those local to the Oklahoma City metro will read from Oklahoma Contemporary’s Te Ata Theater. The series will include four books a night across six nights, two Thursday-Saturday stints.

With a diverse list of readers that spans North America and a variety of disciplines and industries, Oklahoma Contemporary hopes to draw a nationwide audience for the livestreamed event. Viewers can digitally drop in to watch a favorite actor, artist or personality or follow along book by book each night. (See the full schedule here.) Readers include:

The series aims to digitally re-create the experience of listening together to a tale told thousands of times, throughout histories and across continents, to see if we can find ourselves in Odysseus’ voyage to find home. “Flashing and flickering, our screens will be the flames around which we gather to hear the story of this complicated character,” Davis says.

The Odyssey marathon reading is presented in partnership with Kirkpatrick Foundation.

“It’s a thrill for us to help bring Emily Wilson’s masterful translation of The Odyssey to audiences everywhere,” says Louisa McCune, executive director of Kirkpatrick Foundation. “The story of Odysseus is perhaps the most archetypal, iconic journey in all of literature. For those of us who somehow avoided reading The Odyssey in our younger years, now we can experience this Homeric story together, in totality, over the course of two weekends. Now is the time to order your copy so you can follow along!”

The specific schedule of readers and additional information about the livestream will soon be online at okcontemp.org/odyssey.


A media kit featuring this release and Odyssey graphics can be found at bit.ly/OC_Odysseykit. Interviews with Oklahoma Contemporary staff or specific readers can be organized through Lori Brooks (lbrooks@okcontemp.org). Past press releases and information are archived at oklahomacontemporary.org/media.

About Oklahoma Contemporary Arts Center
Oklahoma Contemporary is an inclusive center for the arts where people of all ages and backgrounds can experience art, encounter new ideas and ignite their creative potential. Through visual art exhibitions, performances, public programs, community-building initiatives, outdoor installations and special events, we create opportunities for everyone to come together in celebration of contemporary culture and artistic expression. With year-round classes and camps across multiple disciplines, the arts center's education programs encourage youth and adults to express their ideas across a variety of media and learn new skills. Exhibitions are always free. You are always welcome here.

The arts center scheduled opening of a new, 4.6-acre campus in downtown Oklahoma City in March 2020 was delayed due to the COVID-19 pandemic. Until the center can begin offering limited access to the public, all-ages virtual and digital programming is available on the New Light blog. More digital offerings, including classes and camps, will be rolled out this fall.

Oklahoma Contemporary is a regional 501(c) (3) nonprofit organization founded in 1989 by Christian Keesee and Kirkpatrick Foundation Director Marilyn Myers.

About Kirkpatrick Foundation
Kirkpatrick Foundation, founded in 1955 by John and Eleanor Kirkpatrick, is an Oklahoma City philanthropy that makes grants to nonprofits in arts, culture, education, animal well being, environmental conservation and historic preservation, primarily in Central Oklahoma.


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Oklahoma City, OK 73101

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