Taking a participatory approach to ancient Greek drama, this course pairs readings from three Athenian playwrights (Aeschylus, Euripides, and Aristophanes) with performance-oriented activities and scholarship. At its most traditional, this course surveys the historical and cultural context of the so-called “classical” Athens of the fifth-century BCE, emphasizing the political, religious, and aesthetic forces that gave rise to humankind’s first recorded theater. More innovatively, this course probes the dual nature of theater, its distinct but intertwined existences as codified script and socially-embedded performance, through sustained investigations of some of its most influential texts and their modern reception in a global context with case studies focused on post-Apartheid South African and 21st-century Chicanx experiences. Through a variety of original compositions (including Tweets, TikTok/FlipGrid videos, character backstories, stand-up routines, director’s notes, and scholarly analyses), students gain practical experience and theoretical insight into the ways text, performance, and culture interact. Through improvisational activities, recorded videos, and scene rehearsals, students become thespians in their own right, pressing the limits of how far performance might extend beyond the traditional stage. Class trips to Davis Library, the Forest Theater, and live performances introduce first-year students to some of the academic and cultural resources UNC offers.