Simon Perris

Dr Simon Perris profile picture

Senior Lecturer School of Languages and Cultures


Teaching in 2019

Research interests

Greek drama; Modern versions of classical texts; Performance of ancient drama and poetry.


BMus (Victoria) DPhil (Oxon)

Research specialties

Simon's research concentrates on two main areas: Greek tragedy, especially Euripides, and the reception of classical literature in contemporary literature, especially in Aotearoa–New Zealand. 

Current research projects

Simon’s first book, a study of English translations and adaptations of Euripides’ tragedy Bakkhai, was published by Bloomsbury in 2016. His next book project is to be a major study of classics and classical reception in Māori literature. Together with Diana Burton and Jeff Tatum, he is editing a volume of essays on classics and classical reception in New Zealand. He is also working on various articles on Greek tragedy as well as an anthology of Māori myth in English translation.


Simon teaches ancient languages, myth, and literature. He is happy to supervise theses on any aspect of Greek and Latin language and literature, especially drama or epic; and on any aspect of the modern reception of classical antiquity.

Selected publications

The Gentle, Jealous God: Reading Euripides’ Bacchae in English (Bloomsbury, 2016).

Purchase the book

‘Greek Myth and Mythmaking in Witi Ihimaera’s The Matriarch and The Dream Swimmer’, in E. Hall and J. McConnell (eds) Ancient Greek Myth in World Fiction Since 1989 (London: Bloomsbury, 2016) 47–61

‘Bacchant Women’, in R. Lauriola and K. Demetriou (eds) Brill’s Companion to the Reception of Euripides (Leiden: Brill, 2015) 507–48

‘Witi Ihimaera and the Dread Goddess’, Journal of New Zealand Literature 33 (2015) 85–109

‘Euripides, Orestes 1–3’, Philologus 58.1 (2014) 65–75

‘Classical References in the Work of Witi Ihimaera: An Annotated Commentary’, Journal of New Zealand Studies 16 (2013) 19–51

‘Stagecraft and the Stage Building in Rhesus’, Greece & Rome 59.2 (2012) 151–64

‘Our Saviour Dionysos: Humanism and Theology in Gilbert Murray’s Bakkhai’, Translation and Literature 21.1 (2012) 21–42

Work submitted / in progress

‘Drama and Its Discontents: Violence in Adaptations of Greek Tragedy’, in V. Liapis and A. Sidiropoulou (eds) Adapting Greek Tragedy: Contemporary Contexts for Ancient Texts (under contract for Cambridge University Press)

Athens to Aotearoa (volume co-edited with D. Burton and J. Tatum)

‘Introduction: Classics in New Zealand, from Athens to Aotearoa’, in Athens to Aotearoa

‘Orpheus, Māui, and Katabasis in New Zealand Literature’ (chapter for Athens to Aotearoa)

‘The Reception of Euripides’ Bakkhai from Athens to Byzantium’, co-authored with Fiachra Mac Góráin (UCL)


Euripides’ Trojan Women, directed by Bronwyn Tweddle (2016)
review: John Smythe, Theatreview:

Euripides’ Bakkhai, performed by Victoria Ancient Theatre Society (2015)

Sophokles’ Antigone, performed by Victoria Ancient Theatre Society (2014)

Awards and achievements

VUW Early Career Research Excellence Award (2015)
Treaty of Waitangi Fellowship, Stout Centre/Te Kawa a Māui (2017)

Administrative responsibilities

Programme Director, Classics 
Joint Leave Committee
Advisory member, New Zealand Centre for Literary Translation


Teaching in 2019