Fabulamundi Workbook: Contemporary Playwriting and Theatre Translation Practices in Europe

A Research Project
Commissioned by Fabulamundi – Playwriting Europe
Supported by the University of Kent, Canterbury, UK

Principal Investigator: Margherita Laera, Senior Lecturer in Drama and Theatre, University of Kent
Research Associate: Lianna Mark, PhD Candidate, King’s College London

Outline:

Fabulamundi – Playwriting Europe has commissioned a scientific report assessing current practices in contemporary playwriting and translation of plays in different European contexts. Through an internal audit of Fabulamundi partners, associated institutions and individuals operating in ten European countries, the report will map different national and regional ecologies, structures and landscapes enabling the production and mobility of plays across cultural and linguistic borders in Europe. This research is timely and necessary in that it seeks to promote wider and more effective circulation opportunities for living and contemporary writers.

Through questionnaires and one-to-one interviews with key stakeholders, the Principal Investigator, Dr Margherita Laera, and the Research Associate, Lianna Mark, aim to collect data about how each national or regional theatre culture supports living dramatists, what conventions drive the production and translation (or lack thereof) of contemporary plays, and what perceptions are held by gatekeepers, theatre-makers and other cultural operators about the theatre system in which they work. Drawing on the existing network of partners, playwrights, translators, directors and performers working with Fabulamundi, Dr Laera will evaluate and compare cultural practices and institutional habits in the field. While it cannot be claimed that the respondents fully represent their national ecologies in Italy, Austria, Belgium, Czech Republic, France, Germany, Poland, Romania, Spain and the UK, they will each provide a partial snapshot of different practices and attitudes that can form the basis of further analysis and comparison.

Dr Laera will disseminate her findings by the end of the Fabulamundi project in 2020 through a series of publications will allow writers, producers and translators working across the globe to gain knowledge of local conventions and mechanisms in the contexts under scrutiny. A key findings report will summarise recommendations for the industry, while a full-length monograph will feature an in-depth discussion of the study, its implications, findings and methods, addressing both the industry and academia.

About the PI:

Margherita Laera is a Senior Lecturer in Drama and Theatre at the University of Kent, Canterbury, where she is co-Director of the European Theatre Research Network, an inter-institutional organisation bringing together European theatre scholars. She has published widely on contemporary Italian theatre, playwriting, theatre criticism, theatre translation and adaptation in edited collections and scholarly journals, such as Contemporary Theatre Review, Modern Drama and Performance Research. She is the author of Theatre & Translation (Red Globe Press, 2019) and Reaching Athens: Community, Democracy and Other Mythologies in Adaptations of Greek Tragedy (Peter Lang, 2013), and the editor of Theatre and Adaptation: Return, Rewrite, Repeat (Bloomsbury, 2014). Margherita is the Online Editor of Theatre Topics and Theatre Journal published by Johns Hopkins University Press. She was the recipient of a Leverhulme Early-Career Fellowship (2012–13) and of an AHRC Early-Career Leadership Fellowship (2016–19) and was Kent’s project leader for a multi-disciplinary Creative Europe-funded network entitled Playing Identities (2015–16). Her research on theatre translation won the Theatre and Performance Research Association’s Early Career Research Prize 2018. Margherita’s theatre translations from English and French to Italian have been published by Ubulibri and performed, amongst others, at Milan’s prestigious Piccolo Teatro. With Fabulamundi, Margherita has translated Italian plays by Francesca Garolla and Davide Carnevali into English.

About the Research Associate:

Lianna Mark is a LAHP-funded PhD student at King’s College London and a DAAD visiting fellow at the Freie Universität in Berlin. Her thesis explores storytelling in recent British ‘new writing’ at the Royal Court and Almeida theatres in London. She completed her postgraduate studies in Comparative and Postcolonial Literatures at the University of Bologna and Paris-Sorbonne and holds a BA in European Literature from the University of Bologna and the University of Upper Alsace. Her work has been published in The Journal of Contemporary Drama in English. She works also a freelance translator and has translated
novels for Mondadori.