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
Fabulamundi – Playwriting Europe commissioned a 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 maps 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 evaluates and compares cultural practices and institutional habits in the field. While it cannot be claimed that the respondents fully represent their national ecologies, they nonetheless provided a partial snapshot of different practices and attitudes that can form the basis of further analysis and comparison. Primary research was carried out in countries where Fabulamundi partners are based: Austria, Belgium, Czech Republic, France, Germany, Italy, Poland, Romania, Spain and the UK.
The research team disseminated the project findings in 2020/21 through a series of publications that 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 to summarise recommendations for the industry, while a monograph features an in-depth discussion of the study, its implications, findings and methods, addressing both the industry and academia.
Fabulamundi Workbook online
It’s online the publication of Fabulamundi Workbook, a comparative report on current practices, conventions and institutions working on contemporary playwriting and theatre translation in Austria, Czech Republic, France, Germany, Italy, Spain, Poland, Romania and the UK.
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 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.