Irish Theatre and Central Europe

11th Annual Irish Theatrical Diaspora Conference

Centre for Irish Studies, Charles University, Prague

12-13 September 2014

 

Programme | Photos


The conference aimed to discuss the relations between theatre in Ireland and a broadly defined region of Central Europe. Principal themes included the reception of Irish theatre and drama in Central Europe; theatre and drama from Central Europe on Irish stages; links between theatres, playwrights and practitioners from the respective geographical areas; the history, practice and politics of drama translation.

Plenary Speakers

Małgorzata Semil (Warsaw)

Małgorzata Semil

Theatre critic and translator. Graduate of the English Department at Warsaw University; since 1966 member of the editorial board, and 1989-2002 Deputy Editor of the monthly DIALOG, a journal dedicated to contemporary drama which prints 3-4 new plays per issue, introducing new Polish and foreign plays to the Polish public; since 2002 member of the Advisory Board of TheatreForum; 1995-2007 literary manager of Teatr Powszechny in Warsaw; 2007-2010 literary advisor at Teatr Ateneum in Warsaw; for ten years lecturer at the Warsaw Drama Academy; since 2005 runs a class on translating for the theatre at the English Department of the Warsaw University; for four terms President of the Communication Committee of ITI; member of the Board of the Polish Authors’ Agency ZAiKS and President of the Playwrights’ Section of the organization.

In her capacity as Deputy Editor of DIALOG and Secretary General of the Polish centre of ITI, she has organized a number of seminars and workshops, including a series entitled “Writing for the Theatre” with Polish and foreign participants. At the invitation of the organizers of the New Plays from Europe biennale in Wiesbaden (Germany), during the last three festivals, she coordinated and moderated the Forum of European Dramatists.

As President of the Communications Committee of ITI, she was responsible for coordinating the work on the publication of four editions of World of Theatre and International Theatre Directory, and after stepping down from presidency, she continued as member of the editorial board of both these publications.

Apart from essays and studies about contemporary theatre she has co-authored (with Elżbieta Wysińska) a companion to contemporary theatre (ownik teatru współczesnego) which had two editions in Poland and was also published in Estonia and the Czech Republic; in 2009 she co-authored (with Bonnie Marranca) a volume of new plays from Europe New Europe – Plays from the Continent (PAJ Publications, New York); she has translated into Polish over 100 English, American, Australian and African plays, including: Edward Albee’s Three Tall Women, Neil LaBute’s The Shape of Things and Fat Pig, Adam Rapp’s Red Light Winter, Sam Shepard’s Simpatico, Judith Thompson’s I Am Yours, Lion in the Streets and Habitat, Michael Frayn’s Copenhagen and Democracy, David Hare’s Amy’s View, Skylight and Vertical Hour, Christopher Hampton Tales from Hollywood, Sarah Kane Phaedra’s Love, Wole Soyinka’s Kongi’s Harvest, Athol Fugard’s Hello and Goodbye, A Lesson from Aloes, The Road to Mecca, Sarah Ruhl’s The Clean House and Dead Man’s Cell Phone, Brian Friel’s Dancing at Lughnasa and Molly Sweeney, Martin McDonagh’s The Cripple of Inishmaan, Enda Walsh’s The Walworth Farce and Penelope; her most recent translation is The Other Place by Sharr White.

Małgorzata Semil is an associate member of the League of Professional Theatre Women.

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Michael Raab (Frankfurt a.M.)

Dr Michael Raab

b. 1959. A translator and lecturer, Michael Raab lives in Frankfurt/Main. He worked as editor for German television ZDF and as dramaturge at the Staatstheater Stuttgart, the Staatstheater Mainz, the Munich Kammerspiele and the Schauspiel Leipzig. He has written books on Shakespearean productions in Germany and England, the portrayal of the entertainment industry in contemporary British drama, the director Wolfgang Engel and on English plays in the 1990s. His main area of work is new British and Irish drama, on which he has published numerous articles and essays.

He taught at the Otto-Falckenberg-School, the Bavarian Theatre Academy and the Ludwig-Maximilians-University Munich, the Mozarteum Salzburg (where he held a guest professorship for two years), the Hessian Theatre Academy Frankfurt as well as at the universities of Konstanz, Leipzig, Mainz and Heidelberg. In 2009 he received the journalism prize of the Anglistentag. In 2011 he was translator-in-residence at the University of Tübingen.

As a translator he regularly works with dramatists like Michael Frayn, Lee Hall or Tim Price and up to now did German versions of ca. 70 English, Irish, Scottish, Welsh, American, Canadian, Australian and French plays, as well as Claire Dowie’s novel Creating Chaos and Michael Chekhov’s Lessons for the Professional Actor.

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László Upor (Budapest)

László Upor

b. 1957. Hungarian dramaturge, translator, essayist and university lecturer specialised, mostly, in contemporary drama. As a dramaturge, he has worked with several leading companies of the mainstream but also with independents, physical and puppet theatres. His translations include novels, non-fiction and around 50 stage plays (including works by Brian Friel, Tom Murphy, Bernard Farrell, Paul Mercier, Marina Carr, Conor McPherson and Martin McDonagh). Last year, he directed a production of McDonagh’s The Beauty Queen of Leenane in Timisoara, Romania. His own plays (mostly adaptations) are produced by puppet-theatres and physical theatre groups. For many years László had edited a series of contemporary drama anthologies. As an author he has published two books of essays as well as several articles about contemporary drama and theatre. He has been teaching at the Budapest University of Film and Theatre for twenty-five years, and taught as a visiting lecturer at other universities in Hungary and abroad.

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Tilman Raabke (Oberhausen)

Tilman Raabke

b. 1957. A German dramaturge born in Braunschweig. He studied philosophy, German literature and the linguistics of Germanic languages. Between 1993 and 2000 he worked as a dramaturge of the Deutsches Schauspielhaus in Hamburg, and from 2000 to 2004 he was the chief dramaturge of the Münchner Kammerspiele. From 2004 to 2008, Raabke worked as a freelance dramaturge for the Münchner Kammerspiele and the Luzerner Theater in Switzerland. Between 2005 and 2011 he also lectured in the Centre for Art and Media associated with the Karlsruhe University of Arts and Design. Since 2008, he has been chief dramaturge of the Theater Oberhausen. This year, Raabke has been appointed Moderator of the Mühlheimer Theatertage, a prominent festival of new German drama.

Tilman Raabke has had a long-standing relationship with Irish drama. Most recently, he has hosted Roddy Doyle at the Oberhausen Theatre, whose new version of Gogol’s play The Government Inspector had a German-language premiere there in 2012. Apart from introducing the work of new authors, such as the London-born Dennis Kelly (Orphans), Raabke also staged at Oberhausen an adaptation of the first part of Sean O’Casey’s autobiography, I Knock at the Door. A personal friendship connects him with playwright Enda Walsh; aside from the first German productions of Disco Pigs (Hamburg, 1998) und Bedbound (Munich, 2001), he developed The Fishmonger’s Tale with Walsh, a play that was eventually premiered by the Münchner Kammerspiele under the title The New Electric Ballroom (2004). Their latest collaboration to date was also a commission: Penelope, first staged at Oberhausen in 2010.

Other work by Tilman Raabke includes numerous essays and articles, focused mainly on South-American theatre and the Austrian Nobel Prize laureate Elfriede Jelinek. He has frequently given workshops: with Viviane de Muynck at the Internationale Theaterakademie Ruhr in Bochum (1999), with international directors such as Johan Simons or Simon McBurney at the Münchner Kammerspiele (since 2001), and from 2004 increasingly in South America (Montevideo, México City, Lima, La Paz, and at the Festival Iberoamericano de Teatro de Bogotá). In the summer of 2013, he directed Lessing’s Emilia Galotti in La Paz in what is the oldest theatre of South America.

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 The conference was supported by the Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade, Ireland, the "Programme for the Development of Research Areas at Charles University, P09, Literature and Art in Intercultural Relations, Sub-Programme Transformations of the Cultural History of the Anglophone Countries: Identities, Periods, Canons", and the Centre for Irish Studies. 

Organizing Committee

Nicholas Grene (TCD), Patrick Lonergan (NUI Galway), Ondřej Pilný (Charles University), Clare Wallace (Charles University)

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The Centre of Irish Studies wishes to acknowledge the financial assistance of the Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade, Ireland. Irish language teaching is funded from a grant awarded by the Department of Culture, Heritage and the Gaeltacht, Ireland. Our special thanks are due to the Embassy of Ireland to the Czech Republic for their unrelenting encouragement and support.