The European Theatre Research Network is a partnership of four higher education institutions committed to researching theatre- and performance-making in Europe, along with its contexts, theories and histories: the University of Kent, the Royal Central School of Speech and Drama, University of London, the Institute of Theatre Studies (ITW) at Universität Bern and the Department of Dramaturgi at Aarhus University. As an research network, it brings together researchers working across different European languages who have commitment to work that engages with the role that theatre plays within the specific civic fabric of European culture and society.
We think of Europe not as a fortress, but as a porous geographical region that owes a debt to, and is permeated by, transcultural and multilingual practices and histories. Its art and culture, including theatre and performance, come alive through the continuous, ongoing exchange and interweaving, but also processes of negotiation between regions, languages, and identities. Founded in 2007, the ETRN aims to offer a platform to connect researchers working in the field of European Theatre, whether at the three core partner institutions, elsewhere in Europe, or across the world. We also maintain lively, and ever expanding to connections to theatre artists, theatre institutions, and policy bodies. The mission of the ETRN is to act as a catalyst to facilitate joint and collaborative research projects that through the combined research expertise will generate new insights and understanding of theatre practices, theories and histories across the national and geospatial borders of Europe.
A short documentary film of the AHRC Creative Multilingualism project ‘Performing Multilingualism for Monolingual Audiences’ has now been released. The project was undertaken within the framework of the European Theatre Research Network (ETRN), by Principal Investigator Dr Margherita Laera, Senior Lecturer in Drama at the University of Kent, and Co-Investigator Professor Peter Boenisch of Aarhus University and The Royal Central School of Speech and Drama, University of London.
‘Performing Multilingualism for Monolingual Audiences’ investigated creative strategies and performative processes at work in multilingual theatre for audiences in predominantly monolingual cultures, such as the UK. The aim was to chart, share, and disseminate practices of current multilingual work in European theatre which would take into account that spectators cannot be expected to know all the languages on stage.
The project consisted of a conference at the University of Kent with the participation of Gintersdorfer / Klassen and Maxim-Gorki-Theater, Berlin, and two workshops at the Royal Central School of Speech and Drama, University of London. Students from the University of Kent, RCSSD, Freie Universität Berlin and Paris Conservatoire participated in workshops with Greek director Anestis Azas of the Greek National Theatre, and French director Anne Bérélowitch of Instant Mix.
University of Kent alumna Georgiana Barcan, now based at the Piet Zwart Institute/University of Rotterdam (NL), shot and edited the documentary which is available on https://youtu.be/HfDV1nEGwiI