Translating for performance is a difficult – and hotly contested – activity.

Adapting Translation for the Stage presents a sustained dialogue between scholars, actors, directors, writers, and those working across these boundaries, exploring common themes and issues encountered when writing, staging, and researching translated works. It is organised into four parts, each reflecting on a theatrical genre where translation is regularly practised:

  • The Role of Translation in Rewriting Naturalist Theatre
  • Adapting Classical Drama at the Turn of the Twenty-First Century
  • Translocating Political Activism in Contemporary Theatre
  • Modernist Narratives of Translation in Performance

A range of case studies from the National Theatre’s Medea to The Gate Theatre’s Dances of Death and Emily Mann’s The House of Bernarda Alba shed new light on the creative processes inherent in translating for the theatre, destabilising the literal/performable binary to suggest that adaptation and translation can – and do – coexist on stage.

Chronicling the many possible intersections between translation theory and practice, Adapting Translation for the Stage offers a unique exploration of the processes of translating, adapting, and relocating work for the theatre.

chapter |18 pages


ByGeraldine Brodie, Emma Cole

section 1|55 pages

The role of translation in rewriting naturalist theatre

chapter 2|10 pages

Total translation

Approaching an adaptation of Strindberg’s The Dance of Death Parts One and Two
ByTom Littler

chapter 4|13 pages

An antidote to Ibsen?

British responses to Chekhov and the legacy of naturalism
ByPhilip Ross Bullock

chapter 5|5 pages

The translation trance

ByHoward Brenton

section 2|60 pages

Adapting classical drama at the turn of the twenty-first century

chapter 6|7 pages

Adapting the classics: pall-bearers, mourners and resurrectionists

ByJane Montgomery Griffiths

chapter 7|6 pages

Hecuba, queen of what?

ByCaroline Bird

chapter 9|14 pages

Forces at work

Euripides’ Medea at the National Theatre 2014 1
ByLucy Jackson

chapter 10|17 pages

Translation and/in performance

My experiments
ByMary-Kay Gamel

section 3|66 pages

Translocating political activism in contemporary theatre

chapter 12|15 pages

Handling ‘Paulmann’s dick’

Translating audience and character recognition in contemporary theatre
ByWilliam Gregory

chapter 14|13 pages

Domestication as a political act

The case of Gavin Richards’s translation of Dario Fo’s Accidental Death of an Anarchist
ByMarta Niccolai

chapter 15|15 pages

Theatrical translation/theatrical production

Ramón Griffero’s pre-texts for performance
ByAdam Versényi

section 4|75 pages

Modernist narratives of translation in performance

chapter 16|7 pages

The roaming art

ByTanya Ronder

chapter 17|13 pages

Pinning down Piñera

ByGráinne Byrne, Kate Eaton

chapter 18|13 pages

Translating sicilianità in Pirandello’s dialect play Liolà

ByEnza De Francisci

chapter 19|14 pages

Narratives of translation in performance

Collaborative acts
ByDavid Johnston

chapter 20|13 pages

How to solve a problem like Lorca

Anthony Weigh’s Yerma
ByGareth Wood

chapter 21|13 pages

Multiple roles and shifting translations

ByEmily Mann, Geraldine Brodie, Emma Cole

section |11 pages


chapter 22|9 pages

Adapting – and accessing – translation for the stage 1

ByEva Espasa