Dr Mark O’Thomas, University Of Lincoln

 

‘Creating Cultural Exchange and Change’ is conceived in response to the ‘Translating Cultures’ developmental call. It is constituted as a collaborative project focusing on aspects of the creative-cultural work of the International Department of The Royal Court Theatre (London), and involving the academic partnership of Dr Mark O’Thomas (PI,Lincoln University) and Professor Elaine Aston (Co-I, Lancaster University). Among British theatres The Royal Court Theatre is distinctive for its commitment to producing new playwriting across national borders, across different languages and cultures, often in strategically important parts of the world. Now in its fifteenth anniversary year, under the direction of Elyse Dodgson the theatre’s International Department has developed a transformative model of international play development that aspires to cultural exchange and change. To-date, however, there has been no significant, sustained research into this body of ‘translating cultures’ work, the creative processes and methods that underpin it or its international cultural developments and legacies. Through a series of meetings and workshops, and by undertaking international enquiries into the global reach of the theatre into two strategically important parts of the world – South America and Arab nations – this project will engage in preliminary investigations into: understanding the theatre’s method and process of translating cultures and languages in dramatic forms and contexts; exploring how this can relate to and produce social and political change, and assessing the impact all of this can have on growing creative (playwriting) economies and developing cultural dialogue and exchange. Furthering an understanding not only of the achievements but also the challenges this work poses, will enable the delivery of insights relevant and beneficial to the current call and future development of the theme.

 

Dr Mark O’Thomas

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