Dr Margherita Laera
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Margherita is an award-winning early-career scholar specialising in contemporary European theatre, translation and adaptation for the stage, and theatre criticism. She is also a professional arts journalist and theatre translator.
Margherita’s research interests include contemporary theatre in Europe, especially in Italy; adaptation and translation for the stage; ‘classical’ Greek tragedy and its modern appropriations; theatre criticism; theatre and ideology. Margherita studied Classics, Comparative Literature and Theatre/Performance Studies in Milan, Paris and London.
She is currently concluding an AHRC Leadership Fellowship project called ‘Translation, Adaptation, Otherness: “Foreignisation” in Theatre Practice’ (2016–19). More information can be found here: www.translatingtheatre.com. This project was awarded the Theatre and Performance Research Association’s Early Career Research Prize 2018 and the University of Kent’s Starting Research Prize 2018.
Margherita is also the Online Editor for Johns Hopkins University Press’ Theatre Journal and Theatre Topics, which can be accessed here: www.jhuptheatre.org.
Her first monograph, Reaching Athens: Community, Democracy and Other Mythologies in Adaptations of Greek Tragedy (Peter Lang, 2013) was followed by an edited book, Theatre and Adaptation: Return, Rewrite, Repeat (Methuen, 2014). Her third book, aimed at the general public, is entitled Brexit Stage Left: A Guide to London Theatres (Cue Press, 2019). She is also the author of Theatre & Translation (Red Globe Press, 2019).
Margherita has contributed chapters on Italian theatre to prestigious edited volumes and authored journal articles for Contemporary Theatre Review, Modern Drama, Performance Research, TheatreForum and Critical Stages.
Her theatre translations from French and English into Italian have been performed and published in various Italian contexts, including the prestigious Piccolo Teatro in Milan. She has translated plays by Jean-Luc Lagarce, Athol Fugard, Bola Agbaje, Peter Greenaway and Mohamed Kacimi. She is currently translating two Italian plays by Francesca Garolla and Davide Carnevali into English.
Margherita is a member of the Italian Association of Journalists. She writes about arts, design and culture in a range of Italian magazines such as the weekend supplements of Il Corriere della Sera and La Repubblica. She works as a theatre critic for the Italian theatre journal Hystrio since 2007 and is a contributor to Ateatro.it.
Current administrative roles
Director, European Theatre Research Network
Also view these in the Kent Academic Repository
Before joining the University of Kent, Margherita taught at several UK institutions, including Queen Mary, University of London; Kingston University London; and Middlesex University.
She taught at Queen Mary between 2008 and 2012, convening and tutoring on theoretical and practice-based undergraduate modules such as Theatre and Its Others; Adaptations; Dramaturgy and Translation; London, Culture, Performance;and Supporting Student Writing. At Kingston, she was a Visiting Lecturer on the first-year theoretical module Performing Theories. At Middlesex, Margherita taught fist- and second-year BA Translation Studies students, convening modules such as General Translation; Core Concepts for Translators; Specialised Translation; and Translation Principles and Strategies.
At Kent, she has convened the undergraduate modules Theatre & Journalism (DR548) and Theatre & Adaptation (DR685) and has been on the teaching team for Playwriting (DR619). She also convened the MA European Theatre and Dramaturgy (with an optional term in Paris), and all the core modules on this programme.
Margherita is involved in supervising research students on projects ranging from the plays of Ferenc Molnár; contemporary European directorial approaches to staging canonical plays; and the practice of Song of the Goat theatre company.
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Margherita’s research expertise is in the field of theatre and ideology in contemporary Britain and continental Europe, with a focus on contemporary experimental performance from Western Europe. She is interested in the way theatre and performance produce, disseminate or resist ideological discourses and beliefs around community, identity and otherness. She specialises in theatre translation and adaptation, with a particular interest in adaptations of the Western canon.
Her current AHRC-sponsored research project, entitled ‘Translation, Adaptation, Otherness: “Foreignisation” in Theatre Practice’ (2016–19) investigated how theatre translation can communicate cultural and linguistic difference through practice as research, ethnography and audience research. This project was designed to address the alarming marginalisation of foreign-language writers in the British theatre repertoire. Part of the reason for carrying out this project was to raise public awareness of translation as an ethical imperative in a multicultural society such as ours. The project was awarded the Theatre and Performance Research Association’s Early Career Research Prize 2018 and the University of Kent’s Starting Research Prize 2018. For more information, see www.translatingtheatre.com
In 2018, Margherita launched a UK Theatre and Performance Criticism Survey with Diana Damian Martin of the Royal Central School of Speech and Drama. See more info here: www.cssd.ac.uk/content/theatre-and-performance-criticism-survey
Margherita is a founding member of the ‘Re-’ Interdisciplinary Network based at CRASSH, University of Cambridge. For more information see here: www.crassh.cam.ac.uk/programmes/re-interdisciplinary-network
With Prof. Peter Boenisch of the Royal Central School of Speech and Drama, Margherita is the recipient of an AHRC OWRI funding scheme for a project on multilingual theatre linked to the University of Oxford’s Creative Multilingualism project. More info can be found here: www.creativeml.ox.ac.uk/blog/exploring-multilingualism/creative-multilingualism-owri-funded-projects
She is the author of Reaching Athens: Community, Democracy and Other Mythologies in Adaptations of Greek Tragedy (Peter Lang, 2013), which theorises the political and ideological implications of staging Greek tragedy on contemporary European theatre stages. Margherita is the editor of Theatre and Adaptation: Return, Rewrite, Repeat (Bloomsbury, 2014), in which she argues that stage adaptations can act as powerful performance interventions in resisting dominant narratives. The volume investigates contemporary theatrical productions that evidence the recurring contemporary fascination with adapting existing works by other artists, writers, filmmakers and stage practitioners.
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Margherita welcomes postgraduate enquiries for supervision in the following areas:
- Contemporary Theatre in Europe
- Theatre, Ideology, Community and Identity
- Translation and Adaptation for the Stage
- Appropriations of Greek tragedy in Contemporary Theatre.