School of Arts

 

About

Margherita specialises 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 an AHRC Leadership Fellow for the project ‘Translation, Adaptation, Otherness: “Foreignisation” in Theatre Practice’ (2016–18). The project asks what ‘foreignisation’ might mean in practice by using practice as research, ethnography and qualitative audience research. More information on the project can be found here: www.translatingtheatre.com

Margherita is also the Senior Book Reviews Editor for CUP’s Theatre Research International and a member of the AHRC Peer Review College. In 2011, she was awarded a Leverhulme Early Career Fellowship for a project on stage adaptations (2011–13).

Her first monograph, Reaching Athens: Community, Democracy and Other Mythologies in Adaptations of Greek Tragedy (Peter Lang, 2013) was followed by an edited book of interviews, Theatre and Adaptation: Return, Rewrite, Repeat (Methuen, 2014). Margherita has contributed to journals such as Contemporary Theatre Review, Performance Research, TheatreForum and Critical Stages.

Prior to pursuing a career in academia, Margherita was involved in theatre as a producer, translator and dramaturg. 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, among others, plays by Jean-Luc Lagarce, Athol Fugard, Bola Agbaje, Peter Greenaway and Mohamed Kacimi.

Margherita is a member of the Italian Association of Journalists. She writes about arts, design and culture, and has published features and interviews in a range of high-circulation 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.

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Publications

Also view these in the Kent Academic Repository

Book
Laera, M. (2013). Reaching Athens: Community, Democracy and Other Mythologies in Adaptations of Greek Tragedy. Peter Lang.
Edited book
Laera, M. ed. (2017). Black Tenderness: The Passion of Mary Stuart. [Online]. Imola: Cue Press. Available at: https://www.libroco.it/english/dl/Denise-Despeyroux/Cue-Press/9788899737245/Black-Tenderness-The-Passion-of-Mary-Stuart/cw782393383129753.html.
Laera, M. ed. (2014). Theatre and Adaptation: Return, Rewrite, Repeat. [Online]. Bloomsbury Methuen Drama. Available at: http://www.bloomsbury.com/uk/theatre-and-adaptation-9781472533166/.
Book section
Laera, M. (2017). A Theatre Of/For Europe : Giorgio Strehler and the Dream of a United Continent. in: Finburgh, C., Boenisch, P. M. and Shepherd, S. eds. Great Stage Directors, vol. 6: Littlewood, Planchon, Strehler. Bloomsbury Methuen Drama. Available at: https://www.bloomsbury.com/uk/the-great-european-stage-directors-set-2-9781474254168/.
Laera, M. (2016). How to Get Your Hands Dirty: Old and New Models of 'Militant' Theatre Criticism in Italy. in: Radosavljevic, D. ed. Theatre Criticism: Changing Landscapes. Bloomsbury Methuen Drama, pp. 99-117.
Laera, M. (2015). 55 Entries on Italian Actors. in: Williams, S. ed. The Cambridge Encyclopedia of Stage Actors and Acting. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.
Laera, M. (2014). 'Expert' Dramaturgies: Helgard Haug of Remini Protokoll in Conversation with Margherita Laera. in: Laera, M. ed. Theatre and Adaptation: Return, Rewrite, Repeat. Bloomsbury Methuen Drama, pp. 241-254.
Laera, M. (2013). Making Lear Dreaming. Singapore, Affects and Transnational Encounters: An Interview with Ong Keng Sen. in: From Identity to Mondialisation: TheatreWorks 25. Singapore: Didier Millet.
Article
Laera, M. (2018). Performing Heteroglossia: The 'Translating Theatre' Project in London. Modern Drama [Online] 61. Available at: https://doi.org/10.3138/md.s0917.
Laera, M. (2015). On Killing Children: Greek Tragedies on British Stages in 2015. Critical Stages [Online]. Available at: http://www.critical-stages.org/12/on-killing-children-greek-tragedies-on-british-stages-in-2015/.
Laera, M. (2011). Reaching Athens: Performing Participation and Community in Rimini Protokoll's Prometheus in Athens. Performance Research [Online] 16:46-51. Available at: http://dx.doi.org/10.1080/13528165.2011.606049.
Laera, M. (2011). Theatre Translation as Collaboration: Aleks Sierz, Natalie Abrahami, Martin Crimp, Zoë Svendsen, Colin Teevan and J. Michael Walton discuss Translation for the Stage. Contemporary Theatre Review [Online] 21:213-225. Available at: http://dx.doi.org/10.1080/10486801.2011.561490.
Laera, M. (2010). Comedy, Tragedy, and 'Universal Structures': Socìetas Raffaello Sanzio's Inferno, Purgatorio, Paradiso. TheatreForum:3-15.
Laera, M. (2009). Mark Ravenhill's Shoot/Get Treasure/Repeat: A Treasure Hunt in London. TheatreForum 35:3-9.
Review
Laera, M. (2012). Staging and Performing Translation: Text and Theatre Practice edited by Roger Baines, Cristina Marinetti, and Manuela Perteghella. Contemporary Theatre Review [Online] 22:281-282. Available at: http://dx.doi.org/10.1080/10486801.2012.669600.
Laera, M. (2009). Oedipus at the National Theatre: Celebrities and the Otherness of Tragedy. Western European Stages:73-74.
Conference or workshop item
Laera, M. (2016). Rethinking 'Foreignisation' Through Practice as Research. in: European Theatre Perspectives: Exploring Channels for Cross-Cultural Engagement in Performance.
Laera, M. (2016). Dealing with the Past: Three Oresteias. in: International Federation for Theatre Research, Annual Conference 2016.
Laera, M. (2016). A Theatre of/for Europe: Giorgio Strehler and the Dream of a United Continent. in: Quorum.
Laera, M. (2015). Texts and Scores as Places of Interaction. in: Centre for Research in the Arts, Social Sciences and Humanities (CRASSH).
Laera, M. (2015). Subverting the 'Classics': Adaptation and Resistance. in: London Theatre Seminar.. Available at: http://backdoorbroadcasting.net/2015/11/margherita-laera-subverting-the-classics-adaptation-and-resistance/.
Laera, M. (2011). 'I'll Roughen It Up a Bit': Multiple-Authored Theatre Translations. in: Invisible Presences.
Edited journal
Laera, M. ed. (2014). Interviews section. Journal of Adaptation in Film and Performance 7.2.
Other
Laera, M. (2016). Translating Theatre: 'Foreignisation' on Stage. Practice as Research Portfolio. [Performance].
Laera, M. (2011). Translating African Plays: Ethics, 'Foreignisation' and Collaboration. [Play].
Laera, M. (2010). The Wedding at Cana Greenaway, P. ed. [Book]. Available at: http://www.chartaartbooks.it/index.php?page=shop.product_details&flypage=charta_flypage&product_id=885&option=com_virtuemart&Itemid=42&lang=en_US.
Laera, M. (2009). The Blue Planet Greenaway, P. ed. [Book].
Greenaway, P. and Laera, M. (2009). The Blue Planet. [Performance].
Laera, M. (2009). Noi, gli eroi Lagarce, J. -L. ed. [Book]. Available at: http://www.ubulibri.it/pagine/st-lagarce.htm.
Forthcoming
Laera, M. ed. (2017). The Snakes. Imola: Cue Press.
Laera, M. ed. (2017). Gliwice Hamlet : Rehearsal of Touch Through The Pane. Imola: Cue Press.
Laera, M. (2017). Royal Court: International (Review). Modern Drama 60:0-0.
Total publications in KAR: 32 [See all in KAR]

 

 

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Research Interests

  • Translation and Adaptation for the Stage
  • Contemporary Theatre in Europe (Italy in particular)
  • Theatre, Ideology, Community and Identity
  • Appropriations of Greek tragedy in Contemporary Theatre
  • Theatre Criticism

Margherita’s main research expertise is in the fields of theatre translation and adaptation and their politics. Her other publications have focused on theatre and ideology in contemporary Britain and continental Europe, with a focus on modern and contemporary experimental performance from Italy and Western Europe. I am interested in the way theatre and performance produce, disseminate or resist ideological discourses and beliefs around community, identity and otherness.

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. Through case studies from around Europe and an engagement with the thinking of Jean-Luc Nancy, Roland Barthes and Salvatore Settis, the book develops a critique of the myth of Athens as the cradle of Western civilisation and the birthplace of both democracy and theatre. The volume theorises the ideological implications of the production of Greek tragedies on the contemporary European theatre stage. It proffers extensive analysis of productions in seven European countries and their respective languages (English, French, Spanish, Italian, Greek, German, and Polish), engaging with both well-known theatre makers, such as Romeo Castellucci, and Calixto Bieito, and with emerging artists. These first-hand, in-depth case studies, many of which previously under-researched, inform a complex theoretical argument that engages with the myth of Greek tragedy, the chorus and the limits of representation, and the notion of 'democracy'.

Margherita is also the editor of 'Theatre and Adaptation: Return, Rewrite, Repeat' (Bloomsbury, 2014), in which I maintain 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. Featuring seventeen interviews with internationally-renowned theatre and performance artists, the book provides first-hand accounts of a diverse array of approaches to stage adaptation, ranging from playwriting to directing, Javanese puppetry to British children's theatre, and feminist performance to Japanese Noh. The interviews examine the practices and the complex set of negotiations each work of appropriation involves and questions performance's enduring desire to return, rewrite and repeat. The project includes interviews with Societas Raffaello Sanzio, Handspring Puppet Company, Katie Mitchell, Rimini Protokoll, Elevator Repair Service, Simon Stephens, Ong Keng Sen, Toneelgroep Amsterdam, Daniel Veronese, Noh Master Udaka Michishige and many others.

Her current AHRC-sponsored research project, entitled ‘Translation, Adaptation, Otherness: “Foreignisation” in Theatre Practice’ is concerned with theatre translation from European languages into English. It explores how it might be possible to communicate linguistic and cultural difference through theatre and performance by adopting translational practices that seek to minimise the ‘domesticating’ effects of translation. ‘Translation, Adaptation, Otherness’ aims to set a new agenda for academic research into the process of translation for the stage by using a combination of practice-as-research, ethnography and qualitative audience research to learn from the practical application of selected strategies in performance. The project engaged the public through open performances at the Gate Theatre in London in the summer of 2016, and will result in the publication of a special issue of Studies in Theatre and Performance in 2018. More information on the project and its archive can be found on the website http://www.translatingtheatre.com, and through the film documentary here.

Margherita was part of the Scientific Committee of the two-year EU-funded project Playing Identities, Performing Heritage (2015–16), in partnership with the University of Siena, Italy, and drama academies in Barcelona, Cluj-Napoca, and Vilnius.

Margherita is currently working on a tourist guide to London theatres, a survey of theatre critics in Britain, a chapter on playwriting in Italy, a special issue of STP and a short monograph on theatre translation.

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Teaching

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 convenes 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.

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Supervision

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


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Last Updated: 19/10/2018