Dutch-language theatre texts take the stage in France

After a successful collaboration in Austria earlier this year, Dutch Performing Arts, Flanders Arts Institute and Flanders Literature again join forces to promote Dutch-language theatre texts abroad. Now targeting French-speaking regions, the Dutch and Flemish organisations partner up with Maison Antoine Vitez, a Paris-based organisation for the translation of theatre texts. In 2020 they present the French translation of eight theatre texts originally written in Dutch. The following works were selected from a longlist:

From the Netherlands:

  • ‘Derf’ by Sophie Kassies
  • ‘Kale bomen ruisen niet’ by Magne van den Berg
  • ‘Bij het kanaal naar links’ by Alex van Warmerdam
  • ‘Woestijnjasmijntjes’ by George Elias Tobal

From Flanders:

  • ‘We take it from here’ by Rebekka de Wit & Tijdelijke Samenscholing
  • Woestzoeker’ (‘Wildekid’) by Jan Sobrie
  • Rudy!’ by Peter De Graef
  • Dagen zonder data’ (‘Days Without Dates’) by Jessa Wildemeersch

The selected texts will be translated into French and have staged readings for French-speaking theatre professionals at various festivals and other events. Through this project the organising partners aim to increase the visibility of contemporary Dutch-language theatre texts in French-speaking regions.

The participants of the translation workshop in France. (c) Alex Nollet

Familiarising translators with the theatre genre

There is an urgent shortage of translators that are specialised in the theatre genre. For that reason Flanders Literature, Dutch Performing Arts and Maison Antoine Vitez organised a translation workshop in November 2019, in collaboration with La Chartreuse, the national centre for theatre texts in France. Eight Dutch-French and French-Dutch translators (Astrid Panis, Lola Bertels, Martine Woudt, Sandra Verhulst, Sofiane Boussahel, Ingrid Sauvenée De Man, Malorie Moneaux and Els Dumez Blocken) were introduced to the tricks of the trade. Guiding the workshop, translators Mike Sens and Esther Gouarné  familiarised the participants with different aspects of the genre. The participants look back on a successful workshop, working on translations individually, in pairs or with multiple translators, discussing translations and language-specific variations in Flemish, Dutch and French, and practicing warming-ups and stagings.

‘I have 15 years of translating experience – of all of the workshops I participated in, this by far has been the most fascinating and versatile one.’ (Sandra Verhulst).

More information

Read ‘Going international: Crossing borders with text theatre from Flanders’ at our online special theatretextsfromthelowlands.kunsten.be

This project was supported by the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Flanders.