Anne Hamilton/Hamilton Dramaturgy


I discovered this magnificent resource on the artistry, practice, and theory of dramaturgy and want to share it with everyone! I used the authors’ book Dramaturgy and Performance in my class at Muhlenberg College a few years ago. It is a wonderful textbook.

This site documents, frames and disseminates aspects of research carried out by Cathy Turner and Synne K. Behrndt. Theywork together and separately to research dramaturgy (and sometimes the dramaturg). They also share their individual research interests.

Synne K. BehrndtSynne K. Behrndt

In addition to and as part of their academic research, Synne works as a dramaturg for companies such as Fevered Sleep (UK) and others. Cathy works as an artist with Wrights & Sites.

There is a ‘Porous Dramaturgies’ in the side bar on the site for posts relating to the project between Cathy at the University of Exeter, working together with Duska Radosavljevic at the University of Kent, Hanna Slattne of Tinderbox (N.Ireland) and Shadow Casters (Croatia).




Margaret Rose, an English playwright working in Italy, has been a guest columnist for ScriptForward!, sharing her expertise on the subject of international translation and collaboration. One of her new translations from Italian to English will premiere at the Edinburgh Fringe Festival this month.

An Italian-Scottish collaboration, Europa, Our First Migrant is a brand new play, drawing on the Greek myth, ‘The Rape of Europa”.  Europa, daughter of the King of Phoenicia, is abducted by the god Zeus, disguised as a bull. Having settled on Crete, this young woman gives birth to three children, including the Minotaur, so engendering the first Europeans. Her brother Cadmus sets off to find her and circulates the alphabet in the new Continent.

The play rewrites the myth, exploring what it means to be European today in a continent which is fast changing. In an often surprising game between past and present, a modern-day Europa and Zeus undertake the journey of the mythical figures from Phoenicia (modern-day Lebanon) to Crete, ending up in Scotland. Here Europa discovers that her new country is very different from the Fantarcadia she had been dreaming of.

Europa our First Migrant (English adaptation by Maggie Rose) is based on an Italian play, Europa Migrante (by Salvatore Cabras). Directed by Joe Gallagher and produced by Glasgow’s Replico Company, the play will be performed at the Italian Cultural Institute, 82 Nicolson Street in Edinburgh on the 23rd and 24th of August at 5pm. It will then embark on a two week island and Highlands tour. The production is funded by Creative Scotland, with the support of the Italian Institute of Culture.

THE GUARDIAN Posts Research on UK Women in Theatre

“Women in theatre: how the ‘2:1 problem’ breaks down”

How well are women represented in theatre? New research by the Guardian in collaboration with Elizabeth Freestone shows a mixed picture. Find the full research results here.


Shakespeare said that all the world’s a stage – but how well does the theatre really represent women?

New research by the Guardian, in collaboration with Elizabeth Freestone of Pentabus Theatre, shows that women are still badly under represented, with a persistent 2:1 male-to-female ratio.

The research, concentrating on the top 10 subsidised theatres for 2012-13, looked at female representation in a variety of areas from actors employed to the number of playwrights commissioned for the financial year 2011-12. Board of directors, chief executives and creative teams were also examined…

(c) The Guardian.

Dramaturgy: The Lowdown

Here is a terrific article about dramaturgy from the perspective of several UK practitioners. It was published on the website, which is an excellent source of arts opportunities in the UK.

Royal Court

Dramaturgy: The lowdown

by Jo Caird

(Published on 03/01/12 at: E2%80%93the-low-down. You may have to join ideastap in order to access the article, or you can download a copy here: Dramaturgy – The Lowdown)

If you’ve ever found yourself gazing at a dramaturg’s credit in a theatre programme and wondering what exactly the role entails, you’re not alone: dramaturgy is one of the least understood of the theatrical professions. Here we talk to experts from the Royal Court (pictured) and Soho Theatre to bring you the lowdown…

Dramaturgical work is a fundamental part of the directing process in British theatre.

Chris Campbell, Literary Manager at the Royal Court Theatre, defines it as “the explication of the text and working with the writer to make it work in the best way possible”. As Katalin Trencsényi, a freelance dramaturg and president of the Dramaturgs’ Network, explains, “there are no productions without dramaturgy. But there may well be productions without a dramaturg”.

What an experienced dramaturg might bring to the table, adding to the talent pool of the rest of the creative team, she says, is “sensibility, practical knowledge of theatre and strong intellectual ability”. It’s no coincidence that so many of the dramaturgs working today came into the profession by indirect routes, such as through directing, writing and acting, and that a large proportion of them perform other roles in the business alongside the work they do as dramaturgs.

Sarah Dickenson, Senior Reader at Soho Theatre, has worked as a dramaturg on a wide range of different productions, from new writing to dance. She stresses that “dramaturgy is always situational”, in that the role of the dramaturg on any given project depends on the specifics of the work and the different skills of the people involved. For her, the heart of the process is “exploring what will make a piece of work successful theatrically”.

That process may occur as a way of preparing a piece of writing for production, long before it has been picked up by a creative team, or it may happen as part of bringing that work to the stage. Either way, in the case of a piece of work by a living writer, Campbell believes that “the dramaturg’s key skill is being able to talk to writers without annoying them too much, without making them abandon their play, without confusing them to the point where they can’t continue to write it because they’re being pulled in all sorts of directions”.

Duška Radosavljević, a freelance dramaturg and lecturer in drama at the University of Kent, identifies that very often the dramaturg can be at his or her most effective when engaging as an outsider to the rehearsal process. She explains that after initial pre-production meetings with the creative team, she might only come into rehearsal on a couple of occasions.

“The dramaturg’s role is of someone who understands intimately what’s going on in the process but at the same time isn’t immersed in the process to the same extent as the other makers of the piece. So they can retain that position of being on the outside, which can be a source of constructive criticism. At the same time the dramaturg can be the first audience member in the process and therefore represent the perspective of the audience before the audience is allowed into the piece.”

When it comes to the kinds of theatre that might benefit from the input of a dramaturg, it is generally acknowledged that certain genres, such as devised work and dance, tend to give dramaturgs greater opportunity for wider ranging creative involvement, looking after a show’s overarching narrative, for example.

That said, our experts agree that there’s no fixed rule as to what works and what doesn’t. “I don’t want to prescribe dramaturgy for every company, director or choreographer”, says Trencsényi, “that would be wrong. Because there are companies and directors who feel they could benefit from the work and they are the ones that should work with dramaturgs. It’s as simple as that”.

Find out more about the Dramaturgs’ Network, an organisation committed to developing dramaturgy and supporting practitioners’ development.

New Play Development in Italy

Margaret Rose was kind enough to serve as a guest columnist in the latest issue of ScriptForward!, where gives us insight into new play development in Italy.

Margaret is a Scottish national who works as a professor in Milan, and actively pursues her career as a playwright in the UK and on the continent.

You can download the article here: Margaret Rose’s Article on New Play Development in Italy – SF! #26


When Anne Hamilton wrote to me, asking for a short piece dealing with “the new play development process in Italy”, I immediately translated the word ‘process’ into a very definite plural. While Italy this year is celebrating 150 years as a single nation state, in many fields any sense of unity is still tenuous. Theatre and contemporary playwriting are no exceptions to this rule.

Associations for the support and development of playwriting are fairly recent and and thin on the ground. Teatro delle Donne. Centro Nazionale di Drammaturgia (Women’s Theatre. National Centre of Playwriting), founded in Florence in 1991, includes an archive for plays written by women (today numbering nearly 1,000). It also runs a cutting- edge theatre season at the Teatro Comunale Manzoni in Calenzano and in 2004 writer Dacia Maraini set up a National School of Playwriting at the theatre…

Paule Constable’s Design Approach: A Painterly Approach to Lighting and Language

Paule Constable knows when she’s working at her best: “I’m happiest when the lighting and the emotional language of a piece become one.”The UK resident has been a key creative designer on several of this year’s most lauded productions and recently the proud recipient of the 2011 Tony (R) Award for Best Lighting of A Play for WAR HORSE (Lincoln Center Theatre).

She made her mark in 1992 with a groundbreaking design for Theatre de Complicite’s STREET OF CROCODILES, the first show lit by a woman at the National Theater, which toured the world. In 2005, after years of nominations, she became the first female lighting designer to win the Olivier Award (HIS DARK MATERIALS, National Theater) and promptly made it a triple, winning again in 2006 for DON CARLOS (West End), then again in 2009 for THE CHALK GARDEN (Donmar Warehouse).

“My approach is about telling the story,” she says. “I work between the director and the designer to realise the world of both. My job is to create an image out of darkness and then add light for the actors. That painterly approach has influenced a generation of theater artists. What I love most is watching actors rehearse. All I do is heighten the architecture around them to release what they can do.”

Please check the blog in mid-July to hear a podcast of Paule on TheatreNow!