Jan, Izabela and Becka – working on the translation



We’re working on The Winter’s Tale in three languages – English, Czech and Polish, and trying to incorporate all three into the overall story telling. It’s a fascinating process to see how the shifting between languages can not only perform the principal function of keeping audiences up to speed with the narrative, but can also have a dramatic function. We’ve associated our two countries – Poland and the Czech Republic – with the Sicilia and Bohemia of Shakespeare’s text, so that immediately gives a focus to who speaks what language. And of course we need to work with the language skills of our participants – it’s quite humbling to work with community participants who can switch with some facility from Czech to English and then Polish, while the creative team muddle along in one language.

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We love to discover. Discovering means looking for purpose and meaning, finding the new and interesting. Discovering means excitement, thrill and joy. Theatrelands are the lands of wonders, of suspense and mystery, of love and tragedy, of life with its true emotions.

We are a team. Six cultural organisers cooperating in a network of Shakespeare Festivals. With this project we want to give art to people, provide experience, show new directions and opportunities, and encourage our audience to discover new theatrelands.

In the European Union the most visible signs of unification are those of legal, political and economic nature. In spite of all the differences, the member countries have truly become union of nations, or are at least on the way towards unity. However, the cultural and artistic traditions, stemming from different languages, histories and experiences, are perhaps the hardest to bring together and to be recognized as important contributions to the past and present European culture. We understand culture as the ways in which humans describe the world around them, and the mediums or tools of description may be verbal (such as literature in its broad sense), or non-verbal (such as architecture, music or dance). One of the unique ways in which humans describe the world is theatre, which we treat as a medium that unites practically all other mediums of artistic expression, literature (drama), acting, dance, stage and costume design, music and – in recent years – body-art, video-art, computer-art, installations, performance-art and the like. Particular theatre achievements in European member-states, especially in the new ones, are not necessarily known outside. Language is perhaps one of the barriers, but the most important is the mobility and the dissemination of information about the artistic quality and traditions in the media, educational systems etc.

This is why, we are proposing a project that will bring together practitioners, students and theorists of theatre, using Shakespeare as the center of our artistic and educational activities. We strongly believe that Shakespeare is an European author, and his works have been translated into all European languages and have become part of educational systems in every country. This does not mean that we are dealing with one author: we have different Shakespeares, depending on the language that is being used, the theatre director, casting, design, music, lights etc. A particular production of any Shakespearean play does not only tell us a story about and old king and his three daughters, or a Danish prince, but tells a lot about the present day director who has been brought up in the cultural environment and the tradition of his/her culture, not to mention his/her individual idiosyncrasy and talent. It is through this particular production that the discussion of native artistic/theatrical tradition is made possible. For many Europeans it might be a revelation to discover how theatre has wonderfully developed in countries like Romania or Poland, or to discover how far away from the bourgeois tradition the present-day German theatre has moved. This is why we have labeled our project “Discovering Theatrelands”, for we strongly believe that through art and theatre in particular we can broaden our knowledge and appreciation of different cultures and different traditions.