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Saturday, December 16, 2017

Call for Submissions: Global Queer Playwriting/Queer Plays in Translation

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In 2018, the Arcola Queer Collective will present its fourth annual season of theatre and performance.  In 2017, we presented forgotten and rediscovered plays from queer theatre history, from Mae West’s effervescent The Drag, and a new re-imagining of Edouard Bourdet‘s La Prisonnière, to a series of plays from the activist queer theatre of the UK in the 1970s and 80s.

For 2018, we want to discover and share how queer lives are depicted and lived – and how queer stories are told – in theatre around the world.  We will stage four rehearsed readings of queer plays in translation and from parts of the world that are currently less represented on the LGBT+ stages of London.  While we welcome the increase in LGBT+ theatre in the UK in recent years, most of this theatre has represented English-language voices from the English-speaking West.  We know there is a big queer world out there and we want to learn more about it.

To achieve this, we are putting out a call to all translators and playwrights who have a play to share.  Until December 25th, we are inviting you to send us plays that tell these global stories and open our eyes to the queer world in all its breadth and variety.  They can be any length, from any period, and with any number of characters, and must be in, or translated into, English.

The four plays will be selected by a panel of our members and performed in the spring as rehearsed readings by members of the queer collective.

If you have a play that you would like to share with us, please send it to us at nick@arcolatheatre.com by December 25th 2017, along with a short synopsis and a 100 words stating why the play would be a great fit for this mini-festival.

We are looking for any play that deals with queer lives, but in particular we welcome texts that tell the stories of less-represented groups.  We are very conscious that the LGBT+ community is itself very diverse, so we especially welcome plays that show this diversity and tell stories that explore issues such as intersectionality and the queer experience within a range of settings that audiences might not otherwise see.

We look forward to receiving your play.

Note to translators and writers:  if you are submitting a play that has been translated and if the play or the translation is still under copyright, you must ensure that both the playwright and the translator (or the relevant rights-holders) give their authorisation for the translation to be submitted and to participate in this event. You must confirm when you apply that you have the permission of both the translator and the writer.


Before applying, please take a look at the questions and answers below.

Does it have to be a new play?

No.  We are looking for great global queer stories and this could include brand-new contemporary writing or a brilliant rediscovered piece from centuries ago, or anything in between.

I’m a translator and I have found a fantastic play that would be great for this project, but I haven’t translated it yet – can I still apply?

Yes.  You can send a sample translation of a scene from the play, along with a synopsis and some comments about why you think it would be a good match for this project.  If accepted, we would need you to commit to completing the translation by [date].

I’ve written a play in a language other than English – can you help me get it translated?

No.  We’re only able to accept plays that have already been translated, or a translated scene and a synopsis.  We’re not able to translate plays or to find translators for plays that have not yet been translated.

I’m a playwright with a great idea for a play, or am writing a play at the moment that I need some guidance with – can you support me in writing a play for this event?

No.  We’re looking for plays that have already been written and are not able to offer dramaturgy or a play-reading service.  There are fantastic projects supporting new writers that you might consider, such as [list, links]

I’m a playwright from a less represented part of the world, but I write in English – can I still submit my play?

Yes.  We are very aware that the ‘English-speaking world’ represented on our stages can be overwhelmingly from a small number of countries such as the UK and the US, and that there are large areas of the English-speaking world which are almost completely unrepresented by the LGBTQ plays that are staged in our city.

I’m a playwright with an idea for a queer adaptation of a classic play – can I submit this sort of ‘translation’?

No.  We are looking to hear the voices of global playwrights so are not looking in this project for, for example, a queer reimagining of The Cherry Orchard or similar.  As a collective, we love doing this kind of work but this particular project is not aiming to do this.

When will the readings take place?

Readings will be staged on the weekend of 3rd and 4th of March 2018 at either 1pm or 5pm each day (TBC). They will be held in one of Arcola’s rehearsal studios in our building in Dalston.

Will I be paid if my play or translation is used?

No. This is an opportunity to showcase new queer work from around the world to audiences and industry in London. Arcola Queer Collective is a volunteer-led queer community theatre company, and all actors and directors are volunteers with administration provided in-kind by the theatre. We will be charging a minimal fee to attend readings (£3) which covers the basic costs of staging the readings. As such no performance fee is available. Translator and writer will retain all rights to future production, but we will invite producers, directors and representatives from theatres across the UK to attend and we hope productions are picked up for future life.

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