Representations of the Other

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Description

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Background and initiation of the project

This current project is inspired by our experience of launching and working on an innovativene Hungarian- language theatre periodical focussing on the cross-cultural theatre phenomenon in the unique context of Hungarian minority theatres in Central and Eastern Europe.

Since 2012, around this periodical has grown a community of academics, theatre professionals, artists and researchers conceiving, writing and editing Játéktér/Playing Area and creating a platform for new discourses. Our interest, as a new theatre journal lies within the context of the Hungarian minority theatre in Romania and its divers theatrical practices and interactions with the majority, Romanian culture and theatrical forms. Situated on the borderline between the Hungarian and Romanian theatrical tradition, these theatres could be prime examples of cultural interferences and various cross-cultural practices. New approaches, theories and debates have emerged, often across disciplines, through the publications so far, giving voice to such under-represented areas of study in the region as: Translation Studies, Cultural Translation, Translation and Identity, and the wider issue of Minority Theatre.

Some examples of topics that have been touched on so far: alternative theatres in Bristol, community performance initiatives in Toronto, the phenomenon of translating languages and cultures in the theatre and reaching out to studies and books published all over the world in the topic of cross-cultural theatre. The autumn issue is dedicated to all 30 Hungarian minority theatres, companies and institutions that exist in four countries: Romania, Slovakia, Serbia and Ukraine.

Stages of the project
Time frame: 1st September 2013- 1st September 2016

The project is conceived as a process of three interdependent steps that mutually reinforce and feed into each other, growing into a spiral of theatrical experience and knowledge creation.

1. RESEARCH AND DATABASE: data-collection, followed by research and theory formation around the new concepts rose throughout the practice and experience of cross-cultural collaboration. A questionnaire of 10 fixed questions devised by theatre professionals, sociologists and researchers is prepared for artists and theatre professionals with experience in cross-cultural theatre making that is followed by a free thorough interview. Methods of oral history are used. The database extends according to the number of artists and communities involved and serves as object to further research and theory formation in several disciplines and even for research across disciplines. Hence, organically connecting the workshop phases of the project (as research output and theories are shared, discussed and internalized by practitioners), and the social engagement phase in which this knowledge is explored by the communities themselves.
Responsible for data collection: Sisso ARTNER.
Responsible for research: Ildikó UNGVÁRI ZRÍNYI and Szabolcs MUSCA.

2. WORKSHOPS: workshops for artists, critics, dramaturgs and other professionals interested in theatre and performance, followed by a series of publications in two main subjects: critical writing and actors’ work.

Critics’ Workshops are led by senior critics, writers and essayists of each community and attended by students and young critics, dramaturgs and so forth of the communities involved. The aim of the workshop is to capture and describe phenomena of cross-cultural
theatre practice and explore various questions and issues around the topic.
Actors’ Workshop: leading artists – stage directors, choreographers, actors’ teachers – lead the workshops.

Participants of each workshop might be interviewed and the results of the workshop’s can be assessed by participants of the Critics’ Workshops. This way both Critics’ Workshops and Actors’ Workshop can be interlinked and they both refer back to the first stage: the database and theory formation.
Responsible for Critics’ Workshop: Rita SEBESTYÉN.
Responsible for Actors’ Workshop: Kinga KELEMEN.

3. SOCIAL ENGAGEMENT: finding ways of disseminating, exploring the knowledge  researching new ways of reaching out to the members of these communities through new theatrical means. Each partner should find their own method and a flexible way of communication towards their own communities according to their needs and cultural contexts. The social engagement phase of the project is also related to both of the previous stages of the project.
Responsible for Social Engagement phase: Lilla PROICS.
Responsible for translations throughout each stage of the project: Andrea GYÖRGY.
Socio-cultural climate, theatrical traditions (and the exchanges between these), national theatrical canons and actual theatre making are the focus of this project, thus working methods involve all kinds of transmissions, interpretation and sharing of languages, values, narratives and provide opportunity for participants to expand their research and working area by combining several fields of research across disciplines, e.g. : theatre studies: theatre aesthetics and theatre history; anthropology; ethnography; philosophy; sociology; psychology; cross-cultural approaches; communications; political studies, translation, adaptation and dramaturgy.
As an independent project that has come to life through a civic initiative, Representations of the Other is committed to transparent communication and working methods and wishes to offer equal rights and working conditions for all participants and partners. Therefore, all communities involved in the project are encouraged to promote and share their own cultural, social and religious identities.

Project management structure
Initiator and responsible for project management: Játéktér /Playing Area Association.
Host for workshops, symposia and conferences: GroundFloor Group.

GroundFloor Group is an NGO from Cluj-Napoca, Romania, member of independent contemporary art space: Fabrica de Pensule. As a project-based company it produces the work of director and choreographer Ferenc Sinkó: Divas (2011), post.sync (2010), Message (2009) and sunset (2007). Mixing art forms and thinking interdisciplinary between theatre, dance, video and music, these performances had been presented in Műcsarnok – Kunsthalle – Budapest (2012), Bakelit MAC – Budapest (2012), Temps D’Image Festival (2010, 2011), Romanian Platform of Contemporary Performing Arts (2011), Balkan Dance Platform (2011), Osijek Summer Festival (2011) and Restart (Bucharest, 2007). GroundFloor Group is the producer of Trans-Contact, an International Contact Improvisation Festival in Romania, where more than 50 international teachers had been contributing to the professional development of over 530 participants (performers and non performers) and the growth of CI community in Romania. As part of this community work, GroundFloor Group also organizes dance and theatre workshops during the year, and had guest teachers as: Alexey Levinskiy (Ru), Cosmin Manolescu (Ro), David Zinder (Is), Katja Mustonen (Fi), Heike Kuhlmann (Ge), Ulla Makinnen (Fi), Tal Avni (Is) etc. More information at http://www.groundfloor.ro.

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