mentorship archive

the journey so far!

Since launching the programme in 2016, we’ve mentored nineteen translators, working from a wide range of languages including Dutch, Hungarian and Japanese.

Together we’ve explored plays from around the globe and showcased these to new audiences. It’s been a wonderful journey and we can’t wait to see where future editions will take us!

STOP PRESS: Applications for the 6th edition of our mentorship programme open on Tuesday 12 March 2024 – find out more here.

showcase image © Luca Migliore, featuring Irene Panni

The Foreign Affairs Translator Mentorship is set up in collaboration with translator Paul Russell Garrett, Roland Glasser and William Gregory.

The inaugural edition of the mentoring programme kicks off (on the eve of the Brexit vote!) with translators working from Croatian, Hungarian and Swedish.

In September we take our first step into the world of translation, when we’re invited to give an introduction to the mentorship at International Translation Day at the British Library.

In December, we produce our first ever Theatre Translation Showcase at Above the Arts in London’s West End.

workshop images © Luca Migliore

The second edition of the mentoring programme is launched with translators working from Japanese, Finish and Mandarin Chinese.

We continue our venture into the world of translation by presenting our mentoring programme at the Out of the Wings Festival. Later that year, we’re invited to the closing plenary at the International Translation Day festivities at the British Library, talking all things theatre in translation.

November sees the first ‘mentorship play’ produced by the company: The Unburied. The Saint of Darkness (Temetetlenek. A sötétség szentje) by András Visky, translated by Jozefina Komporaly, supported by Arts Council England and the Romanian Cultural Institute.

showcase image © Luca Migliore, featuring Sachi Lovatt

In January we produce the second showcase at the Rose Lipman Building – our home in east London, merging the company’s site-found performance practice with our translation work.

We launch the third edition of the mentorship with translators working from German, French and Spanish (Colombia).

In October, Co-Artistic Director Trine Garrett travels to the US to present the mentoring programme at the American Literary Translators Association’s annual conference – ALTA41: Performance, Props and Platforms.

rehearsal image © Luca Migliore, featuring cast & creative team (howling like wolves)

Alongside past participants Jozefina Komporaly and Valentina Marconi, we take part in the Brexit Stage Left Conference at the Royal Central School of Speech and Drama, sharing the journey of the programme and key milestones.

Once again, the Rose Lipman Building serves as the backdrop for the third edition of our Theatre Theatre Translation Showcase.

After running the mentorship three years in a row, we make the decision to run the programme biannually. Other training opportunities for translators will continue to run regularly.

In July, supported by Language Acts and Worldmaking, we present a rehearsed reading of another ‘mentorship play’, Unterstadt – A story of an Osijek Family (Unterstadt – roman jedne osječke obitelji), based on a novel by Ivana Šojat, translated by Valentina Marconi.

to zoom or not to zoom …

Shortly before the UK goes into its first national lockdown in response to the coronavirus pandemic, the fourth edition of the programme is announced.

Foreign Affairs announces that the mentoring programme will go ahead in a digital format, allowing for participants outside the UK to take part.

The fourth edition of the programme kicks off with translators working from Dutch (Flanders), Levantine Arabic (Syria), Latvian, Portuguese (Brazil), German and Spanish.

The Foreign Affairs Theatre Translator Lab (FATT Lab) has lift-off. A stand-alone sequel to the mentoring programme.

The Foreign Affairs Theatre Translation Showcase is presented in the land of Zoom.

The FATT Lab continues to go from strength to strength, evolving into a creative community of practice with a shared vision of bringing outstanding world theatre to English speaking audiences.

After nearly two years on hold, we present the UK (and world) premiere of Where I Call Home (Gens du pays) by Marc-Antoine Cyr, translated by Charis Ainslie at our home, the Rose Lipman Building, in east London.

production image © Tim Morozzo, featuring Sammy Attalah

The fifth edition of the programme launches with translators working from Norwegian, Hungarian, Spanish (Mexico) and Italian.

Building on the success of our online edition, this year’s programme takes a hybrid approach, combining virtual and in-person learning sessions and workshops.

Later that year, we proudly present The Wetsuitman, another mentorship play, for its UK premiere, following its successful debut by The Cherry Arts in Ithaca, NY as part of a rolling premiere. Transforming the Rose Lipman Building into an immersive promenade experience, with one critic calling the production ‘innovative and memorable theatre.’

production image © Tim Morozzo, featuring Youness Bouzinab, Eugenia Low and David Djemal

showcase image © CF Photography

The mentorship showcase makes a triumphant return to live performances – yay! – captivating audiences at Camden’s People Theatre for two unforgettable evenings. Friends, family, industry professionals and cultural partners join in the celebration!

We’re thrilled to announce that we’ve secured funding from the Jerwood Foundation for the 6th edition of the mentorship, with applications opening in early 2024.

In August, The Wetsuitman is brought back to life at Arcola Theatre, one of London’s most popular venues, drawing near-full houses every night.

Foreign Affairs announces that applications for the 6th editions open on Tuesday 12 March.

To be continued …

past editions

we are warriors

by Monica Isakstuen
translate by Lise Lærdal Bryn

In a polyphonic discourse filled with both brutal conflict and tender compassion, We Are Warriors is about abuse and love; about knowing oneself; and about what we owe one another.

Original title: Vi Er Krigere
Language: Norwegian

with me on her lap

by Zsófia Znajkay
translated by Veronika Haacker-Lukacs

Mum. Dad. Boy. A loving family. Or maybe not that loving? Mum wishes you to be somewhere else. To not be at all. You grow up to become the person to decide who’s to be and who isn’t.

Original title: Az ölében én
Language: Hungarian

firefly love

by Alejandro Ricaño Rodríguez
translated by Tonya Walton

A magical, modern and transparent account of love, life, and a search for answers; Firefly Love takes us on a fast paced and at times, unexpected, journey of self discovery.

Original title: El Amor de las Luciérnagas
Language: Spanish (Mexico)

suburban miracles

by Marco Young
translated by Tonya Walton

The sewers are overflowing. The streets are covered in shit. Chef Plinio and his ragtag employees struggle to survive. But growing far-right sentiment puts some at greater risk than others.

Original title: Miracoli Metropolitani
Language: Italian

black swans

by Christina Kettering
translated by Pauline Wick

Two sisters, their mother, and a robot. What is the essence of humanity when artificial intelligence acts more human than us? Witty and imaginative, Black Swans explores our responsibilities in the age of individualism.

Original title: Schwarze Schwäne
Language: German

hide & seek

by Shadi Kiwan
translated by Deema Al-Mohammad

In Damascus, overlooking Mount Qasioun from a dilapidated studio apartment, five friends play hide and seek with each other as they navigate love, friendship, and the violence of the Syrian civil war that tore them apart.

Original title: Tammemeh
Language: Levantine Arabic

ladies

by Justīne Kļava
translated by Ieva Lākute

Three generations of women try to assert their independence from each other, while sharing a flat in a decrepit district of the post-Soviet city of Riga.

Filled with tragicomic moments, Ladies is a story about love, independence … and meatballs.

Original title: Dāmas
Language: Latvian

thirst

by Alejandro Butrón Ibáñez
translated by Katherine Walker

What happens when we truly let someone in, when we tell our loved ones our deepest and darkest secrets?

Thirst explores one couple navigating the stigma of a confession. This play addresses one of society’s biggest taboos and forces the audience to consider their response.

Original title: Sed
Language: Spanish

speak quietly, or i’ll scream

by Leilah Assumpção
translated by Isobel Foxford

When a stranger breaks into her home, a woman undertakes a winding imaginary journey through the city at night, fantasising about a life beyond society’s expectations.

A classic of Brazilian theatre, Speak Quietly, Or I’ll Scream has been staged extensively over the years. Shortly after its première, it received the Molière Award.

Original title: Fala Baixo, Senão eu Grito
Language: Portuguese (Brazil)

the wetsuitman

by Freek Mariën
translated by David McKay

A Nordic noir on the surface, The Wetsuitman takes you through a succession of characters and insights to its emotional core: the intimate story of a family and their loss.

Winner of the international Kaas & Kappes prize 2020 for the best youth theatre from Dutch and German-speaking countries.

Original title: The Wetsuitman
Language: Dutch (Flanders)

where i call home

by Marc-Antoine Cyr
translated by Charis Ainslie

Where I Call Home is a play about racism, identity and what it is to be French (or British, with a few changes). School teacher Kevin has never had such a “colourful” class, so he’s come up with the idea of “The Big Project” – getting to know each other. His partner, a police officer, is holding a suspect – a minor, who claims he hasn’t done anything. He just wants to go home to his mum, to a place where his identity is not in question. But he’s growing fur, his teeth are becoming pointed … and the wolves are calling him …

Original title: Gens du pays
Language: French

man alive

by Franz Xaver Kroetz
translated by Iwona Luszowicz

This play concerns mini-tragedies: a man unable to ask his boss for his favourite pen back; a woman standing at the supermarket checkout without enough money; a son telling his father he’d rather be dead than turn out like him. Through the small events of everyday life, Xaver Kroetz creates an exploration of human purpose, and the balance between living for others and living for ourselves.

Original title: Mensch Meier
Language: German

asian souvenir

by Martha Márquez
translated by Santiago Godoy Giraldo

The play explores the theme of migration; it’s a collection of stories of people from all around the world who are war victims, asylum seekers or have left their homelands in search of a better life. The play takes place is a series of containers at the port of a fictional city in which, on arrival, an unspecified newcomer becomes the witness of each one of these stories. Based on real events, Asian Souvenir offers a closer look at the particular situation of the human beings involved in this global and immensely relevant subject.

Original title: Souvenir Asiático
Language: Spanish

the night of ten people

by Gu Le
translated by Lani Calvert

The play is set in a large Asian city, such as Beijing, Shanghai, Tokyo or Seoul. It is never specified which city it is portraying. The play tells the story of a magician who works in a nightclub. On his nightly walk home, he passes many different members of society; a vegetable seller, a beggar, a hopeless writer. Their stories become part of his dreams, and his dreams become entangled with reality. The play displays Chinese culture in a creative way and the dialogue provides a realistic representation of Chinese life. Gu Lei told critics that the characters in the play are based on people he has encountered in real life, and that they are each supposed to represent a stereotype present in society.

Original title: 十个人的夜晚
Language: Mandarin Chinese

tenshu-tale

by Izumi Kyoka
translated by Nozomi Abe

Tenshu Tale is a Japanese play published in 1917 by 泉鏡花 Izumi Kyoka (1873-1939), a playwright who has been described as the ‘Japanese Edgar Allan Poe’ or the ‘father of Gothic tales’. It is set on the top floor of Himeji castle where there is believed to be an entrance to ‘the other world’. Tomi-Hime, the monster princess who reigns this strange world, falls in love with a human falconer, however, what they have in front of them is nothing but obstacles.

Original title: 天守物語
Language: Japanese

famine

by Marie Kajava
translated by Liisa Muinonen-Martin

Famine explores hunger as a form of suffering prevalent in both developing and developed nations. Famine was staged by Helsinki’s Teatteri Takomo and is due to be translated into Swedish and adapted into a radio play for the Finnish Broadcasting Company Yle. In its review, Finnish daily Helsingin Sanomat wrote: ‘The questions the play raises may not be new, but playwright Marie Kajava’s multi-faceted and strictly ascetic approach makes it into a powerful viewing experience’. A critic for Hufvudstadsbladet, the Swedish-language daily, noted: ‘Marie Kajava’s masterful play exposes the West’s inability to tackle crises that don’t affect it directly’.

Original title: Nälänhätä
Language: Finnish

the unburied. the saint of darkness

by András Visky
translated by Jozefina Komporaly

Mother Theresa is the central figure of Visky’s The Unburied. The Saint of Darkness, an allegory of her life that draws parallels between her sense of vocation and Antigone’s sense of duty to bury her brother. The play connects the two figures through their need to bury the dead, but also to care for the genuinely needy ‘sea of unburied bodies’.

Original title: Temetetlenek. A sötétség szentje
Language: Hungarian

to damascus

by August Strindberg
translated by Siân Mackie

Strindberg’s To Damascus documents the Stranger’s circular journey to the brink of despair and back, as he moves from disillusionment, loneliness and nihilism to a position where he attempts to look towards the light and accept the kindness of those around him.

Original title: Till Damaskus
Language: Swedish

unterstadt – the story of an osijek family

based on a novel by Ivana Šojat, adapted for the stage by Zlatko Sviben
translated by Valentina Marconi

Guided by an old family friend following the death of her estranged mother, Ivana Šojat’s Unterstadt sees Katarina embark on a journey through her family’s history. Family ghosts from her recent and remote past reveal their destinies shedding light on her own origin as a member of the German national minority in Croatia. This story of four generations of women living through the 20th century addresses civil rights, cultural identity and collective guilt.

Original title: Unterstadt – roman jedne osječke obitelji
Language: Croatian

black swans

by Christina Kettering
Translated by Pauline Wick

Would you trust a robot to take care of your elderly mother?

Two sisters face a difficult decision: how to best care for their elderly mother as her health declines. Rosie, a humanoid care robot, seems like the perfect solution. But soon they have to reckon with the unforeseen consequences of bringing an artificial intelligence into their lives.

23 April - 11 May at Omnibus Theatre