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The S Word: Translating the Art/The Art of Translation

The Stanislavski Centre and University of California Riverside

In collaboration with The University of Westminster


The S Word: Translating the Art/The Art of Translation

This one-day event, conducted with leading translators and practitioners, will address the issue of the translation of dramatic and critical texts in the broadest context, and how we approach this often controversial topic today.  

The event is part of a four-year international research project, being conducted by The Stanislavski Centre and University of California Riverside, in collaboration with The University of Westminster The S Word: Stanislavski and Contemporary Theatre.


Morning session: presentations from three guest speakers who each have a different perspective on the task of translation. They will share their experiences and take questions on their work.

Afternoon session: an open forum/debate will address the many issues that face both the translators and those who use their translations: how has the role of translator changed in the digital age? Translator or co-author? How do we maintain the author's original voice? Should the translator act as a kind of editor/censor when dealing with sensitive material?

Tea/Coffee and a sandwich lunch will be provided.

Guest speakers:

Geraldine Brodie (University College London) is a Lecturer in Translation Theory and Theatre Translation at University College London. Her research centres on theatre translation practices in contemporary London, with recent publications in Contemporary Theatre Review (2014) and Authorial and Editorial Voices in Translation (Éditions Québécoises de l’Oeuvre, 2013), and in a forthcoming special issue of the Journal of Adaptation in Film and Performance, which she also co-edited with Marie Nadia Karsky. She initiated and co-convened the UCL/Gate Theatre 2013-14 Theatre Translation Forum and devised and co-convened the UCL Translation in History Lecture Series 2012-2016. Geraldine Brodie will be contributing a new entry on ‘Theatre Translation’ to the revised third edition of the Routledge Encyclopaedia of Translation Studies. She is a panel Associate of ARTIS (Advancing Research in Translation and Interpreting Studies) and was co-editor of the journal New Voices in Translation Studies 2012 - 2015. Geraldine Brodie is also a Fellow of the Institute of Chartered Accountants in England and Wales and a Chartered Tax Advisor.

Mark Stevenson (Royal Conservatoire of Scotland) is a Lecturer in Acting at the Royal Conservatoire of Scotland in Glasgow. After completing a first degree in Human Sciences from Oxford University, he pursued a career in performance, receiving his BA in Acting from the then RSAMD (now RCS), studying under Katya Kamotskaia, who was the language consultant on Jean Benedetti’s translation of An Actor’s Work. After several years in theatre, TV and film, he moved into teaching alongside his erstwhile mentor!

He has now taught at the RCS for 6 years, developing his own practice-based techniques of the Stanislavski system to different groups – ranging from weekly evening classes through to masters students. Katya and he directed a number of productions together (several of which they also translated), both in the UK and abroad (Romania, Russia, USA), have been published (The Routledge Companion to Stanisklavsky) and have spoken at several symposia. With Kamotskaia, he has also developed an interest in the teachings of Mikhail Butkevich, on which they are writing a chapter intended for publication next year.

Mark has also been instrumental in the development and implementation of a new degree for deaf performers at the RCS. As the degree is delivered both in English and in British Sign Language this has meant an exploration of Stanislavskian concepts in sign as well as working translation of playscripts. 

Noah Birksted-Breen (Sputnik Theatre) graduated with a Modern Languages degree at Oxford University, including one year studying abroad at the St. Petersburg State University. He completed an MA in Playwriting at Central School of Speech and Drama and obtained a Translation Diploma from the Institute of Linguists. In 2005, Noah founded Sputnik Theatre Company, the only British theatre company dedicated to staging contemporary Russian plays for British audiences. Sputnik has brought thirteen new Russian plays to the UK as readings and productions at venues including Soho Theatre, the Battersea Arts Centre and the Frontline Club. In 2012, Noah began a practice-based PhD on “Alternative Voices in an Acquiescent Society: the New Wave of Russian Playwrights (2000-2015)”, funded by a Collaborative Doctoral Award at Queen Mary University of London, in partnership with Theatre Royal Plymouth.

Alexa Alfer (University of Westminster) is Senior Lecturer in Translation at the University of Westminster, where she is Course leader for the MA in Specialised Translation, MA Translation and Interpreting, and MRes Translating Cultures and has taught practical translation as well as translation theory since 2002. She is also an experienced professional translator and editor, specialising in academic translation (literary criticism, philosophy, art, art history, history of medicine and science). Alexa’s research interests are informed by her background in literary studies. Alexa's research focuses on the intersections of translation theory and literary criticism. She is particularly interested in realism and its theorisations, as well as in the emerging 'translational turn' in cultural studies and the wider humanities and social sciences. Alexa is the co-author (with Amy J. Edwards) of A. S. Byatt: Critical Storytelling (Manchester UP, 2010) and is currently working on articles exploring, among other things, metaphorisations of translational action, and conceptualisations of translation as collaboration.

Anna Shulgat is a theatre scholar and translator. She graduated from St. Petersburg Theatre Arts Academy with a degree in Theatre Studies. She was also a Fulbright visiting scholar and got an MFA in Dramaturgy from the State University of New York. Anna is Research Associate at the Stanislavski Centre and Consultant Translator for Stanislavski Studies. She is a member of the Writers' Union of St. Petersburg and Advisor for the programme, Cultural Fellowships in St. Petersburg (The Likhachev Foundation). She has published over a hundred articles and essays on theatre and translation as well as 17 translated books.

The Stanislavski Centre was founded in 2007 and is based at Rose Bruford College of Theatre and Performance in Sidcup. Based upon the original concept of our former Principal, the late Professor Jean Benedetti, the Centre houses an archive of research materials, books, journals, papers and a/v materials most of which relate to Stanislavski's work as actor, director and teacher. The archive also holds more than 200 photographs of Moscow Art Theatre productions. The Centre presents a series of lectures, exhibitions, workshops and study events throughout the year. Currently, the Centre is promoting two major research projects - Contemporary Directions (exploring the changing role of the director in 21st century theatre) and The S Word: Stanislavski and Contemporary Theatre (a four-year project which launched in March this year with a major international symposium).

For further details please visit:

Places for this event are limited: £30 (full), £25 (concessions – student, unwaged, retired), which includes tea, coffee and a sandwich lunch.