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How Migrant Theatre Artists Use Multilingualism to Imagine Alternative Pasts, Present(s), and Futures

When:We 06-03-2024 18:00 - 20:00
Where:Exposition Room, Harmonie Building, Oude Kijk in Het Jatstraat 26, 9712 EK Groningen
Kasia Lech
Kasia Lech (UvA)

In Europe, most theatre companies are primarily focused on one language, and usually only perform in the languages spoken in that country. However, theatre that uses multiple languages has also played an important role in the history of European theatre. Multilingual theatre is becoming important again for several reasons, such as the recognition of minority languages, changing attitudes towards people with disabilities, globalisation, migration, and the possibilities brought by new technologies.

In these situations, artists reflect on questions regarding differences between people. How can theatres in Europe demonstrate how people are different? How can they reflect on those differences? How can they encourage people to think differently about others? And how can theatres show that there is more than just 'us' and 'them'?

During this lecture, we will primarily discuss multilingual theatre created by people who have moved to another country. We will discuss how theatre makers use different languages to tell stories differently, to advocate for things they believe in, and to show how they think the future should look.

This lecture will be in English.
Free admission, no registration required.

Speaker biography

Kasia Lech, who has obtained a PhD from University College Dublin, is a scholar, actress, storyteller, dramaturg and puppeteer with twenty years of experience in conservatoire and university teaching in the UK, Ireland, Poland and the Netherlands. She published Dramaturgy of Form: Performing Verse in Contemporary Theatre (Routledge, 2021) which received excellent reviews for its content, critical quality and decolonisation in relation to lyricism. Her second book, Multilingual Dramaturgies: Towards New European Theatre, will soon be published by Palgrave. She is currently researching how marginalised artists' responses to socio-political-cultural contexts can have a global impact. Kasia is also part of funded research projects on mapping Polish migrant theatre worldwide, on historical and current violence in Polish theatre, and on creating multilingual European theatre companies that engage with young audiences. Kasia has performed internationally and co-founded Polish Theatre Ireland, a multilingual theatre company based in Dublin. She is executive director at, a global theatre portal that aims to decolonise theatre criticism. She currently coordinates the Translation Adaptation Dramaturgy working group at the International Federation for Theatre Research.

Speaker biography

This is a lecture is a part of a lecture series about the impact of theatre.
The lecture series put a spot on recent publications and challenging ideas by theatre and performance scholars and practitioners. It aims to inform students and colleagues, besides our curriculum, about cutting-edge theatre praxis and research, including different approaches, methods and recently published works. A specific focus, which the theatre section shares, is on socially and politically engaged theatre practices and dramaturgies: how does theatre and the performing arts respond to pressing societal issues, and can they have an impact? In these lecture series, we welcome the debate.
Supported by ICOG, and the department of Arts, Culture and Media.

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