One of the most radical and influential dramatists of the 20th century Bertolt Brecht used songs throughout his plays in varied and unexpected ways – halting the action, commenting on character, slicing the narrative and revealing what is yet to come in the play. 

But with much of his work now being reinterpreted and newly translated, where does this leave his songs, with their specific challenges of rhyme and rhythm, imagery and verse? 

Inspired by the collaborative approach that Brecht developed with translator Elisabeth Hauptmann and composers Kurt Weill, Hans Eisler and others, this workshop will see the translators work closely with an actor and musician to create a brand new version of one of his lesser known songs. Reflecting the diverse nature of the original compositions, the new versions will be reworked across a mix of contemporary musical genres. 

The workshop will be led by actor and teacher Jack Tarlton, who recently ran our sold-out Playing with Prose workshops, and playwright Stephen Sharkey, whose credits include a new version of Brecht’s THE RESISTIBLE RISE OF ARTURO UI for Liverpool Everyman & Playhouse and Nottingham Playhouse and who was adaptor and lyricist for Zadie Smith’s WHITE TEETH at the Kiln Theatre (full bios here). 

Taking part as actors and musicians will be Aminita Francis (FRANKENSTEIN: HOW TO MAKE A MONSTER for the Battersea Arts Centre and HIVE CITY LEGACY for The Roundhouse and Hot Brown Honey ), Jochebel Ohene MacCarthy (THE LION KING for Disney and THE COLOUR PURPLE at The Leicester Curve and Birmingham Hippodrome), Hannah Jarret-Scott (PRIDE AND PREJUDICE (*SORT OF) for The Tron Theatre and The Lyceum Edinburgh and THE WOLVES at Theatre Royal Stratford East), Michael Moreland (SUNSHINE ON LEITH for Dundee Rep and, on screen, UNDER THE SKIN) and Robert Lonsdale (STANDING AT THE SKY'S EDGE at the Sheffield Crucible and FROM HERE TO ETERNITY at the Shaftesbury Theatre, West End).

This workshop is suitable for emerging and established translators working in German and English who are keen to explore translating for the stage and poetry and song.

Workshop: 10am-5pm BST 
Performance: 6pm-8pm BST 

Participation in the workshop is free but limited to 20 places, so booking is essential.

The actors and musicians will gather for an online gig at 6pm to perform the new compositions. Attendance is free and open to all and can be booked here.

Organised by the Institute of Modern Languages Research. It is part of the Open World Research Initiative (OWRI) Cross-Language Dynamics: Reshaping Community, Translingual Strand.