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Dr Alessandra De Martino Cappuccio (Department of Italian) shares her experience of how a researcher development opportunity can lead to great things …


Article published in the December 2013 E-Newsletter for Research Active Staff from the Learning and Development Centre. Full E-Newsletter can be accessed at:

Dr Alessandra De Martino Cappuccio (Department of Italian) shares her experience of how a researcher development opportunity can lead to great things …

In 2011 I co-organised with Dr Paola Toninato, a colleague from the Italian Department, an international one-day symposium on the theatre of the margins entitled ‘Empowering Marginalised Voices in Theatre. The Case of Italy and Beyond’: The event was particularly successful as it brought together academics and theatre practitioners, who engaged in a prolific discussion on the importance of theatre in bringing to the fore sections of society which are not normally heard, and in highlighting the effectiveness of theatre in developing a civic consciousness. It must be said that it could not have been possible to organise this conference had it not been for the assistance of Sandy Sparks, from the Learning & Development Centre, and of Roberts’ Fund which provided generous financial support to the event.

However, the aftermath of the conference did not end with a long series of thank you messages from the participants, but evolved into a more ambitious idea: creating a co-edited book on the theatre of the margins. I asked Paolo Puppa, Professor of Theatre at the University Ca’ Foscari in Venice, who also had taken part in the conference, if he would be willing to be part of the enterprise, and received an enthusiastic response. So the team was ready to set to work. However, though tantalising, the project needed to fulfil a series of conditions in order to become reality. First and foremost we needed a publisher, and we needed it quickly, as we were full of enthusiasm which had spilt over from the conference!

We approached some academic journals to make a special edition, but the outlook was of a three-year waiting period. We couldn’t wait, and the prospect of a proper book was much too appealing. We were still considering all the options when Cambridge Scholars Publishing approached us, offering to publish the book, at no cost, in the record time of one year and a half from the approval of the proposal. We knew that this is a small publisher, but we also appreciated that prominent scholars had had their works published by them. Besides, we thought that a small publisher deserved a bit of encouragement!

After defining the structure of the book with the others co-editors, I took a leading role in contacting the contributors, monitoring the deadlines and liaising with the publishers. We devoted a great deal of time to the project, as we had to take care of all the editing aspects, which were not undertaken by the publishers. Besides, I had to translate into English a number of essays and two of the monologues contained in the book, which had been submitted in Italian. What is more, we had to take into account also the needs of one of the co-editors who had a very young child and therefore had limited freedom of action. However, this did not represent an impediment to the completion of the project as we all worked very closely together, supporting each other in a real team effort. We also benefitted from external help from friends and colleagues, who offered language and technical assistance, as we had to transpose onto paper an interview to the actors recorded at the conference in Italian.

In May of this year Differences on Stage was finally published:

On top of that, in August, I received the news that our book had been nominated for the prestigious 2014 George Freedley Memorial Award, part of the Theatre Library Association Book Awards. On the 25th October we had the official launch at Warwick at the School of Theatre, Performance and Cultural Policy Studies at Millburn House. Again this was a team game, as the academic presentation, led by Prof Jim Davis and introduced by Dr Silvija Jestrovic, was followed by a live recital of the three monologues contained in the volume by two extremely talented drama students, Emer McDaid and Andrew Turner, and by Paolo Puppa. The artistic performance was greatly appreciated by the varied audience made up of colleagues from other faculties and by members of the public, including six form students from a local school. In addition, on the 30th November, we have been invited by the British Council in Milan to present the book as part of their cultural initiatives. I wish to say that I am very proud of this achievement and I recommend such a fulfilling experience to everybody.

Tue 03 Dec 2013, 14:58 | Tags: Italian - News Italian - Publications Italian - Impact