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Worldwide Hamlet in Performance and Translation

26-27 April 2010

“Who’s there?” are the words which have prompted every Hamlet on stage since 1601 and on page since 1603. Who is Hamlet, the Prince?, Who’s the ghost that haunts him?, What story does Hamlet bid his friend Horatio “tell” before “the rest is silence”? are subsequent questions with which productions and translations of the play have engaged in ways that imprinted them on the cultural memory. Starting where the play ends, the seminar Worldwide Hamlet in Performance and Translation invites you to summon up Hamlets past and future and add to the Hamlet archive by telling your story of ‘Who’s there’.

Hosted by the International Shakespeare Festival, Craiova, 2010, whose seventh edition: 'Shakespeare and the New Theatricality – The Hamlet Constellation' is dedicated exclusively to the Tragedy of the Danish Prince, this seminar aims to generate a discussion on how Hamlet staged and translated has been negotiating meaning within specific historical, geographical, cultural and linguistic contexts. We welcome 15-minute contributions (in English) that relate to cultures operating in every language and period prompted by the following questions:

  1. If today Hamlet’s conventional left-right ‘political edge is blunted’ (Sinfield: 2006), what other politics – post-colonial, post-feminist, post-dramatic – are at play in contemporary performance?

  2. Within the general democratisation of Shakespeare, (how) does Hamlet remain a one man’s play (a star-vehicle for the lead actor/director)?

  3. Given that all Hamlets staged, in both amateur and professional productions, are abridged, re-located and/or appropriated, (how) does the dichotomy mainstream – adaptation operate especially in the case of subgenres such as opera, ballet, rap, pageant, puppet shows, panto?

  4. In a scholarly era which now prefers its editions of Hamlet to give equal and even separate treatment to the different early texts, what position does the First Quarto occupy when it comes to both staging and translating Hamlet?

  5. Can Hamlet be translated afresh? How do/can new translations deal with the heavy burden of tradition?

  6. Are the versions of Hamlet now seen in non-Anglophone productions translations or adaptations? Why do directors run away from ‘philological’ translations?

Nicoleta Cinpoeş – Senior Lecturer in English – Shakespeare, University of Worcester, UK

Michael Dobson – Professor of Shakespeare Studies, Birkbeck College, University of London, UK

Boika Sokolova - Reader in English, University of Notre Dame (USA) in England, London, UK

Emil Sîrbulescu – Professor of Anglo-American Studies, University of Craiova, Romania


There will be opportunity to attend some of the most innovative contemporary productions of Hamlet. Invited to perform at the festival are the Berlin Schaubuhne Theater (dir. Thomas Ostermeier), the Vilnius Municipal Theater (dir. Oskaras Korsunovas), the “Chekhov” Art Theater (MHAT) Moscow (dir. Yuri Butusov), the Wroclaw Polski Theater (dir. Monika Pecikiewicz), the Niigata Ryutopia Noh Theater, Japan (dir. by Yoshihiro Kurita), Cia des Atores of Brasil (dir. Enrique Diaz), Rideau de Bruxelles (dir. Frederic Dussene), The Factory Company, London (dir. Tim Carroll), the Street Theater Group, Korea (dir. Lee Yun-Taek), the Radu Stanca Theatre, Sibiu, Romania (dir. Radu Alexandru Nica). Also invited are Piotr Konrad’s Hamlet, an open-air monodrama, and Scott Handy's one-man show. The New York Wooster Group will present their Hamlet, directed by Elisabeth le Compte, in Bucharest, 6-9 May. To view the Festival programme click here.