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International Contemporary Theatre Platform

The initiative for this ''International Platform'' came from the German section of the International Theatre Institute and its director, Martin Roeder-Zerndt. Thomas Engel was in charge of co-ordination. It includes five main countries: Germany, Finland, Great Britain, France and Luxembourg.
It places translators at the centre of a process of play exchanges. Translators in four of the countries - Germany, Finland, Great Britain and France - proposed two contemporary plays from their ''national'' repertory to their colleagues and partners abroad. Each play was then translated into three other languages (for instance, the two German plays were translated into French, English and Finnish; the two Finnish plays were translated into German, French and English, etc).
In each of the four countries, the translating work on the ''national'' plays was undertaken in workshops with translators of the same language, although the complete translation of the plays was entrusted to one translator. This was the first phase of the Platform project.
The first workshop was organised around two German plays, Helges Leben by Sybille Berg and Täglich Brot by Gesine Dankwart, during the Mülheim Festival in May-June 2001. It brought together translators from the German language from more than ten countries, including the three translators who were partners in the project (Pascal Paul-Harang for France, Ella Wildridge for Great Britain and Jukka-Pekka Pajunen for Finland).
The workshop around the two British plays, A Listening Heaven by Torben Betts and Dream Train by Tom Mc Grath, was held in Norwich from 26 July to 2 August 2001 (French translator: Philippe Loubat-Delranc).
The work around the two French plays, Les Pas Perdus by Denise Bonal and Pleine Lune by Rémi de Vos, took place at the Mousson d'été run by Michel Didym during the last week of August (German translator: Almut Lindner; British translator: Ella Wildridge; Finnish translator: Reita Loutnavuori).
The two Finnish plays, Tella ei ollut nimia by Reko Lundan and Kuningatar K. by Laura Ruohonen, were worked on in Helsinki during the last week of September (French translator: Anne Colin du Terrail).
The four workshops were led respectively by Heinz Schwarzinger, Penny Black, Laurent Muhleisen and Jukka Pekka Pajunen, and supported by the following organisations: IIT Deutschland, the British Center for Literary Translation, the Maison Antoine Vitez and the Finnish Theatre Information Bureau.
The second phase of the project will involve readings of all eight plays in each country and in Luxembourg (six translations and two plays in the original language per country). The readings are scheduled to take place during the year 2002. In France the readings will be held during the Festival d'Avignon at La Chartreuse from 21?28 July. They are intended to be financed by European funds (Directorate General of Education and Culture, Brussels)
The third phase involves producing one translated play from each partner country with European funds. To date the partner theatres of the ''International Platform'' are the Schauspiel in Bonn, the Théâtre national du Luxembourg, and the KOM teatteri in Helsinki. In addition, there are other theatre institutions such as the Festival d'Avignon, the Mülheim Festival, the Tampere Festival (Finland) and the Bonner Biennal.
The fourth phase involves presenting the productions in the plays' native countries in 2003.
In the last phase, anthologies of the translated plays will be published in each of the four countries - Germany, France, Great Britain and Finland - along with a notebook of the translators' work (and possibly a CDRom).
The last two phases are also to be co-financed by the European Community.
The ''International Platform'' project, begun in May 2001, is scheduled to be completed by December 2003.

Laurent Muhleisen, director of the Maison Antoine Vitez