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Drama Quorum Seminar Series: Margherita Laera – 30th November 2016

30th November 2016 @ 6:00 pm - 8:00 pm


Quorum is a series of research seminars in the drama department at Queen Mary. All events are free and open to everyone. Drinks and snacks provided. Arts One building, RR2.

Continuing our themes of capital and imperialism, we welcome Dr. Margherita Laera.


A Theatre of/for Europe: Giorgio Strehler and the Dream of a United Continent

This talk examines the work of Giorgio Strehler as a director, artistic director, ideologue and politician from his theatrical beginnings in the 1940s to his untimely death in 1997, fifty years after he founded the Piccolo Teatro in Milan. My analysis will focus not so much on Strehler’s stage aesthetics, but on his ideas and political engagement through programming, organising, writing, parliamentary activities and cultural leadership. I will investigate the historical and social context in which Strehler operated, assessing his conception of theatre as political battleground and as nourishment for the (European) soul, and his efforts to put into practice his utopian dream of a unified Europe based not only on free markets and consumerism, but on a rich shared cultural heritage. Strehler’s ‘humanist’ idea of Europe and the ‘European Man’ – and theatre’s role in co-constructing it – will be dissected and re-evaluated here in all its modernist and essentialist purport. From the Piccolo Teatro’s links with the European scene, to Strehler’s direction of the Odéon – Théâtre de l’Europe in Paris, to the establishment of the Union des Théâtres de l’Europe (UTE), his efforts towards ‘democratisation’, internationalisation and exchange among European theatre-makers and audiences, this chapter offers a critique of Strehler’s ideological message and legacy.

I ask what remains of Strehler’s dreams in a European and British context hit by the most profound crisis since the Second World War, where Strehler’s own pioneering efforts to manufacture what I will call a ‘theatre of/for Europe’ through dialogue and cultural exchange have ended up feeding the market-oriented machine of the European festival circuit as a new transnational establishment.

Margherita Laera is a Lecturer in Drama and Theatre at the University of Kent, Canterbury, where she is the Director of the European Theatre Research Network based in the School of Arts. She is the recipient of an AHRC Leadership Fellowship for the project Translation, Adaptation, Otherness: ‘Foreignisation’ in Theatre Practice (2016–18). Margherita is the author of the monograph Reaching Athens: Community, Democracy and Other Mythologies in Adaptations of Greek Tragedy (Peter Lang, 2013) and editor of Theatre and Adaptation: Return, Rewrite, Repeat (Bloomsbury, 2014). Margherita is the Senior Book Reviews Editor for CUP’s Theatre Research International. The talk she presents at Quorum is an excerpt from a chapter commissioned by Bloomsbury Methuen Drama for the series Great Stage Directors, edited by Simon Shepherd.


30th November 2016
6:00 pm - 8:00 pm
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