Story of the Cole Foundation Mentorship for Emerging Translators

Story of the Cole Foundation Mentorship for Emerging Translators

–  by Maureen Labonté, PWM Translation Dramaturg

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How It All Began

Emma Tibaldo and I meet for lunch every now and then. It’s a way for us to stay in touch, to catch up on what the other is doing, to gossip a little, to get into a few heated discussions and to make plans. We talk dramaturgy, play development and, of course, translation. At one such lunch, way back in 2009, we ended up discussing the actual process of translating. That led us to wondering about where the next generation of translators would come from and then to a long discussion about whether translation for the stage can be taught.

Well, to make a long story short, after a few more meetings and brainstorming sessions, Emma approached Barry Cole with the idea of a competition which would encourage the development of new voices in Canadian translation. Barry liked the idea and the rest is history!! The Cole Foundation decided to support the idea and join Playwrights’ Workshop Montréal in this venture. 

What started as a Translation Unit became a Competition in 2012, then a Prize a few years later and is now a Mentorship.

How and Why It Works

Before applying for the Mentorship, emerging translators must choose the play they wish to translate and contact the playwright for permission: Establishing a connection to the play and the playwright in advance means that the applicant is already invested in the proposed work and would be in a position to begin work immediately following the announcement of the selected project.

The Translators

Playwright and librettist, Alexis Diamond, was the first winner of the Cole Competition for Emerging Translators in 2012-13. She translated Marie-Claude Verdier’s Je n’y suis plus. I’m Not Here, produced and directed by Alexis and her company Composite Theatre, was selected to be part of the 2016 Summerworks Festival in Toronto, the Voilà Festival in the United Kingdom and the BoucheWHACKED Festival in Vancouver. Alexis has not looked back! She’s gone on to translate a number of plays, including Pascal Brullemans’ TYA (Theatre for Young Audiences) play Vipérine/Amaryllis and Pascale St-Onge’s play Tarmac for the National Theatre School, and has contributed to translations for Cirque du Soleil’s latest touring show written by Olivier Kemeid. In January, she went to New Orleans with her translation of Marie-Hélène Larose-Truchon’s Minuit, Midnight.

In 2014, well-known Montreal theatre artist, Johanna Nutter, was awarded the Cole Prize. She translated Chlore, by Nicolas Michon and Florence Longpré. Chlorine was produced by Johanna’s theatre company creature/creature at Centaur Theatre in October 2016 as part of Centaur’s Brave New Look series. Since then, Johanna has translated plays by Guillaume Corbeil and Annick Lefebvre and was chosen to be part of the first CEAD-PWM Formation en traduction program.

Melissa Bull was the recipient of the 2015 Cole Foundation Competition for Emerging Translators. Her translation of Pascale Rafie’s La recette de baklawas, The Baklawa Recipe,  opened at Centaur Theatre here in Montreal in January 2018. It was directed by PWM’s Emma Tibaldo. Melissa is already working on her second translation for the stage, the award-winning Québécois play, J’accuse by Annick Lefebvre. Melissa is the editor of Maisonneuve magazine’s “Writing from Quebec” column. She has published a book of poetry, Rue, a collection of short stories, The Knockoff Eclipse, and has translated such authors as Nelly Arcan and Marie-Sissi Labrèche.

Jordan Arseneault was the 2016 recipient of the Cole Foundation Prize. He translated Eric Noel’s Faire des enfants. His translation River Bed was given a public reading at PWM in November 2017. There has been interest in the play from theatres in Toronto. Jordan is doing a Masters in Translation at McGill University.

There were two winners of the 2017-18 Mentorship Prize – John Jack Paterson and Jennie Herbin. John Jack Paterson worked on well-known Quebec playwright, Daniel Danis’ TYA play (12 and up), Kiwi. The translation was given a public reading at PWM as well as in Vancouver at the BoucheWHACKED Festival. Jennie Herbin translated Catherine Chabot’s Table rase which was a huge hit in French here in Montreal and on tour. The English production, Clean Slate, produced by Talisman Theatre had a three-week run this spring at Théâtre La Chapelle.

The 2019 Recipient is David Gagnon Walker. David is a recent graduate of the Playwriting Program at the National Theatre School and has just started a one-year residency as Artist-in-Residence at 2b Theatre in Halifax. He will be translating Gabrielle Chapdelaine’s La retraite.

The Future of Theatre Translation

An Afterword by PWM

It has been so heartening to witness the successes of each and every recipient of this unique mentorship since its beginnings! We look forward to discovering what new projects these talented artists will tackle in the future, and to taking part in the development of emerging translators for many years to come. We can’t thank the Cole Foundation enough for their ongoing and invaluable support that allows this important work to thrive and to flourish, and promises a fruitful future in theatre translation!

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EstérELLE Writers-in-Residence

EstérELLE Writers-in-Residence

(Pilot Project)

When: October 12 to 19, 2019
Where: Estérel, Québec

PWM is proud to announce a new initiative in partnership with Anna Dupuis Zuckerman focused on the development of new plays by English Language Québec female and female-identifying playwrights. This seven-day residency is specifically tailored to support the development of work by mid-career playwrights, offering the time and space to think, write and exchange ideas in a quiet environment. The only scheduled events are meals and a daily late afternoon discussion session. Dramaturg Fatma Sarah Elkashef will be present for dramaturgical consultation.

Location: Peaceful, welcoming, spacious family home on Lac Dupuis in Esterel, part of the Laurentian mountains. As we approach one of the oldest stones on earth, the breath grows stronger, a wholeness, a peace settles. Memories and futures entwine, and stories reveal themselves.

Details:

– The residency will take place over seven days
– PWM Dramaturg Fatma Sarah Elkashef will be the residency dramaturg
– Focus on female and female-identifying mid-career English Language Québec playwrights
– Transportation, accommodations and food will be covered by the residency
– An honorarium will be given to each selected participant
– The menu is vegetarian, but can accommodate fish
– The residency is designated sober-living and scent-free
– No pets are allowed
– Accessibility: Uneven cobblestone driveway (not wheelchair accessible).

Accommodation details: Each participant will have a private room and quiet workspace. There are 2 shared bathrooms for 5 artists.

 

SUBMISSION GUIDELINES

Submission deadline: August 1, 2019
Notification of selected projects: August 16, 2019

In a single PDF file please send us the following:

– A short description of your project.
– A short explanation of how a 7-day writers residency would benefit the project and your work as a writer.
– A ten page sample of the play (maximum).
– A bio and CV.

Subject line of the email: EstérELLE Writers-in-Residence
Email: residency@playwrights.ca
For accessibility inquiries please contact Heather Eaton: heather@playwrights.ca, 514-843-3685

History of English-Language Drama and Theatre in Quebec, 1930-2015

English Language Theatre in Quebec

In collaboration with PWM, the Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council, and McGill University Department of English

Professor Erin Hurley of the Department of English at McGill University is researching the history of English-language drama and theatre in Quebec from 1930-2015. Her research results will be shared with the theatre community in public lectures, staged readings, and a report, and will be communicated to academic audiences in scholarly articles and as a book documenting English-language theatre in Quebec. One aspect of this project is the literary and historical analysis of the plays written in English by Quebec authors since 1930. As much of this dramatic literature is unpublished, Prof Hurley asks for your assistance in identifying and gathering such plays so that she has access to a more complete picture of the field, its authors, thematics, aesthetics, and engagements.

If you are the author of a play (or plays) and are willing to have them included in Professor Hurley’s research corpus, please contact her at erin.hurley@mcgill.ca. Professor Hurley and her research team can arrange to have your play scanned or, if you already have it in digital format, they can arrange for its transfer. Your work will not be shared outside of the research team and will be used exclusively for research purposes.

Submission deadline: September 30, 2019