Brecht in Song: Evening performance

Brecht in Song: Evening performance
18 September 2020, 6.00pm - 8.00pm

One of the most radical and influential dramatists of the 20th century Bertolt Brecht used songs throughout his plays in varied and unexpected ways – halting the action, commenting on character, slicing the narrative and revealing what is yet to come in the play. 

But with much of his work now being reinterpreted and newly translated, where does this leave his songs, with their specific challenges of rhyme and rhythm, imagery and verse? 

Inspired by the collaborative approach that Brecht developed with translator Elisabeth Hauptmann and composers Kurt Weill, Hans Eisler and others, a one-day workshop held earlier on 18 September will see translators work closely with an actor and musician to create a brand new version of one of his lesser known songs.

Reflecting the diverse nature of the original compositions, the new versions will be reworked across a mix of contemporary musical genres by Aminita Francis (FRANKENSTEIN: HOW TO MAKE A MONSTER for the Battersea Arts Centre and HIVE CITY LEGACY for The Roundhouse and Hot Brown Honey), Jochebel Ohene MacCarthy (THE LION KING for Disney and THE COLOUR PURPLE at The Leicester Curve and Birmingham Hippodrome), Hannah Jarrett-Scott (PRIDE AND PREJUDICE (*SORT OF) for The Tron Theatre and The Lyceum Edinburgh and THE WOLVES at Theatre Royal Stratford East), Michael Moreland (SUNSHINE ON LEITH for Dundee Rep and, on screen, UNDER THE SKIN) and Robert Lonsdale (STANDING AT THE SKY'S EDGE at the Sheffield Crucible and FROM HERE TO ETERNITY at the Shaftesbury Theatre, West End).

Curated by actor and teacher Jack Tarlton and playwright Stephen Sharkey, this virtual gig sees actors and musicians gather together over Zoom to perform these new compositions. 

All are welcome to attend this free event - book a space to receive the Zoom link.

Organised by the Institute of Modern Languages Research. It is part of the Open World Research Initiative (OWRI) Cross-Language Dynamics: Reshaping Community, Translingual Strand.


Elizabeth Dearnley