Translation as a Practice of Decolonisation
Online event on 23.04.2021

tak – Theater Aufbau Kreuzberg

11:00 Translating postcolonial drama*
Translation workshop
19:00 Afropäerinnen
Book presentation
20:00 Reading + discussion (German/French) with Penda Diouf,
Annette Bühler-Dietrich, Theresa Henning, Yannic Jentzsch,
Charlotte Bomy and Lisa Wegener

The workshop ties in thematically with the event series “Afropéennes – Afropäerinnen” (2020) and the book Afropäerinnen (2021) published in the series Drama Panorama – New International Theatre Texts (Neofelis Verlag Berlin). The anthology brings together works by Laetitia Ajanohun, Rébecca Chaillon, Éva Doumbia and Penda Diouf in German translation. What these contemporary playwrights have in common is the search for a new Black identity and historiography in Europe, which draws attention to the effects of a colonial legacy that is centuries old and strengthens the self-confidence of African artists in the diaspora. The history of Black people in Germany too is marked by racial resentment, sexism and other power asymmetries. Translating here means a careful transplantation into another linguistic system of reference, other debates, other coordinates – with shared points of reference.
More information is available here and here

Workshop (11:00, online)
Short excerpts from contemporary plays and their translations will form the basis for a discussion about the forms of postcolonial drama may take. Aspects specific to the genre, current terminology and discourses critical of racism will be examined as well as questions of text production, mediation and representation: Who speaks and from which position, which context? Which institutions are involved in the mediation? How does the critical questioning of one’s own role take shape? What might allied cooperation look like?

The workshop will be facilitated by Charlotte Bomy and Lisa Wegener.

Book presentation (19:00, online)


At 19:00, there will be a book presentation of “Afropäerinnen. Theatertexte aus Frankreich und Belgien” – with input from the editors and those who worked on it. The book was published in April 2021 by Neofelis and contains four texts by four French-speaking playwrights (Laetitia Ajanohun, Rébecca Chaillon, Penda Diouf and Éva Doumbia), translated into German for the first time.

Chaired by: Charlotte Bomy und Lisa Wegener
Guests: Penda Diouf, Annette-Bühler Dietrich
, NN

Reading (20:00, online)
In her new play Pistes… (translated from the French by Annette Bühler-Dietrich), playwright Penda Diouf journeys from Paris to Namibia to go in search of her memories and her own identity. But the vastness of the Namib Desert and the dazzling light conceal the brutal heritage of German colonial rule, whose crimes against the Hereros and Namas are considered the first genocide of the 20th century.

With: Penda Diouf, Theresa Henning und Yannic Jentzsch
Directed by: Theresa Henning

in German with French extracts

Short biographies

Penda Diouf is a playwright and manages a public library. Her plays have been performed at numerous theatres in France, including Le Tarmac, La Huchette, and Le Théâtre Jean Vilar de Vitry-sur-Seine. With Anthony Thibault, Penda Diouf founded the festival “Jeunes textes en liberté”, which promotes contemporary theatre texts. In collaboration with the Comédie de Valence, she has also coordinated the writing workshop “Écritures Nomades” in 2020.

Annette Bühler-Dietrich is Professor of Modern German Literature and Theatre Studies at Stuttgart University. From 2014 to 2018, she taught at the Universite Ouaga I Pr Joseph Ki-Zerbo, Burkina Faso. She researches contemporary French-language theatre and German literature.

Charlotte Bomy born 1978 in France, studied German, Philosophy and Theatre in Strasbourg and Berlin. With a PhD in Theatre Studies, she has written numerous essays and articles on contemporary French and German-language drama, image-text relationships in the performing arts and stagings of protest. Since 2012, she has worked as a freelance translator in Berlin, translating German-language authors into French. Her work has been awarded numerous prizes and scholarships.

Lisa Wegener is a translator, editor and curator. She focuses on translating feminist and queer drama, and postcolonial works. She has curated (with Charlotte Bomy) the event series Afropéennes – Afropäerinnen and published the anthology Afropäerinnen – Theatertexte aus Frankreich und Belgien.