From January 20 – January 27 The Fence will host it’s first North American conference and it’s 18th conference since it was first launched as an international writers’ retreat in October 2003. The 2014 meeting is designed as a retreat and planning meeting in preparation for a larger North American conference in 2015, which will focus on the art of theatrical translation. The U.S. partners are The Lark Play Development Center, The Eugene O’Neill Theater Center, New International Theatre Experience, and The Play Company.
The Fence is an international network for working playwrights, translators, and people who make playwriting happen. Ten years old as of October 2013, the network comprises over 200 members from 40 countries. The network has held meetings in Budapest, Graz, Belgrade, Tampere, Amsterdam (twice), Graz (twice), Leeds, Istanbul, Timisoara, Glasgow, Guadeloupe, Paris/Bondy, Rabat and Tuscany/Rome. The Fence exists to open up routes to work opportunities for theatre makers seeking to extend their work beyond their own national and infrastructural boundaries.
The overarching focus of the two North American gatherings is the art of translation. Delving into the nature of translation is one of the on-going goals for The Fence. Noted literary theorist Gayatri Chakravorty Spivak points out, “Translation is a necessary impossibility,” and the plan is to investigate this paradox by engaging in both in-depth dialogue and hands-on exploration in order to discover innovative solutions to the complex challenges of translating for the stage.
The initial 3 days of the 2014 meeting will be hosted by the Eugene O’Neill Theater Center in New London, CT, and the final leg of the trip will be hosted in New York City by the Lark Play Development Center. As The Fence network continues to expand, one of the goals is to encourage more North American involvement, and the 2014 meeting is intended to introduce The Fence to US-based professionals and institutions to encourage their involvement for the coming year.