Brexit Stage Left

Cities, Artists, Culture

A bi-lingual adaptation of Lorca’s Blood Wedding as a model of social resilience

In May 2018 I travelled to Spain with a company of 8 undergraduate student actors to meet 8 acting students from the Escuela TAI, Madrid with whom they had been sharing an intensive, virtual rehearsal process since January. Our shared project was the development of a new adaptation of Lorca’s Blood Wedding for ensemble performance in Spanish and English, in Madrid and subsequently in London. This Erasmus-funded project aims to promote language learning through high-level engagement with the dramaturgical processes involved in working with text in translation simultaneously developing young artists’ performance skills and professional networks.   

However, over the years of developing this project I have increasingly come to understand that whilst there are numerous educational and artistic outcomes for project participants, the primary one may, in fact, be the opportunity for students to engage experientially with European culture and society in a way that creates lifelong impact and fundamentally transforms young actors’ ability to forge a fully invested identity transcending national borders and empowering identities as European citizens and artists.  The challenges for all artists in times seemingly dominated by Brexit, the rise of populism and increasing conservatism are immense and particularly so for those at the very start of their careers as borders appear to close and opportunities narrow.

In this paper, therefore, I propose to explore not only the project’s dramaturgical approach but also its socio-linguistic impact and the implications post-Brexit for collaborative arts practice of this kind.   I will consider the ways in which European funding streams promote opportunity for young artists by creating lifelong learning opportunities, as well as broader access to employment outside the UK, and will consider the possibility of creative partnerships a post-Erasmus world.

Gill Foster