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International Performing Arts Center

Blog Archive

Funding for Translation in Theater

Panel Discussion

“International, cultural dialogue, looking beyond your own backyard” – many theaters use catchphrases like this to market their seasons. But in order to present foreign-language plays on German stages, these first need to be translated.

Audiences in the theaters of large cities are becoming increasingly international. Many theaters now plan foreign-language surtitling (often English) from the beginning to make theater accessible for as many people as possible. For these surtitles too, texts need to be translated competently from the German.

Unfortunately, neither the theaters nor the publishers have enough money in their budgets to pay for this adequately. Theaters are being forced to resort to tougher and tougher savings strategies, and things will no doubt get harder due to Covid-19. Theater publishers are struggling to survive and international plays are often not even taken into the publisher’s catalogue, since the higher costs associated with them due to uncertain royalty returns most likely cannot be covered.

We will provide an overview of different funding models and programs, discuss how these programs can be designed with the guests, and analyze how theater translation can be communicated to and represented in the funding bodies. Can the current funding models meet the actual needs of theater translators? Are there different approaches in other countries? How can we think about new models? What about cooperative projects? How can requirements be communicated? We want to inspire new ideas and create synergies, and put the main focus on the needs of the theater translators.

We are very pleased to partner with Drama Panorama to host this event. Please click HERE to read the complete event information on their website.

Before the event gets underway, we would like to ask you to participate anonymously in our survey (in German) on the topic of support of theater translation – please do so by October 24 via this link.

Multilingualism in Theater

A Panel Discussion and Reading

Our society is a postmigrant society. It has changed again and again due to countless waves of migration, has become richer and more diverse as a result and is shaped by the coexistence of lots of languages and language regions that mutually influence each other.

How is this situation reflected in today’s theater? The German theater is the child of nationalism. But for a while now, the narrative of the national theater is being rewritten. Are multilingual productions a possible answer to our postnational social reality? For what purpose are multiple languages used and what effect do they have? How are multilingual plays written? And how are they translated?

At our evening event, we will talk to theater-makers who are creating new and groundbreaking models of multilingualism for the stage, and read from multilingual plays. In the workshop we will talk to writers and translators working in multiple languages, analyze linguistic aspects of the topic and discuss the texts with the selected participants.

We are very pleased to partner with Drama Panorama to host this event. Please click HERE to read the complete event information on their website.

Ladee Hubbard

U.S. EMBASSY LITERATURE SERIES – A Reading from The Rib King with Ladee Hubbard, Mary Ellen von der Heyden Fellow in Fiction, American Academy in Berlin, Fall 2021

Moderated by Anne Potjans, Department of English and American Studies, Humboldt-Universität zu Berlin

For fifteen years August Sitwell has worked for the Barclays, a well-to-do white family who plucked him from an orphan asylum and gave him a job. The groundskeeper is part of the household’s all-black staff, along with “Miss Mamie,” the talented cook, pretty new maid Jennie Williams, and three young kitchen apprentices—the latest orphan boys Mr. Barclay has taken in to “civilize” boys like August.

But the Barclays fortunes have fallen, and their money is almost gone. When a prospective business associate proposes selling Miss Mamie’s delicious rib sauce to local markets under the brand name “The Rib King”—using a caricature of a wildly grinning August on the label—Mr. Barclay, desperate for cash, agrees. Yet neither Miss Mamie nor August will see a dime. Humiliated, August grows increasingly distraught, his anger building to a rage that explodes in shocking tragedy.

Ladee Hubbard is an award-winning New Orleans-based writer of literary fiction and the author of The Talented Ribkins (Melville House, 2017), which received the 2018 Ernest J. Gaines Award for Literary Excellence and Hurston-Wright Foundation Legacy Award for Debut Fiction. Hubbard completed her BA at Princeton University, MFA in dramatic writing at New York University, PhD in World Arts and Cultures at the University of California, Los Angeles, and MFA in creative writing at the University of Wisconsin-Madison. She has taught in the Africana and African Diaspora Studies department at Tulane University. Recent and forthcoming publications include the novel The Rib King (Amistad/Harper Collins, 2021) and short-story collection The Blinking What (Amistad/Harper Collins, 2022). Hubbard’s writing has appeared in Guernica, The Times Literary Supplement, Arkansas International, Copper Nickel, and Callaloo, among others. Her work has been supported by the Camargo Foundation, Djerassi Foundation, MacDowell Colony, Rona Jaffe Foundation Writers’ Award, Sewanee Writers Conference, and the William Faulkner-William Wisdom award for the short-story category.


Adam Sachs

The U.S. Embassy Literature Series

A Reading from The Organs of Sense

Adam Ehrlich Sachs, writer and fellow, American Academy in Berlin 2019

In 1666, an astronomer makes a prediction shared by no one else in the world: at the stroke of noon on June 30 of that year, a solar eclipse will cast all of Europe into total darkness for four seconds. This astronomer is rumored to be using the longest telescope ever built, but he is also known to be blind―and not only blind, but incapable of sight, both his eyes having been plucked out some time before under mysterious circumstances. Is he mad? Or does he, despite this impairment, have an insight denied the other scholars of his day?

These questions intrigue the young Gottfried Leibniz―not yet the world-renowned polymath who would go on to discover calculus, but a nineteen-year-old whose faith in reason is shaky at best. Leibniz sets off to investigate the astronomer’s claim, and over the three hours remaining before the eclipse occurs―or fails to occur―the astronomer tells the scholar the haunting and hilarious story behind his strange prediction: a tale that ends up encompassing kings and princes, family squabbles, obsessive pursuits, insanity, philosophy, art, loss, and the horrors of war.

Adam Ehrlich Sachs lives and works in Pittsburgh. He has an AB in atmospheric science and an MA in the history of science from Harvard University. The author of two books of fiction, Sachs’s writing has appeared in the New Yorker, n+1, and Harper’s, among other publications. His first book, Inherited Disorders: Stories, Parables, and Problems (Regan Arts, 2016), was a finalist for the 2017 Sami Rohr Prize for Jewish Literature. His story “The Philosophers” was named a Distinguished Story in The Best American Short Stories 2017. In 2018, Sachs received a National Endowment for the Arts fellowship in literature. His novel The Organs of Sense was published in May 2019 by Farrar, Straus and Giroux.

Peter Wortsman

The U.S. Embassy Literature Series

A Reading from Stimme und Atem. Out of Breath, Out of Mind

Peter Wortsman, writer, translator and alumnus, American Academy in Berlin

Moderated by Andrew Gross, Professor of American Studies, Universität Göttingen

“To have reached at age 66, after years of considerable creative effort in English, the beginner’s level in another language is in my view no small feat, something on the order of digging a hole so deep into New York granite that you come crawling back up in China, filthy but still breathing. If as an adult I stutter and stumble with the shaky spoon of my tongue back into the still fluid forecourt of consciousness that German constitutes for me, I do so in full consciousness as an English speaker reminded of other syllables that say more to me about the unspeakable than yes and no.” So writes the New York-born author, son of Austrian-Jewish émigrés, in the foreword. “I harbor a stillborn scribe of the German tongue in me,” he maintains. In this collection of stories, some quasi-autobiographical, some nightmarish, most of them originally written in German and thereafter translated, or rather, adapted by the author himself into English, Wortsman creates a compelling, albeit disturbing, portrait, not only of himself, but also of our shattered age. Despite all, with his writing, Wortsman harbors a hope: “Perhaps we Germans and Jews of the Post-War generation, as children of a shattered cultural union, can still achieve something productive together, perhaps we can pick a few rags of reason from the ruins of the past and therewith pitch a tent big enough to hold all our dreams.”

Excerpted from Stimme und Atem/Out of Breath, Out of Mind (Zweisprachige Erzählungen/Two-Tongued Tales), a bilingual German-English book of stories by Peter Wortsman, forthcoming from PalmArt Press, Berlin, October 2019


Peter Wortsman is the author of novels, books of short fiction, plays, and travel memoirs. He is also a literary translator from German into English. He was a Fulbright Fellow in 1973, a Thomas J. Watson Foundation Fellow in 1974, and a Holtzbrinck Fellow at the American Academy in Berlin in 2010. His writing has been honored with the 1985 Beard’s Fund Short Story Award, the 2008 Gertje Potash-Suhr Prosapreis of the Society for Contemporary American Literature in German, the 2012 Gold Grand Prize for Best Travel Story of the Year in the Solas Awards Competition, and a 2014 Independent Publishers Book Award (IPPY). His travel reflections were selected five years in a row, 2008-2012, and again in 2016, for inclusion in The Best Travel Writing. His short fiction and essays have appeared, in German translation, in Manuskripte, Schreibheft, Cicero, the anthology AmLit: Neue Literatur aus den USA, published by the Druckhaus Galrev, Berlin, and in Die Welt and Die Zeit.

Holly-Jane Rahlens

In commemoration of the Fall of the Berlin Wall thirty years ago, New York-born Berlin writer and entertainer Holly-Jane Rahlens will read bilingually from her young adult bestseller, Mauerblümchen (Rowohlt) / Wallflower (Fourth Floor Fiction).

Originally published in 2009, the novella has become a favorite read in German, history and religion/ethics class, grades 8 and up. Now, published in its original English in a new edition, English-language teachers throughout Germany can get in on the action, too.

Wallflower is four hours in the life of Molly Lenzfeld, a sixteen-year-old New Yorker in Berlin. It’s Thanksgiving Day 1989, two weeks after the fall of the Wall. Molly, the daughter of a German-Jewish mother who fled the Nazis in 1938, is off to her mother’s birth house in East Berlin. On the train to Prenzlauer Berg, wallflower Molly meets East German wildflower Mick Maier, nineteen. It’s love at first sight. For both, it’s a journey into an unknown land and a world deep below the city’s streets – a fertile terrain in which to discover each other, the absurdities of the divided city, and, of course, the wonder of love.

This is what the press has said about Wallflower/Mauerblümchen:
A slew of comic scenes embellished with a great love for detail. — Spiegel Online | Powerful and touching — Berliner Zeitung | … an absolute riot! — Aviva-Berlin | … truly hilarious! — FAZ | Have you ever read a novel that made you feel like you could see the movie version in your mind while you were reading it? That’s what I experienced when I read Wallflower.  — Susanne M. Heim »Chicken Soup For the Soul« | A time machine into the past — Deutsche Presse Agentur  | A real eye-opener — Politiken
And this is what German teachers have said about Mauerblümchen:
Eine tolle Geschichte, sehr lebendig erzählt, sehr witzig, kurzweilig. Ein Buch für alle, nicht nur für Mädchen. Ein Buch aber auch für Erwachsene und für die Schulbibliothek. Dort kann es getrost im Register “Geschichte” stehen. – uhb Niedersachsen | Mit augenzwinkerndem Humor erzählt Rahlens von einer Jugendliebe auf den zweiten Blick, von Kettwurst und besonderer Gastfreundschaft – eben von einem Stück deutsch-deutscher Geschichte. — dk Bayern | Gerade die mit tatsächlichen Bahnhofsnamen versehene und dadurch realistisch verankerte Fahrt durch Berlin und das allmähliche Annähern der beiden Hauptcharaktere versinnbildlicht dabei die deutsch-deutsche Vergangenheit anschaulich und gestaltet Geschichte sehr lebensnah. Gerade der offene und dennoch hoffnungsvolle Schluss kann dabei womöglich auch als Allegorie der deutschen Geschichte seit der Wende gelesen werden. – StJ Sachsen-Anhalt | Es ist äußerst reizvoll, die sehr realistische Geschichte mit zu erleben. – frisch Nordrhein-Westfalen

Holly-Jane Rahlens, a born New Yorker, grew up in Brooklyn and Queens and graduated from Queens College (City University of New York). She moved to Berlin, Germany, soon after, where she has lived virtually all her adult life. While remaining an American citizen, she has flourished in the German media world, working in radio, television, and film as an actress, producer and commentator as well as creating a series of highly praised one-woman shows. She writes fiction for readers of all ages. In 2003 her first novel for teens, Prince William, Maximilian Minsky and Me, earned the prestigious Deutscher Jugendliteraturpreis as the best young adult novel published in Germany. In 2006 the Association of Jewish Libraries named it a Sydney Taylor Honor Book. It has since been published in eight languages and was adapted in 2007 into the motion picture Max Minsky and Me, which has garnered praise and awards around the world.

Anne Finger

ETB | IPAC, THEATER THIKWA and the american academy in berlin present A reading by ANNE FINGER

Anne Finger will be reading from an early memoir, Past Due: A Story of Disability, Pregnancy and Birth which was published in the U.S. by Seal Press. A German translation, Lebenswert, was published by Fischer Verlag in 1992.

Anne Finger liest aus einem autobiographischen Text: “Past Due: A Story of Disability, Pregnancy and Birth”, der in deutscher Übersetzung von Christine Frick-Gehrke unter dem Titel “Lebenswerteine behinderte Frau bekommt ein Kind” 1992 bei S. Fischer erschienen ist.

Anne Finger is a writer of both fiction and non-fiction.  Her most recent book is a novel, A Woman, in Bed (Cinco Puntos).  Her short story collection, Call Me Ahab retells iconic disability stories from a disabled perspective.  Her most recent memoir, Elegy for a Disease: A Personal and Cultural History of Polio was published by St. Martin’s Press. She lives in Oakland, California, where she is active in the disability justice movement as well as movements for broader social change.

Anne is currently the Holtzbrinck Fellow at the American Academy in Berlin.

Anne Finger ist Autorin von Romanen, autobiografischen Texten und Sachbüchern; 2018 erschien ihr neuester Roman “A Woman, in Bed”. In ihrem Erzählungsband “Call Me Ahab” (2009) erzählen Behinderte – sowohl Figuren aus literarischen Texten als auch real existierende Mitmenschen – aus ihrer Perspektive. Ihr letztes Memoir “Elegy for a Disease: A Personal and Cultural History of Polio” erschien 2006. Anne lebt in Oakland / Kalifornien, wo sie sowohl in der Behindertenbewegung als auch in verschiedenen Gruppierungen und Bewegungen für breitangelegte gesellschaftliche Veränderung aktiv ist.
Zur Zeit ist sie Holtzbrinck Fellow an der American Academy in Berlin.
Pic/Foto: Shoey Sindel



It’s That Time of the Month PLUS SIZE

This improvised live talk show hosted by Berlin’s funniest women is coming to English Theatre Berlin | International Performing Arts Center for a one-time engagement!

Don’t miss it as these seven unscripted comedians from six different countries take the stage to improvise about topics close to their hearts and dish out life advice on all things necessary.

Same outrageous cast. Same hilarious show. This time in a bigger venue with more prizes.

Comedians: Andrea Björk Andresdottir, Antonia Bär, Caroline Clifford, Matilde Keizer, Marisa Llamas, Janina Rook, Nicole Ratjen

GLB – Improv Comedy

GLB bring their show to the ETB | IPAC stage for a behemoth evening of improvised scenes weaved together with incomparable timing and gut-wrenching laughter.


Plus, they’re bringing some of their friends along!


Pretty much anything can happen, and it’s all made up before your very eyes by some of the best improvisers this city has to offer.


GLB is Berlin’s longest running English-language longform improv team. They perform every 1st & 3rd Friday at the Comedy Café Berlin. Formed in 2013 as Good Luck, Barbara, GLB is one of the first teams to bring North American-style longform improv to the German Hauptstadt, and has been performing continuously since then – from claustrophobic basement bars to ETB | IPAC here in Berlin, and the massive Del Close Marathon in New York City and SlapDash in London. GLB members teach improv through The CCB Training School and have trained a new generation of fantastic improvisers right here in Berlin. They are Nicole Ratjen, Josh Telson and Noah Telson.


Daniel-Ryan Spaulding

UPDATE: An important note to all guests planning to attend the Daniel-Ryan Spaulding performances on October 11 and 12: we are selling 150 tickets for each performance via our online box office. All guests who purchase tickets from this online contingent are guaranteed seats on chairs and we will sell an additional 20 – 30 seats on cushions on the floor at the door. We heavily encourage all guests to secure their tickets now.

Because you demanded it: Daniel-ryan spaulding returns to ETB | IPAC for his last performances with us this year after a series of sold-out shows!

two nights only!

Daniel-Ryan is an internationally touring Croatian-Canadian stand-up comedian who has performed in over 45 countries worldwide and is the star of the recent hit video series about a hipster expat It’s Berlin!

Expect a solid hour of sharp, hilarious, sassy, brutal stand-up about expat life, Eurotrash, sex, Yugoslavia, culture, nostalgia, the Dutch and, of course, Berlin!

“Daniel shines when engaged in storytelling, timing his humour well in an admirably relaxed fashion, while his mannerisms and confrontational attitude entertain, as he lets his inner frustrations spill out into hilarious and, at time, brutal anecdotes. Daniel’s combination of camp enthusiasm and fearless outspokenness serve to create a very entertaining show.”
– **** Three Weeks (UK)
“Brilliant, hilarious subversion” – Huffington Post
“Intelligent, and above all very funny. His material is tight. His delivery is strong, and his timing is perfect.” **** Scotsgay Magazine

Watch Daniel-Ryan Spaulding’s viral hit (over 2 million views) on YouTube: