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Dramaturgy

Dramaturgy refers to a set of activities which are considered to be necessary to the theatre-making process, and the functions of dramaturgy are carried out by the person known as the 'Dramaturg'.

DRAMATURG originates from the ancient Greek: Dramatourgos = drama (deed or act) + ergos (work or composition) So, originally a dramatourgos was a composer of drama, i.e. a playwright.

The job of a Dramaturg emerged when a playwright, G.E. Lessing, was employed by a theatre to help them with all their productions. 'Dramaturg' is commonly used today to refer to the literary adviser of a theatre, who takes part in the rehearsal process and who guards the integrity of the play.

The dramaturg today:
A dramaturg's role is exciting and multifaceted depending on the context and type of production process. The dramaturg works closely with the director and/or playwright, the company and sometimes the producer. S/he looks after the analysis and ideas of the production, making sure that the director's, company's or writer's vision and production concept translate and communicate through design, light, sound and costume for that particular audience and venue. Dramaturgs are readers of texts and performances, sounding boards and an additional resource for all involved. The dramaturg is a collaborative role and can be seen as a critical collaborator.

What a Dramaturg can do:
Dramaturgs can support writers and directors in various ways. This list reflects different tasks performed by dramaturgs in the UK at various times and in different projects.

Reading Plays - e.g. digging out forgotten plays and helping you choose the best for your theatre to make an interesting season.

Translating or Re-translating Plays - helping you translate plays into English in order to get the best out of a foreign writer's work.

Encouraging New Writing - producing events, awards, festivals, or providing one-to-one support, feedback and advice.

Devising New Work - from generating to structuring texts and material, the dramaturg can help keep an overview of the many strands of material in a devising process.

Adapting - helping you adapt material for other media (novel for a stage; stage play into radio play, etc.).

Analysing - looking closely at structure and content in order to help you develop a coherent concept for the production before rehearsals start.

Editing and Cutting - helping you to shape the written drama that you want to stage.

Research - providing you with the background information needed for rehearsals and carry out production research, audience research, etc. for your theatre or production.

Advice - helping you co-ordinate your rehearsals and balance the different elements of the play (space, time, text, etc.).

Assisting - helping you keep sight of the concept of the play throughout the rehearsal process, preserving the core ideas of the theme and the writer's aims.

Compile the Programme - providing your audience with contextual information about the intentions of the production

For additional information about Dramaturgy visit the following websites:-

Dramaturgy Northwest (America): http://www2.ups.edu/professionalorgs/dramaturgy/main.htm

Dramaturgs' Network (UK): https://www.facebook.com/dramaturgsnetwork

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