Creating in the ambiguous space: exploring the dramaturgy of the performance interpreter

Catherine King, The Royal Conservatoire of Scotland

Catherine King is a PhD student with the Royal Conservatoire of Scotland and a BSL/English interpreter specialising in performance.

The work of the British Sign Language/English interpreter in performance is traditionally viewed as an ‘access’ provision and the little research we have on it focuses on specific linguistic issues and training resources. My research frames the work of the performance interpreter as an arts practice and the interpreter, therefore, as an arts practitioner which allows a dramaturgical lens to be applied. My contention is that the performance interpreter is doing dramaturgy (as defined by Barba) as she translates, adapts and performs the interpretation of the text. The research applies the additional acting concepts character building and objective/super-objective to an already long list of activities the performance interpreter undertakes and charts the journey of myself/my Self throughout. I have adopted a Practice as Research methodology, predicated on the idea that performance interpreting is an arts practice, alongside a theoretical framework, the Demand Control Schema, which acknowledges its roots in the Translation & Interpreting field. The hybrid nature of the role, artist and practice professional, is assumed in the research and the inherent tensions interrogated.