Out of the Wings is a London-based collective of translators, researchers, theatre artists and other colleagues with a focus on exploring, translating and sharing with English-speaking audiences the wealth of playwriting of the Spanish- and Portuguese-speaking worlds.

The recent Black Lives Matter protests speak directly to the regions we explore in our work, and to the place from which we do this exploration. The ‘English-speaking world’ the ‘Spanish-speaking world’ and the ‘Portuguese-speaking world’ all exist in their current form following a history of colonisation and the violent, large-scale and long-lasting oppression of black people, indigenous peoples, other people of colour, and speakers of languages other than English, Spanish or Portuguese.

Our work also exists in a present-day context, in the UK and US, in which theatre, translation and scholarship are themselves arenas where structural racism persists. As a result, all three arenas fail fully to carry out their stated aims of enhancing humanity’s understanding of itself and of encouraging fruitful dialogue between different languages, cultures and experiences.

At Out of the Wings we acknowledge our responsibility to play a part not only in acknowledging this, but also in addressing it.

We are a small collective whose monthly meetings, annual festival and events throughout the year are organised largely by volunteers. Some have worked with us for several years. Some join us for a shorter period. We are a forum where those who are interested in translating plays into English from the Hispanic and Lusophone worlds gather to share their work, and where researchers and theatre practitioners come to support, discuss and help disseminate the plays they bring to us. We seek to create a forum where people with different types of experience, expertise and training relating to theatre translation, including those who are keen to explore it for the first time, can meet and collaborate and we value this wide range of perspectives. We are a platform for this work, but could not exist without those individuals who bring their work to us. All are welcome.

‘All are welcome’. We say this and we mean it. However, we now know that leaving the door open is not enough; we need to invite in those who may not yet have joined us or thought of doing so, and to ask directly for work to be brought to us that we have not yet had the benefit of exploring.

Plays by black and indigenous writers, and other writers of colour. Despite many such writers having been active throughout the history of theatre in the countries we focus on, their work has been underrepresented in publishing, scholarship and translation into English. Through the work of some of our members, we have explored some of this rich canon of playwriting, but need help from outside our current membership to do more. We would welcome contact and suggestions of plays or authors, from anyone working on these plays, whether as translators, researchers or theatre artists more widely.

Plays from countries other than those we have explored to date. The Hispanic and Lusophone worlds are vast. We are aware that our festivals have featured work from some countries repeatedly, and from others not at all, leading to an imbalance in how our work represents the region. We particularly welcome work from Central America, the Caribbean, and Africa for our future activities.

Translators and other practitioners. We aim for the participants in our monthly play readings to represent the diversity of the city we work in and commit to taking action now to achieve this by inviting to our readings and into our membership individuals or groups representing this diversity. Once again, we need help to achieve this and welcome suggestions of individuals or groups with whom we should take the initiative to make active contact.
Furthermore, we commit to holding events within the next 12 months that will directly address the lack of representation we describe above, with a view to creating long-lasting change within our work; we will detail our plans for this in the coming weeks.

Our monthly meetings are free to attend and are open to all. We always have an online element to these meetings with colleagues and collaborators joining via Skype. We are currently holding all of our activities online and we hope that this might create opportunities for new people to become involved in our work. Anyone who wishes to know more about our work, or to join our mailing list, can contact us on info@outofthewings.org.

We look forward to meeting you.

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