Weaving patterns in performance: dramaturgy and the art of performance interpreting

Research output: Contributions to journalsArticlepeer-review



Performance interpreters (PIs) working between English
and British Sign Language often work alone to translate
performance texts with little or no access to the creative
team and are generally untrained in the specific skills
required for the performance setting. In addition, the
current theatre industry tends to adopt a mechanised
approach to access that takes little or no account of the
creative aspects of translation and interpreting work. In
response to this, and to facilitate a conversation about the
performance aspects of the work of the PI, this article
discusses the concept of dramaturgy and considers its
application to performance interpreting. The article
draws on a practice-based project which embedded three
PIs in a theatre production of Henry V at the Royal
Conservatoire of Scotland and argues that performance
interpreting can be framed as a dramaturgically-driven
undertaking, rather than an interpreting task. The article
sheds light on this frame's effects on the PIs’ processes,
and on the experience of the director and cast members.
It proposes and evaluates five guiding principles for a
dramaturgically-driven frame for use by directors of
performance interpreting.


Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)11 - 29
Number of pages18
JournalScottish Journal of Performance
Issue number1
Early online date1 Jul 2019
Publication statusPublished or Performed - 1 Jul 2019

Author keywords

  • BSL, interpreting, dramaturgy, performance, Shakespeare