This strand investigates interaction between languages in the performing arts and the types of creativity this generates. Multilingual performance fosters creativity that is responsive to cultural contexts and audiences. Three case studies will feature different linguistic and cultural constellations: multilingual popular music created and performed in the UK by Black British and British Asian musicians; the ‘highbrow’ Lied performed in the original (often German) to English-speaking audiences; and edgily political Russian theatre ‘translated’ linguistically and culturally to UK stages.

These are some of the research questions we are interested in: How significant is linguistic diversity (including register) for the creative aims of the performers, and what creative processes are involved in negotiating the interaction between different languages in the performance? How significant is linguistic diversity for the audience’s response, and to what extent does their response benefit from involvement of creativity? How do languages and creativity come into play in foregrounding, negotiating, and/or downplaying cultural difference? To what extent is meaning clarified by written or aural and visual media? The questions will be addressed with methodologies drawn from music, theatre, film, media, cultural and performance studies.

Blog posts by the Languages in the Creative Economy research team

‘Lessons learnt’ by a professional translator – adapting the same play three times over three years

Slanguages: how artists are getting creative with languages

Oxford Lieder Festival: languages as performance

Why Yorkshire, Cockney & New York accents aren’t out of place in Iannucci’s ‘The Death of Stalin’

Creative Multilingualism in opera and song: Roderick Williams visits Oxford

Crossing linguistic borders: Debussy’s Pelléas et Mélisande

Ackley Bridge: English, Hindi-Urdu and Bollywood languages on the telly

Creative translation: bending the rules to keep it personal

Why translation matters

On being a citizen of the world