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Penny Black

Translator, Playwright, Novelist

About

Penny Black is an award-winning translator (from German), writer and dramaturg. Her love of theatre started in Vienna, where she lived for five years and completed her acting training. She has translated plays for the Royal Court, Gate Theatre, Lyric Hammersmith, Arcola Theatre and the National Theatre amongst many others. Her translation of Nobel Prize winner Elfriede Jelinek’s Sportsplay toured the UK during the 2012 Olympics and was read in its five-hour entirety as a Cultural Olympic Pop-Up event. She is a visiting lecturer on translation for performance at Goldsmith’s.

Her first original play Making Babies, An Embryonic Farce was translated into German and premiered in 2004 in Heilbronn, Germany; Sudden Silence at the Arcola Theatre in 2009. In 2018, the Gustav Klimt centenary year, the Belvedere Museum in Vienna commissioned her to write a one-woman play about Klimt’s life partner, Emilie Flöge.  Beloved Muse was performed at the Belvedere Museum in German and the English-language version toured internationally before coming to the Royal Academy of Arts and the Barbican. She followed this with Alma Who? about Alma Mahler, which toured Austria in the summer of 2021. Her third play for the same performer entitled Selfies with a Giantess will premiere in Vienna in May 2023. Her audio play Between Two Worlds, based on the book The Gift of Alzheimer’s by Maggie La Tourelle and starring Juliet Stephenson and Jane Lapotaire, will come out on Audible this summer.

Her work as a dramaturg includes the Barbican/ Sydney Theatre’s production of Julia Leigh’s Avalanche and working with Simon McBurney on his Magic Flute for the DNO/ENO.

Penny is currently working on her first novel.

More from Penny Black

Penny Black

Penny Black

Translator, Playwright, Novelist

Current Fellowship

Oxford Brookes University, 2023–2024

Posts

  • St Mary’s University, Twickenham, 2017–2018
  • Oxford Brookes University, 2015–2017