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Neil Blackadder


Neil Blackadder

Professor Emeritus of Theatre

2 East South Street

Galesburg, IL 61401-4999



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Ford Center for the Fine Arts

Professor Emeritus of Theatre

Neil Blackadder

General Interests
"Since the early 2000s, my work has been centered on the translation of contemporary drama from German and French. My translation of Swiss playwright Lukas Bärfuss' The Sexual Neuroses of Our Parents has been produced in London and several U.S. cities, and published by Nick Hern Books. In 2011 I received grants from PEN and from the Howard Foundation to translate several more plays by Bärfuss. My translation of hamlet is dead. no gravity by the Austrian writer Ewald Palmetshofer was produced in Chicago in 2014 and London in 2015. Other playwrights whose work I've translated include Maxi Obexer, and Thomas Arzt, and Rebekka Kricheldorf—whose Rosa and Blanca I directed at Knox in 2008. Meanwhile, I continue to pursue research as a theatre historian."

Years at Knox: 1998 to present


  • Ph.D., Comparative Literature, 1995, Princeton University.
  • M.A., Comparative Literature, 1989, University of California Los Angeles.
  • B.A., German and French, 1986, University of London, Goldsmiths' College.

Teaching Interests

  • European Theatre
  • Dramaturgy
  • Theatre History
  • Playwriting

Selected Professional Accomplishments

Knox Faculty Research / Creative Work Grant: Trips to Berlin, Connecticut and New York in connection with continuing translation work, 2016-2017.

Knox Faculty Research / Creative Work Grant: Production costs to produce short film, "Dad's Guns" and Theatre Tickets to see peers' work, 2016-2017.

Knox Faculty Research / Creative Work Grant: Continuing work on translating contemporary drama from German and French at the Banff Centre, 2016-2017.

Resident, Banff International Literary Translation Centre, 2008 and 2017.

Two Exceptional Achievement awards for faculty, Knox College, 2004 and 2013.

PEN Translation Fund Grant, 2011.

Fellowship, George A. and Eliza Gardner Howard Foundation, 2011-2012.

Resident, Ledig House International Writers Residency, Omi, New York, 2010.

"New US theatre translation network goes online," The Theatre Times, Dec. 4, 2016 Online.

"'The Best Contemporary Theatre is International': Plays in Translation on and off Broadway in the 1960s" in The Sixties, Center Stage: Mainstream and Popular Performances in a Turbulent Decade, edited by James M. Harding and Cindy Rosenthal. Ann Arbor: University of Michigan Press, 2017.

Maxi Obexer, "Glacier" ("Gletscher"), staged reading and published in Asymptote . Online. 3

Ewald Palmetshofer, "the unmarried woman" ("die unverheiratete"), staged reading at International Voices Project, Chicago, IL. 2016.

Maxi Obexer, "Illegal Helpers" ("Illegale Helfer"), presented in staged readings at Kennedy Center's Page-to-Stage New Plays Festival, Washington, D.C. September 2016, and at the Austrian Cultural Forum, New York, NY. March 2017.

"'The Best Contemporary Theatre is International': Plays in Translation On and Off Broadway in the 1960s," invited submission for The Sixties Center Stage, ed. James M. Harding and Cindy Rosenthal, University of Michigan Press, 2016.

"New US theatre translation network goes online," The Theatre Times, December 2016.

"Dad's Guns," in 24 Gun Control Plays, ed. Caridad Svich and Zac Kline (South Gate, CA: NoPassport Press, 2013): 11-21.

"Art and Morality: The Plays of Igor Bauersima and Rejane Desvignes," and translator (from German), Tattoo by Igor Bauersima and Réjane Desvignes, TheatreForum, 2009.

Translator (from German). The Sexual Neuroses of our Parents by Lukas Bärfuss. Nick Hern Books, 2007.

Performing Opposition: Modern Theater and the Scandalized Audience. Oxford: Praeger Publishers, 2003.

"The Art of Translating: Interpreting Cultures and Contexts," Silk Road Rising Theatre, staged reading of translation from German of Maxi Obexer's play Illegal Helpers, Chicago, IL. March 11-12, 2017.

"Collaborative Translation: On Translating for the Stage," Translation Seminar at the Institute for Advanced Study, Indiana University, Indianapolis, IN. April 17, 2017.

"On the Indistinct Boundary between Translation and Adaptation," working group on 'Translation, Adaptation, and Visibility,' American Society for Theatre Research Annual Conference, Minneapolis, MN. November 3-6, 2016.

"Dramatizing Islamophobia: Muslims, Demagogues, and Inciting Campus Discourse," Association for Theatre in Higher Education Conference, Chicago, IL. August 9-14, 2016.

"Theatre in Translation," Literary Managers and Dramaturgs of the Americas conference, Portland, OR. July 2016.

Staged readings of translation from German of Illegal Helpers by Maxi Obexer in New York, Chicago, and Washington, DC, 2016-17.

Panelist, "The Art of Translating: Interpreting Cultures and Context," Silk Road Rising, Chicago, March 2017

Staged readings of translation from German of the unmarried woman by Ewald Palmetshofer in New York and Chicago, 2015-16.

Translator (from German): hamlet is dead. no gravity by Ewald Palmetshofer, directed by Seth Bockley, Red Tape Theatre, Chicago, January-February 2014, and at Arcola Theatre, London, directed by Andrea Ferran, Sep. 2015.

Translator (from German): The Sexual Neuroses of our Parents by Lukas Bärfuss, Vertigo Theatre, Portland, OR, 2015, Electric Pear Productions, New York, 2008, Gate Theatre, London, 2007.

Campus & Community Involvement

  • Elected to Executive Committee, 2010, 2015.
  • Chair of FASCom, 2017-18.
  • Chair, Department of Theatre & Dance, 2007-2010, 2014-16.
  • London Director, "London & Florence: Arts in Context," ACM program, 2003 & 2007.

What Students Say

"Neil always makes time outside of class to help students with everything from play revisions to monologue coaching. He has a great ability to offer guidance in such a way that allows his students to own their ideas while pushing them to further develop and explore. I always leave conversations with Neil feeling that he genuinely listens and considers what I have to say. He truly cares about his students and has a subtle sense of humor that makes class discussions interesting. A demanding professor in the best sense of the word—Neil makes his students want to challenge themselves."
-Mikah Berky, Theatre Major and Creative Writing Minor

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Printed on Monday, May 23, 2022