lThe sixth annual Trend season of plays by new British writers performed by Italian theatre companies is now under way at Teatro Belli, produced by Rodolfo di Giammarco and promoted by the British Council.

This seasons productions include Bear Hug by Robin French, a black comedy about anxious parents whose teenage son has turned into a bear; Peter Harness Mongoose, a monologue by an eccentric old farmer who suffers psychotic delusions; and Take Me Away by Gerald Murphy, a portrait of a dysfunctional Irishman and his equally dysfunctional sons.

In addition to these works by the new generation of British playwrights, Howard Barkers play Dead Hands, an exploration of bereavement and sexual imagination, will be performed in Italy for the first time.

The Trend season runs until 2 May at Teatro Belli, Piazza S. Apollonia 11/a (in Trastevere). For more information tel. 065894875.

South African playwright and novelist Damon Galgut will be at the British Council on 7 April to discuss his book The Good Doctor, which was shortlisted for the 2003 Man Booker prize. The novel explores an uneasy friendship in a hospital in post-apartheid South Africa and has recently been published in Italy by Guanda as Il buon dottore.

The British Council is also promoting a concert by composer Jocelyn Pook, who wrote the scores to Stanley Kubricks Eyes Wide Shut and the new film adaptation of The Merchant of Venice starring Al Pacino. Pook has worked with a wide range of musicians including Massive Attack, Ryuichi Sakamoto and Peter Gabriel, both as a solo artist and with her ensemble Electric Strings.

On 20 April Pook will stage a concert at the Auditorium-Parco della Musica featuring Natacha Atlas, daughter of an English mother and Middle Eastern father who found fame as an Arabic singer with Transglobal Underground. The music will include previews of tracks from the album Adams Lullaby, a collaboration between the two women set for release later this year.

British Council, Via delle Quattro Fontane 20, tel. 06478141,

l The importance of dreams and sleep in Greco-Roman culture will be the subject of a conference at the American Academy and the Swiss Institute from 13-15 April. Scholars from the United States, Switzerland, Italy and Israel will discuss the study of dreams in antiquity from a variety of perspectives, as well as other aspects of the night, including insomnia and nightmares.

Sub imagine somni: Night-time phenomena in Greco-Roman culture takes place at the American Academy on 13 April, 18.30-19.30, and 15 April, 09.00-19.30, and at the Swiss Institute on 14 April, 09.00-19.30. For more information tel. 065846459.

American Academy, Via A. Masina 5, tel. 0658461,

Swiss Institute, Villa Maraini, Via Ludovisi 48, tel. 064814234.

l Documentary-maker Marco Bertozzi, whose work centres on urban imagery and cultural identities, will be showing a film about Rome entitled Appunti Romani at the American Academy on 26 April. Bertozzi, professor of cinematography at the Universit degli Studi Roma Tre, describes his montage of material from documentary archives as a film that uses cinema as a cultural asset, a precious source for a continuous (visual) rewriting of 20th-century history, at once intimate and social. Appunti Romani will be screened in Italian with English subtitles at 18.00.

Also at the American Academy this month will be Nobel Prize-winning physicist Murray Gell-Mann, who discovered the quark, the basic building block of all atomic nuclei throughout the universe, and author of popular science book The Quark and the Jaguar: Adventures in the Simple and the Complex.

Professor Gell-Mann is currently investigating the similarities and differences among complex adaptive systems systems that learn or evolve by using acquired information. These include a child learning his or her native language, a strain of bacteria becoming resistant to an antibiotic and the scientific community testing new theories. His lecture Simplicity, Complexity, Regularity and Randomness will be at 18.00 on 28 April.

For more information on either of these events tel. 065846459.

American Academy, Via A. Masina 5, tel. 0658461,

l Juli Zeh, author of the bestselling novel Eagles and Angels, will be discussing her work at the Goethe Institut on 14 April to mark the books publication in Italy by Fazi Editore.

Described as a combination of love story and crime thriller, Eagles and Angels is a tale of cocaine, passion and political corruption that finds Max probing into the past of his criminal girlfriend Jessie, who shot herself while speaking to him on the phone. Zeh, a former law student who has worked for the United Nations in New York, Krakow and Zagreb, will be talking to Monica Capuani from 18.00.

The Goethe Institut will also host an exhibition of photographs by Ursula Wevers entitled Zwischen frher oder spter. Wevers, who is best-known for her work with the late television artist Gerry Schum, focuses on the differences between photography and cinema as media. The exhibition is open 20 April-21 May, Tues-Fri 14.00-20.00, Sat 10.00-12.00.

At the same time an artwork by Jan Leven will go on display in the institutes garden. Acht-Raum is described as an architectural sculpture composed of eight trapezoidal elements that rise to meet an octagonal crown, a piece that is open to the space in which it stands while remaining essentially itself. Acht-Raum can be seen 20 April-21 May, Tues-Fri 09.00-20.00, Sat 09.00-13.00.

Goethe Institut, Via Savoia 15, tel. 068440051,

l The Goethe Institut is just one of many foreign cultural academies and institutes that will be taking part in Romes annual photography festival, which this year runs 8 April-29 May. Entitled Oriented, the 2005 edition will give special attention to photography from countries such as China, Japan and India, in exhibitions staged at venues across the city. For more information see