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Call for papers

Redefining Theatre Communities. Community Perspectives in Contemporary Theatre-making

University of Malta, 14-16 September 2015

Confirmed Keynote Speaker: Prof Mark O’Thomas (University of Lincoln)

Organisers: New Tides Platform (UK) and Department of Theatre Studies, University of Malta

In the last two decades, a series of financial, social, demographic – and not least – cultural transformations altered the relationship between theatres and the communities surrounding them. The changes were manifested on core levels of theatrical creation: in new or (re)emerging theatrical forms and practices, modes of reception, and on levels of theatre structures as well.

The public theatre structure faced profound challenges throughout Europe. Public theatres are expected to serve a wide range of audiences as well as to contribute to artistic innovation and community linkage. Around them the social patterns are continuously changing, as do demographies in the urban landscape of the European cities, created by increased mobility and migration. Addressing different communities with various cultural and social backgrounds is increasingly important and needs to be reflected on both creative and organisational levels. Reaching out to more and diverse audiences inevitably involves a more community-conscious artistic thinking.

As a result, socially engaged theatre productions feature more prominently on theatre programmes across Europe, verbatim or documentary theatre also gains ground, though often through independent/alternative companies, while community theatre initiatives are strongly emerging alongside (even instead of) public theatres.

Addressing, involving, representing and thematising particular communities or community-specific issues (historical events etc.) became a key element of the theatrical landscape across Europe. New forms of contemporary theatre-making also shifted the modes of reception towards a more comprehensive involvement in the performance event. A more participatory stance is expected from the theatregoer.

The symposium intends to map the new forms of communication, dialogue and engagement by which contemporary theatre connects with its various communities. We invite and encourage contributions that explore contemporary dramaturgies of interplay between theatre practices and communities; the aesthetic, social and cultural aspects of community-conscious theatre practices; recent transformations in organisational, textual/literary and theatrical/performative conventions and traditions; and changes in the modes of production and spectatorship in relation to the above concerns.

Subjects may include, but are not limited to:

• Dramaturgies of socially engaged theatre • Translation and adaptation aspects of community-oriented theatre-making • Ideologies and politics of representing communities in theatre productions • Local and global perspectives in contemporary theatre-making • Theatres and theatre practices on the borderline between different cultural and theatrical traditions • Minority perspectives in contemporary theatre • New ways of building theatrical communities • Community-focused repertoires • Curatorial practices and community viewpoints

We welcome paper, session and workshop proposals from scholars, theatre practitioners, dramaturgs, translators, theatre critics, cultural managers, theatre curators and producers. Please send abstracts of 250-300 words accompanied by a short biographical note to both Szabolcs Musca ( and Marco Galea ( by 30 March 2015.


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