News on 2013 ISTR Conference
"The Irish and The City"
Irish Society for Theatre Research Conference
Birkbeck, University of London
November 1-2, 2013
In his article 'The Right to the City', David Harvey suggests that cities are the outcome of values, desires and social relations: "The question of what kind of city we want cannot be divorced from that of what kind of social ties, relationship to nature, lifestyles, technologies and aesthetic values we desire." Given that theatres tend to be situated at the heart of cities, and are often important architectural and political features of the urban landscape, it is surprising that so little scholarly attention has been paid to the relationship between the Irish, the urban and the theatrical. Since De Valera's apocryphal 'comely maidens', Irish performance has more often been focused on the depiction of rural crossroads rather than on the ring roads, motorways, railways and airports that lead the modern visitor to the cities that host these performances.
Recent scholarship has argued however, that the urban environment in which theatre takes place is crucial for comprehending how performance works within the city, and on the city, as Michael McKinnie has argued: "space is not simply the pre-existing context for theatre practice […] but a series of places through which theatrical and spatial forms are mutually constituted." The role that theatre and cultural performance have played in imagining, shaping and producing 'Irish' cities is therefore worthy of consideration - not only in relation to the cities of the island of Ireland, but equally in the major metropolitan centres that were sometimes literally built by the Irish - Liverpool, London, New York, Boston, Toronto, Sydney, Auckland, and so on.
This conference aims to pay attention to the depiction of the urban landscape in Irish theatre, to the relationship between cultural performance and cities, and to emphasise the ways in which the performance of Irishness has been constituted, imagined and received within the structures of funding, urban planning, spatial politics, metropolitanism, cultural capital, neoliberalism and so on.
The conference invites proposals (and ideas for panels) from all aspects of theatre research but with emphasis on the following questions:
Proposals on other topics in the field of Irish theatre (not just plays by Irish authors but the full range of performances that are produced in Ireland and around the world under the rubric of 'Irishness') are also welcome.
Only members of the ISTR may present papers at the conference. Membership application forms will be available during the event.
Please include with your proposal your name and institutional affiliation (if any).
CDE 2013, Prague
Thursday 30th May - Sunday 2nd June 2013
Ondrej Pilný and Clare Wallace (Charles University)
a public and communal art form, theatre has long been understood as a
space for the exploration and performance of power, protest,
intervention and identity. While debates around theatre and politics may
be as old as theatre itself, both terms must be recognized as moving
targets. The heritage of Brecht and the history of activist theatres of
the 1960s and 1970s meet crucial challenges in the late twentieth and
early twenty-first century. Amelia Howe Kritzer's concluding chapter to
Political Theatre in Post-Thatcher Britain (2008) points to one of the
most pervasive of these challenges at the turn of the century: that of
postmodern detachment from the political. The post-89 political arena
has featured an alleged "end of history", followed by the inauguration
of an age of terrorist threat to the repercussions of globalized
neoliberal policies; it presents a complex and contradictory field of
engagement, one in which community has been etiolated, and in which
activism or intervention may seem naïve or pointless. What does
political engagement mean to theatre practitioners in the twenty-first
The 2013 CDE conference aims to investigate the relations between the political and the theatrical in this recent context, to explore the enactment, representation or interrogation of community in performance, the nature of intervention both creative and critical.
We invite papers in English of 20 minutes length. Possible topics include (but are not limited to):
• Theatre as criticism
Contact: Clare Wallace email@example.com
Venue: Masarykova kolej (Masarykova residence, Czech Technical University) Thákurova 1, Praha 6
PAST ISTR CONFERENCES
The 2012 ISTR Conference, National University of Ireland, Galway, 26-28 October 2012
The 2011 ISTR Conference, University of Pécs, Hungary, 29-30 April 2011
The 2010 ISTR Symposium, Trinity College Dublin, 22-24 April 2010
The 2009 ISTR Symposium, IT Sligo, 8-9 May 2009
The 2008 ISTR Symposium, UCD Blackrock, 4-5 April 2008
The 2007 ISTR Symposium, Queens University Belfast, 13-14 April 2007