All Calls for Papers

Theatre, Performance and Urbanism

8th July – 12th July 2019, Shanghai Theatre Academy, Shanghai, China

Deadline for abstract submission: 14 January, 2019

Abstract submission via Cambridge Core. Submissions will be accepted from 9 October, 2018.

Please direct any questions you may have about the conference to

The upcoming IFTR Conference will be held at the Shanghai Theatre Academy from 8 to 12 July, 2019, in Shanghai, China. We sincerely invite you to participate in the conference and exchange ideas on the theme Theatre, Performance, and Urbanism.

Urbanism is a population shift from rural to urban areas. To speak of urbanism is not only to speak of the development of cities but also about new ways of life. Urbanism plays a key role in a range of disciplines, including geography, sociology, economics, urban planning, and public health. The development of theatre is inseparable from the process of urbanization. The changing urban city affects theatrical and performance spaces, styles, contents, and audiences. Theatre plays an important role in the processes of development and nation-building, and it also participates in shaping the cultural image in urban areas.

The process of urbanization -- the rural-to-city path of migration and the growth of cities -- was a global trend in the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries in the West, but in China, as a developing country, we are still experiencing this process and face a complex situation in the twenty-first century. This might be a similar situation for most developing countries in the world, and some developed countries may still be dealing with problematic consequences resulting from their own histories of urbanization.

Regarding urbanism as the background for the continuing development of theatre, we invite inquiry not only into the transformation and development of theatre from rural areas to the cities, but also into the challenging balance between the past and the present, intangible cultural heritage -- which includes most ancient and traditional theatres -- and contemporary theatre and performance.

In this regard, at this year’s IFTR conference we welcome papers that explore all aspects of theatre, performance, and urbanism. We especially welcome proposals that focus on the relationship between the development of theatre and the retention of performance traditions. Other possible topics include, but are not limited to:

  • Theatre, Performance, and Popular Culture
  • Theatre, Performance, and Populations
  • Theatre, Performance, and Cultural Policy
  • Cross-Cultural and Intercultural Theatre and Performance
  • Theatre, Performance, and New Media
  • Theatre, Performance, and Urban Space
  • The Diversity of Theatre in Modern Cities
  • Theatre, Performance, and Intangible Cultural Heritage
  • Urban Areas and Local Theatre
  • Traditional and Avant-garde Theatre and Performance
  • Post-dramatic Theatre, Urban Performance, and New Citizens
  • Tourism, Theatre, and Performance
  • Demolish or Rebuild: Historic Theatres in Modern Cities

 If you would like to participate at the IFTR 2019, you can submit your abstract to one of the following program sections:

- General Panels

- New Scholars’ Forum

- Working Groups

 All abstract submissions are made through the Cambridge Core website. However, in order to make a submission you will need to become a member of IFTR, first.

If you have already have a Cambridge Core account, you can download instructions on how to join IFTR here.

If you do not have a Cambridge Core account, you can download instructions on how to join IFTR here.

General Panel

If you would like to submit a paper for consideration for one of the General Panels, the abstracts should respond to the theme of the conference, which this year is Theatre, Performance and Urbanism.

General Panels are typically composed of three independently proposed papers that share some common aspect (theme, methodology, area of inquiry, geographical focus, etc.). The Conference Organisers make every effort to match papers into coherent panels chaired by scholars versed in the field, therefore it is very important that the abstract you submit clearly reflects the central topic and/or methodology of your paper.

Each General Panel session lasts for 1h 30 min, it runs concurrently with other General Panels at the conference, and is open to all conference participants. Each panelist is given a 20 min time to present their paper, including any audio-visual or practical demonstration, plus an additional 10 min for Q&A with the audience.

The deadline for submissions: 7 January, 2019

Abstracts must be submitted via the Cambridge Core website, where you’ll first be prompted to join or renew your IFTR membership.

New Scholars' Forum

The New Scholars’ Forum, first organised in Canterbury in 1998, is a highlight of IFTR’s annual conferences. The Forum aims to give new scholars and especially doctoral students an opportunity to present their research in a supportive environment that also encourages lively debate. To this end, forum sessions will be chaired by an experienced academic and scheduled to avoid overlap with general conference panels so that all delegates can attend. The Forum also provides an excellent opportunity to make contacts with other new scholars.

Papers for this forum do not need to follow the specific themes given for the annual conferences, and while they are expected to be shorter than papers in regular sessions, the time allocated for response is longer. Each participating scholar will be given 10 minutes to present his/her paper to allow maximum discussion and feedback.

Abstracts should give a brief account of a research project and outline the methodology, sources and conceptual approach. Please state clearly that the paper is proposed for the New Scholars’ Forum. New Scholars may participate in the Forum a maximum of three times in different annual conferences, after which they should consider joining an IFTR working group and/or presenting a paper in one of the main panel sessions.

Students and early-career researchers wanting to present their work in the Forum are invited to send an abstract of no more than 300 words by 7 January, 2019

Abstracts should be submitted via the Cambridge Core website, where you’ll first be prompted to join or renew your IFTR membership.

 To find out more about the New Scholars’ Forum, take a look at the relevant pages on the IFTR website:

Working Groups

Working Groups lie at the heart of the Federation’s scholarly exchanges. The purpose of these on-going groups is to provide sustained scholarly dialogue and continuity of exchange over time. Meeting at the yearly conferences, but sometimes in between as well, the Working Groups generally develop a programme of research on the topic of their choice. Memberships are fluid, but a core of long-term members provides the critical continuity and on-going developmental leadership. If you’d like further information about the Working Groups, please visit the relevant pages on the IFTR website

 The deadline for submissions for Working Groups is 7 January, 2019. Abstracts must be submitted via the Cambridge Core website, where you’ll first be prompted to join or renew your IFTR membership.


All Working Groups meeting at the 2019 World Congress are listed below.


- Samuel Beckett

- Translation, Adaptation and Dramaturgy

- Historiography

- Theatrical Event

- Digital Humanities in Theatre Research

- Embodied Research

- Performance as Research

- Procéssus de Création

- Performance and Consciousness

- Choreography and Corporeality

- Music Theatre

- Scenography

- Intermediality in Theatre and Performance

- Theatre Architecture

- Political Performances

- Feminist Research

- Popular Entertainments

- Arabic Theatre

- African and Caribbean Theatre and Performance

- Asian Theatre

- Queer Futures

- Performance, Religion and Spirituality

- Performance in Public Spaces

- Performance and Disability


For any further questions concerning the congress, please contact the organizers:



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