CFP: Theatre and Spectatorship, 24th Annual CDE Conference, Barcelona, 4-7 June 2015

12 December, 2014

Please visit the conference website at:

The German Society for Contemporary Theatre and Drama in English (CDE) is pleased to announce its 24th Annual Conference (4-7 June 2015). It is organized by the Contemporary British Theatre Barcelona research group, based in the Department of English and German at the University of Barcelona, and will be held as a residential conference at Residència Salesiana Martí-Codolar in Barcelona.


The 2015 CDE conference addresses the ongoing debate on the activity of the spectator in relation to contemporary drama and theatre in English worldwide.

The spectator is “indispensable” to performance (Freshwater 2009: 2; Kennedy 2009: 3). However, as Dennis Kennedy argues, “a spectator is a corporeal presence but a slippery concept” (2009: 3), and the analysis of spectatorship and reception is fraught with theoretical and methodological difficulties. Susan Bennett’s seminal Theatre Audiences (1990) highlighted both the interest of theatre practitioners in the role of the spectator and its comparative scholarly neglect up to the 1980s, and contributed to a paradigm shift by focusing on “[the] productive and emancipated spectator” (1). Since then, there has been a gradual yet sustained increase in interventions in the field, starting off from the challenges posed by the terms ‘spectator’ and ‘audience’ themselves – which, with their emphases on ‘seeing’ and ‘hearing’ respectively, have long fed a discourse that links spectatorship with passivity, as Jacques Rancière notes and interrogates in The Emancipated Spectator (2009).

Continuing discussion of and research on audiences and spectatorial reception is essential to theatre studies. The 2015 CDE conference aims to reflect on theoretical, methodological and artistic work that may throw light on spectatorship in the context of contemporary theatre and drama in English.

We invite papers in English of 20 minutes length, with possible topics including (but not being limited to):

  • the intellectual, affective and corporeal dimensions of spectatorship

  • the politics and ethics of spectatorship: audience and community, gender-, race- and class-inflected spectatorship, the singular/plural spectator, ‘post-spectatorship’

  • spectatorship in postdramatic, participatory, immersive, site-specific and one-on-one theatre practices: possibilities and limitations

  • the dramaturgical and theatrical encoding of the spectator

  • audience research: methodologies, studies, archives and memory, impact on artistic practice, value and policy making

In accordance with CDE’s constitutional policy, papers should deal exclusively with contemporary (i.e. post- 1989) theatre and drama in English.


Abstracts:                                       Abstracts (300 words) of suggested papers (20 minutes delivery max.) should include a short biographical note plus full address and institutional affiliation.

Deadline:                        15 December 2014

Send to:                           Enric Monforte, Conference Secretary (

Further details:            Mireia Aragay, Conference Convenor (


N.B. Only paid-up members are eligible to give papers at CDE conferences. Membership subscriptions may be taken out or renewed during the conference. For details, please contact the treasurer, Monika Pietrzak-Franger (




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