The Irish Society for Theatre Research 2014 Conference

07 January, 2014

Drama and Theatre Studies, School of Music and Theatre,

University College Cork






Friday 23rd and Saturday 24th May 2014



The 2014 annual Irish Society for Theatre Research conference will be hosted by Drama and Theatre Studies at the School of Music and Theatre, University College Cork, Ireland. The theme of this year’s conference is ‘Consciousness and Cognition – Theatre Practice and Performance’.


Confirmed keynote speakers


  • Kristin Linklater, vocal coach, acting teacher, Head of Acting (Theatre Arts Division, Columbia University)
  • Bruce McConachie (Chair, Professor/Director of Graduate Studies, Theatre Arts, University of Pittsburgh)


Conference description and call for papers:


In the sciences and humanities, in the performing arts and digital media, the late twentieth and early twenty-first centuries have ushered in a wave of renewed interest in pivotal questions surrounding consciousness and mind. Cartesianism, the belief that mind and corporeal body are mutually exclusive, has long been superseded but we are still absorbed in questions such as: What is consciousness? What is mind? What is the relation between mind and consciousness? What is the relation between mind and body? How does the body think? These lines of enquiry are now just as important to those in theatre research, theatre practice and performance as they are they are to those in cognitive science and its associated disciplines. In books such as Performance and Cognition: Theatre studies and the cognitive turn (2006) and Theatre and Mind (2013) Bruce McConachie and other international researchers have initiated conversations between theatre/performance scholarship and cognitive science. Since Stanislavski’s investigations into the relationship between body and mind, meanwhile, a variety of theatre practitioners and theorists have been adopting a cognitive scientific approach to their work. Examples include, voice specialist Kristin Linklater’s seminal work Freeing the Natural Voice which draws on new insights from neuroscientists such as Antonio Damasio into mind, emotions, body, and consciousness; Phillip Zarrilli’s theories on acting which focus on embodied consciousness and the performative moment; and Katie Mitchell’s research into neuroscience and the physiology of emotions which replace psychology as her key point of reference as a theatre director.


In keeping with this the 2014 conference of the Irish Society for Theatre Research offers a wide platform for discussion, performance, practical workshops and keynote lectures. We invite proposals for papers/practice based presentations which explore drama, theatre, performance, practice, and spectating through the lens of cognitive science or its associated disciplines:- psychology, philosophy, neuroscience, anthropology, linguistics, artificial intelligence, education. We encourage submissions on international as well as Irish theatre and performance and other related topics are also welcome.


Only members of the ISTR may present papers at the conference. Membership application forms will be available during the event. Please send a short (max 300 words) proposal to the conference organizers by email to on or before 14th February 2014. Please include with your proposal your name and institutional affiliation (if any) and AV requirements for presentation.

Organizing committee: Dr. Bernadette Cronin, Dr. Marie Kelly, Dr. Roísín O’Gorman, Drama and Theatre Studies, School of Music and Theatre, University College Cork.


For more information, as it is released, please visit the conference webpage:


ISTR 2014 is generously supported by:

  • Research and Innovation (UCC)
  • Department of Drama and Theatre Studies (UCC)
  • School of Music and Theatre (UCC)
  • College of Arts, Celtic Studies and the Social Sciences (UCC)



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