Whither Political Theatre? Cambridge Conference for a Poetics of Critical Political Theatre in Europe

28 May, 2014

Call for Papers


Whither political theatre?

Cambridge Conference for a Poetics of Critical Political Theatre in Europe

Faculty of English, Cambridge, and St John’s College, Cambridge
19-20 September 2014


This conference is concerned with the state and direction of contemporary political theatre in Europe after 2000, initiating a re-engagement with the aesthetics and politics debates of Bloch, Lukács, Benjamin, Brecht and Adorno and with their legacies. While calling for critical reflection on the relationship of contemporary theatre with politics, sociology, education and the public sphere, we ask how contemporary plays and theatre practices can contribute to developing autonomy, critical responsibility and political awareness towards building solidarity and inclusive communities.
We welcome proposals for papers that suggest possibilities of developing and interrogating a post-Brechtian aesthetics of critical political theatre in intranational, international, and transcultural drama and theatre practices in Europe. According to David Barnett, Brecht’s dialectical worldview ‘is political because it proposes that both human behaviour and society are unfixed, a relationship which affects the exercise of power.’ He argues that the post-Brechtian ‘has at its core both a dissatisfaction with the narrowness of the Brechtian dialectic and a desire to expand its remit to address concrete social problems.’ Abstracts submitted should offer both this dissatisfaction and this desire towards theorising a poetics of political theatre.
Limited places are available for British Academy current and former PDFs, early career research fellows, postgraduate students, and senior scholars. Abstracts of 200 words and short biographies should be emailed to both Dr Eva Urban (Clare Hall, Cambridge) on eku22@cam.ac.uk and Dr Drew Milne (Corpus Christi College, Cambridge) on agm33@cam.ac.uk by 1 July. We will contact you with a decision by 15 July. Please also email us if you wish to attend without giving a paper.


This event is sponsored by the British Academy as a BA Regional Research Event.


BA Champion: Professor John Kerrigan, FBA, St John’s College, Cambridge


Stay up to date with the IFTR Weekly Digest