Call for Seminar Participation:Acting Training in a Shifting World

13 January, 2015

CATR 2015

Invitation to a roundtable seminar at this years Meeting of the Canadian Association of Theatre Research, part of Congress for the Humanities taking place at the University of Ottawa from May 30 to June 5.


“Acting Training in a Shifting World:


Propositions for Change in Acting Curricula across Canada”


Call for Artists, Practitioners and Academics


The provocation of this year’s CATR organizers to engage with Bourdieu’s The Forms of Capital serves to stimulate our ongoing discussion about the state of acting training at Canadian institutions of higher education. While Bourdieu’s analysis wasn’t aimed directly at the performing arts, we wish to apply the notion of ‘cultural capital’ to the intangible art of acting. Is it useful for arts educators to think of our students or what they perform as products for sale in the marketplace? 

As a group of acting teachers we feel strongly that doing so both distorts the training process and reproduces the oppressive patterns intrinsic to the entertainment industry. We seek to elicit a substantial discussion among a group of acting and performance teachers that questions what we are teaching and why. We want to address notions of diversity: aesthetic, cultural, physical, sexual and gender-based. And we hope that by placing current acting training within Bourdieu’s definition of cultural capital we will arrive at a critique that might offer means for positive change.


Call for Participants:

 This is a call for artists, practitioners and academics who are involved in actor training and who share a desire to investigate critically the status quo and envision ways to initiate change. Those interested should send a 200-word abstract and a 200-word bio to Conrad Alexandrowicz and Ursula Neuerburg-Denzer at and no later than January 20, 2015.

Those selected to participate will be invited to submit short papers (1500 words), or short videos (10 min), or a combination of a paper with video or image support documenting their process, accompanied by a brief intro and a set of questions for discussion by April 20. There will be an online exchange prior to the seminar.


Suggested readings include:

  • Pierre Bourdieu’s The Forms of Capital;
  • CTR 160, Fall 2014, Actor Training edited by Diana Belshaw and David Fancy’ with Barry Freeman;
  • The Politics of American Actor Training, edited by Ellen Margolis and Lissa Tyler Renaud. Routledge, 2010.

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