Reminder: CFP: Theatre Architecture Working Group FIRT/IFTR 2015 University of Hyderabad, India

21 January, 2015

Call for Papers

Theatre Architecture Working Group

FIRT/IFTR 2015, Hyderabad, India

5 - 10 July, 2015


Deadline for Proposals: 31 January 2015



The Theatre Architecture Working Group of the International Federation for Theatre Research (IFTR) invites paper proposals for our forthcoming meeting at the IFTR annual conference in Hyderabad, India, in July 2015. The aim of the Working Group is to explore all that theatre architecture has been historically, is at present, and might be in the future, and to articulate the many contemporary sites of exchange between the fields of theatre, performance and architecture. We now invite contributions that address the theme of Interdisciplinary Practice. We will be using the meeting as an opportunity to gather research, which we hope to publish in a special issue of a peer-reviewed journal and/or in a peer-reviewed essay collection. In particular, we welcome contributions from scholars and practitioners whose work closely addresses one of the following sets of concerns:


1. Theatre Architecture and Performance Space

What are the key contemporary developments in the design of architecture for theatre and performance? How have European theatre typologies been adapted, appropriated or contested by indigenous or local cultural concerns? We invite critical case studies and broader arguments about built, unbuilt or speculative projects, including new readings of historic theatres and arguments about theatre architecture and performance space today. Topics might include (but need not be limited to):

- new or planned theatre projects - especially from South and East Asia

- re-readings of historic theatre architecture in the light of recent theory (e.g. spatial theory and/or post-postivist theatre historiography)

- theories and arguments about historic preservation, conservation or the renovation of theatre buildings

- theatre buildings as drivers for urban regeneration

- questions about the relevance of the traditional playhouse in the twenty-first century

- traditional versus modern, contemporary and/or experimental designs for theatres

- dominant traditions, local traditions and questions of cultural influence and/or appropriation



2. The Architectural in Theatre/Performance Practice

How are practitioners exploring the links between structure, form, materiality, the built environment and spatial narrative? Where might we locate the architectural and architectonic in theatre and performance practice? We invite studies of theatre or performance practices that closely engage, radically undermine, critically re-examine or nakedly depend on architecture for their meaning and value. Topics might include (but need not be limited to):

- appropriations of architectural concepts and practices to performance-making (e.g. notions of construction or ‘constructedness’ in performance, dramaturgy, or devised performance practice)

- collaborations between performance-makers and architects

- performance-installation and other examples of architecture as drama

- spatial dramaturgies in performance (e.g. immersive or promenade

- performances where the logic is spatial rather than chronological)

- choreographic tools that engage with the ‘architecture’ of movement (e.g. US choreographer William Forsythe’s ‘choreographic objects’)

- spatial experimentation and/or the re-structuring of performer-spectator roles (e.g. Bengali playwright and director Badal Sarkar)

- discussion of the materiality of theatre/performance

- examples of ‘critical spatial practice’ as it manifests within theatre/performance

- site-specific theatre and/or found space theatres


3. Performativity and/or Theatricality in Architecture

What are the strengths and limitations of ‘performance architecture’ as distinct from ‘performative architecture’? What methodologies, ideologies and effects are beginning to attach to these two strands of performance-influenced architecture practice? What do we mean when we speak of theatricality in architecture? Is ‘theatrical’ architecture simply that which is highly decorated or flamboyant, or are there other ways of understanding theatricality in relation to the built environment? How are these issues and practices understood outside of US/European contexts? Where next for architecture that is performatively or theatrically inclined? Topics might include (but need not be limited to):

- architectural practices that employ performance methodologies and/or performativity and/or theatricality to transform our experiences in and of the built environment

- theories of rasa, embodied practice and architecture as ritual performance (from the ancient Sanskrit Natya Sastra to modern and contemporary contexts)

- theories of theatricalism and/or theatricality in architecture

- analogies between the architectural and theatrical spectator/participant

- performance architecture

- performative architectures

- applications of performance theory and/or practice in architecture

- buildings and the performance of power

- architecture’s attention to the body and/or lived experience and/or ideas about event-space, narrative, drama, agency, improvisation, temporality, iconicity and affect

- spatial dramaturgies and other playful practices in architecture and/or urban planning which refigure space and form by enacting them differently

- discussion of temporality or ephemerality in architecture

- examples of ‘critical spatial practice’ as it manifests within architecture



Submission Procedures

Abstracts should be submitted through the IFTR’s online system, which contains detailed instructions. Please visit and send a back-up copy to the Working Group co-convenors.

The deadline for submission of abstracts is 31 January 2015.

Additional information such as the form the proposed submission will take, or information about restrictions to your availability over the course of the IFTR World Congress, should be included on the online form under ‘equipment required’ and must be discussed (via email) with the Working Group co-convenors.


About the IFTR Theatre Architecture Working Group

The purpose of the Theatre Architecture Working Group is to explore all that theatre architecture has been historically, is at present, and might be in the future. We consider built projects alongside unbuilt or speculative architectures, studying these from a wide range of practical and theoretical perspectives. We continue to investigate the ways in which space can be manipulated to bring performers and spectators into dynamic relationship inside traditional theatre auditoria, while also asking how else the disciplines of theatre and architecture inter-sect. Over the next four years, we will be focusing on three major strands of enquiry: a) theatre projects (especially those that provide insights into performing arts venues beyond Europe and North America); b) inter-disciplinary practices (including performance practices that closely engage with, radically undermine, critically re-examine or nakedly depend on architecture for their meaning and value, and architectural practices which employ performance, performativity and/or theatricality to transform our experiences of the built environment); c) inter-disciplinary pedagogies (especially those driven by the question of what is gained for students of one discipline in the encounter between that discipline and the other). We seek to develop theoretical paradigms appropriate to theatre and architecture and to the relationship between them – articulating the many contemporary sites of exchange between these fields and re-examining historical encounters in the light of recent developments in spatial theory, architecture theory and practice, and performance studies.


Working Group Co-convenors

Dr. Juliet Rufford:

Dr. Andrew Filmer:


Our Process

The Theatre Architecture Working Group is currently composed of scholars and practitioners of both disciplines from Australia, Brazil, Chile, England, Greece, Holland, Turkey, the United States, and Wales. It works by circulating papers (of approximately 3,500 words) to members in advance of the conference. Those who have circulated papers are invited to speak for around 15 minutes after which time the whole group enters into discussion and Q&A on that paper. This format is structured to encourage in-depth exchange and a constructive and supportive ‘workshopping’ of members’ papers.

The full text of your paper should be emailed to the Working Group co-convenors by Sunday 7 June 2015 for uploading into the Working Group’s Dropbox. For further information please do not hesitate to contact the co-convenors. You are reminded that in order to present your paper it is necessary to formally submit your abstract according to the guidelines on the conference website, register and pay for the conference and buy membership of IFTR. IFTR operates a banding system and a number of concessions - please explore your options by browsing the IFTR / IFTR 2015, Hyderabad webpages.

In addition to the group’s regular sessions, the co-convenors will pick three papers that seem productively inter-related to form a Theatre Architecture Working Group-sponsored panel within the conference’s general programme. The panel will represent the Working Group. If you do not wish to be chosen to be part of this panel, please indicate your wishes to the co-convenors. (Panelists would still attend the working group meetings and contribute to all WG discussions.)


Stay up to date with the IFTR Weekly Digest