The Theatrical Event

Call for papers for the meeting in Shanghai 8-12 July 2019

 Theatrical Event Working Group

Call for Papers: Shanghai 2019


Theatrical Events?

What more is there to say about Theatrical Events after 22 years of annual Working Group meetings, intensive discussions and criticism, and five book publications? Well, the present group members are convinced that the idea of theatre and performance as event still offers theoretical perspectives and analytical tools of surprising quality and value. Therefore we would like to invite new participants and former members of the group to contribute fresh suggestions and future directions for the meeting in Shanghai in 2019.

Contributions may deal with any kind of historical or contemporary theatrical event in the broadest sense, i.e. from traditional theatre performances to installations, rituals and ceremonies, festivals, concerts, games etc. The point of departure should always be a particular event described and analysed from a specific perspective: its conventions, organisation, time and place, the encounter between performers and spectators or the general character of playing. In all cases, cultural and other key contexts should be taken into consideration. 

Contributors are expected to get familiar with the books the Working Group has published, in particular some of the theoretical ideas and models which were presented in Theatrical Events (2004), Festivalising! (2007) and Playing Culture (2014); a book on Theatre Scandals will be published in 2019 and another book on Contexts is in preparation.

Contributions for the Shanghai conference should make explicit theoretical frames and chosen perspectives, conceived as a work-in-progress, no more than 3-4000 words, with a clear idea but ample room for revisions and additions. Once the abstract has been accepted, the first version of the paper should be distributed among the group’s members about 3 weeks before the meeting. Since everyone has read all the papers when we see each other, the meeting is mainly devoted to constructive discussions that should enable the authors to continue the development of their ideas and writing of a final text that will be discussed again at the Working Group meeting in 2020.

The convenors are happy to answer your questions and give advice concerning the procedures and the expectations we have towards new members in the group.

So, please feel welcome to join the Working Group exploring The Theatrical Event.


Convenor: Prof. Vicki Cremona:

Co-Convenor: Dr. Naphtaly Shem-Tov: 


Research interests and publications of the Theatrical Event working group 

The Theatrical Event Working group was established in Puebla, Mexico in 1997. The following quotation from our book, Theatrical Events, Borders, Dynamics, Frames (2004) indicates the key terms of our work: 

When we speak about a Theatrical Event, we think of someone doing something, ostentatiously enough to be distinguished from everyday life. To mark an event as theatrical, the distinction from other kinds of doings might be more important than its content. The distinction is twofold: on the one hand there is someone who does something in a different way than in regular life; on the other hand, there is also someone who sees and acknowledges this difference. Furthermore, both the doer and the observer have some idea that the possibility of such a distinction indicates that the doings during a theatrical event are different from similar actions outside a theatrical event. Theatre becomes theatre by being an event, in which two partners engage in a playful relationship. (2004: 11) 

The group has published three books in the Rodopi/IFTR series 'Themes in Theatre – Collective Approaches to Theatre and Performance':

  • Theatrical Events. Borders, Dynamics, Frames, edited by Vicki Ann Cremona, Peter Eversmann, Hans van Mannen, Willmar Sauter and John Tulloch. Amsterdam: Rodopi, 2004. This book contains theories and methodologies that allow the reader to understand the concepts behind what is meant by 'theatrical event'. Details here.
  • Festivalising! Theatrical Events, Politics and Culture, edited by Temple Hauptfleisch, Shulamith Lev-aladgem, Jacqueline Martin, Willmar Sauter and Henri Schoenmakers. Amsterdam: Rodopi, 2007. Details here.
  • Playing Culture. Conventions and Extensions of Performance, edited by Vicki Ann Cremona, Rikard Hoogland, Gay Morris, Willmar Sauter. Amsterdam: Rodopi, 2014.
  • Poetics of Playing. Fictionality, Reality and Playing in between, Nordic Theatre Studies, Vol. 26, No. 1, 2014. Edited by Anneli Saro, Ulla Kallenbach, Rikard Hoogland.



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