Political Performances Working Group (PPWG)

Political Performances Working Group (PPWG)

The Political Performances WG is concerned with all aspects of political engagement within theatre and performance. From its foundation in 2003, the group has met at every IFTR annual conference, welcoming members from all continents to discuss research and practice of political significance.


Mission Statement

The group seeks to address the relation between theatre, performance and politics in the widest possible sense. Topics discussed range from theory to practice; from historical accounts to current case studies; from local and regional performances to general concepts and forms of political (re)presentation in performance; from feminism and post-colonialism to applied and community work, and from education and therapy to propaganda and censorship. Within this broad thematic reach (which does not necessarily follow the subject of each IFTR conference), PPWG strives to promote dialogue at a specialist level, which may take the form of research clusters around specific areas.


Convenors 2018-2021

Julia Boll, Universität Konstanz: j.boll@uni-konstanz.de

Cristina Delgado-García, University of Glasgow: cristina.delgadogarcia@gmail.com 

Trish Reid, Kingston University: P.Reid@kingston.ac.uk


Conference Reports

Belgrade 2018 

Trish Reid, Julia Boll and Cristina Delgado-García took up PPWG convenorship in late 2017, with Cristina as lead convenor for the group's meeting in Belgrade. The PPWG received 70 abstracts for the 2018 conference. We were able to host 23 presentations in the PPWG sessions and 13 in PPWG-curated/sponsored panels within the general schedule, all of which were very well attended. In our business meeting, the working group size was discussed again, but members agreed that the variety of approaches to political performances within the group is fruitful. Members were updated about the volume recording the work of the PPWG during 2014-2017 cycle, led by Paola Botham and Lloyd Peters. The collection is forthcoming with Brill as part of their series Themes in Theatre, which is published in association with IFTR. Finally, we agreed to consult all our members with regards to: (1) pre-circulation of drafts prior to the next annual meeting, (2) capping of papers accepted if numbers continue to grow, and (3) strands of work proposed for Shanghai 2019.


Sao Paulo 2017

The group received 22 paper proposals, of which 13 – from eight different countries – were presented at the conference, followed by lively and enriching discussions. One of the issues addressed during the business meeting was the (large) size of the group, which is considered a strength but does impose certain operational restrictions. Most members who were present at the meeting agreed on a continuation of a generally inclusive approach and a flexible 'policy' towards paper submission and presentation. There was a desire to keep PPWG sessions open to non-members, which implies that presentations should be accessible to those who have not read papers in advance, even when time may be limited to 15 or 10 minutes per speaker (depending on the number of papers accepted at a specific conference). A strong aspiration was expressed to create a permanent communication platform for the group, with password-protected areas. A new team of convenors, to be elected in 2017, will take this forward, as well as the organisation of the next meeting in Belgrade 2018.


Stockholm 2016

The group received a record number of proposals for this meeting. A total of 34 papers were presented, 22 during our own sessions and 12 in general panels, including the PPWG-sponsored panel ‘A Turning Point in Theatre History? War, Spectacle and the 21st-Century UK Stage’, which was exceptionally well attended. To deal effectively with such a high volume of papers, we used the model of 'research clusters' that was piloted in Warwick 2014. The material was therefore divided in four clusters of eight to eleven papers, with each WG member being expected to read only the papers within their own cluster in advance. The purpose was to preserve the wide-ranging nature of our subject area without losing the unique opportunity that WG sessions offer to discuss work-in-progress among peers who are in the same field.



The group published its first anthology of essays in 2009, as part of the IFTR series ‘Themes in Theatre’: Political Performances: Theory and Practice, eds. Susan C. Haedicke, Deirdre Heddon, Avraham Oz and E.J. Westlake. Amsterdam: Rodopi, 2009. http://www.brill.com/products/book/political-performances

A second edited collection is currently in preparation. Political Performances: Theory and Practice, vol. 2 (working title) follows three key topics around which the group’s research has converged in recent years, also representing major discussion points in current scholarship within the field. These are: the link between theatre/performance and political activism (a historical association which has been revitalised today in challenging global circumstances), the relentless interrogation (and reinvention) of customary forms of political theatre on the contemporary stage, and the shifting relationship between artists and audiences in the context of new performance practices with political implications.

In addition to our publication plans, we encourage ongoing discussion from existing and new members via formal and informal channels, including an invitation to post articles and discussion points here on the IFTR site.





IFTR 2020: Political Performances Working Group CFP

IFTR 2020: Political Performances Working Group CFP

18 November, 2019 by Cristina Delgado-Garcia | 0 comments

Political Performances Working Group CFP, IFTR2020 Galway, 13-17 July. Read more

IFTR 2019: Political Performances Working Group CFP

IFTR 2019: Political Performances Working Group CFP

07 November, 2018 by Cristina Delgado-Garcia | 0 comments

Political Performances Working Group CFP, IFTR2019 at Shanghai Theatre Academy, 8-12 July. Read more



22 December, 2017 | 0 comments

We would like to invite researchers to submit their work for discussion at the Political Performances Working Group meeting at the 2018 IFTR conference, which will take place on 9-13 July in Belgrade, Serbia. Read more



01 July, 2015 | 0 comments

JULY 2015 PROPOSAL DRAFT 3 EDITORIAL GUIDELINES FOR PROPOSED VOLUME 2 OF POLITICAL PERFORMANCE WORKING GROUP ARTICLES (PPWg at IFTR) PROVISIONAL EDITORIAL TEAM: Dr Lloyd Peters: L.Peters@salford.ac.uk; lloyd.peters@virgin.net Dr Mireia Aragay: aragay@ub.edu Dr Jose Ramon Prado: prado@ang.uji.es DrPaola Botham: paola.botham@bc..ac.uk Prof Avraham Oz: avitaloz@gmail.com Read more

CFP - Political Performances

CFP - Political Performances

22 January, 2015 | 0 comments

Call for Papers Political Performances Working Group International Federation for Theatre Research (IFTR) Annual Conference: Theatre and Democracy, University of Hyderabad, 5-10 July 2015 Read more

Stay up to date with the IFTR Weekly Digest