CFP "Alternative Dramaturgies"

19 October, 2013

Call for Papers

Alternative Dramaturgies of the New Millennium

An International Conference


2014 marks the 10th Anniversary of our international forums. The present conference aims at reframing the discussion on new dramaturgies. It is a continuation of our previous debates, as well as an attempt to synthesize our overall deliberations over a decade. Dramaturgy is an inclusive word that refers to the ‘composition of a play’, or its internal structure. However, the processes of analysis often called ‘dramaturgical analysis are deeply rooted in the practice of dramaturgy. Ever since Hamburgicshe Dramaturgie by the German playwright and critic Gotthold Ephraim Lessing the term dramaturgy has been broadly formalized in theatre circles. For Lessing, dramaturgy was framed according to a compositional logic based upon the supremacy of the verbal text. It was conceived of as “the technique (or poetics) of dramatic art, which seeks to establish principles of play construction” (Pavis 1998, 24). Contemporary theorists, on the other hand, seem to emphasize the non-literary composites of dramaturgy.

'Dramaturgy' could also be applicable to current performance structures that do not start from pre-existing play-texts; that  develop as verbal texts or non-verbal forms, or verbal mixed with intermedial or choreographic structures from improvisational approaches. Since the 1960s, performances “have repeatedly disconnected individual theatrical tools from their larger contexts” (Erika Fischer-Lichte 2008, 140). The re-appearance of what Fischer-Lichte calls ‘emergent phenomena’ further undermines the production of meaning through theatrical representation. Thus, alternative dramaturgies might also suggest new ways of interrogating presence and negotiating our roles as spectators and critics; they tend to disintegrate neo-classical notions of character-dramaturgy and unity by disrupting their underlying manichaeism within performance.


Meanwhile, the advent of new media has profoundly changed dramaturgical practice in the last decades. Today, many theatrical performances are characterized by visual dramaturgy and digital workflows which can hardly be subordinated to the text.  The process of remediation throws the audience into the abyss of la mise en abym, or what J. D. Bolter & R. Grusin describe as the “representation of one medium in another;” hierarchies and differences between live presence and recorded versions, spatial and temporal coordinates, original and the current critical emphasis on ‘Intermediality’ in contemporary theatre investigates theatre’s performative privileging of simulacra. Such phenomenon has become a generalized feature of the so called postmodern epoch of writing -as well as the postcolonial- since our Global Village now is not only a hyper space of 'mobile objects' but also one of 'reflexive subjects'.  The degree of the ability to reflect upon the social conditions of existence is also linked to the process of decolonization in the case of developing countries like most Arobo-Islamic ones. Many recent Arabo-Islamic performances are exercises in what D.E. George calls “restless semiosis” in which meaning emerges from interdependent relations and not by ascription to some objective referent. The tendency to privilege the turbulent reflection of liminal experience, where we are invited to become co-artists rather than passive consumers, becomes so apparent in the theatres and performances of Jaàfer Guesmi from Tunisia, Asmaa Houri and Youssef Rayhani from Morocco, Lina Saneh and Rabie Mroue from Lebanon, the renowned Al-Hanager and independent theatre movement of Egypt, the Lebanese-Canadian Wajdi Mouawad… (To state just a few from a long list that is growing every day).

The conference also seeks new discourses to explore the complex interrelationship within and across the boundaries of contemporary Arabo-Islamic theatre forms, and assumes the quality of personal quests and participation in the public contemplation of Arabo-Islamic changing identities. It is a call for more critical attention to an observable alternative dramaturgy that has become so visible also in Arabo-Islamic contexts. Inspired from our previous discussions we propose a double-edged dialogue, which is artist-driven and research-oriented. The moment of creation and the myriad locations where Arabo-Islamic theatre today is being made in postcolonial and postmodern onesare significant instances in a conference that seeks to de-freeze, or rather re-discover artistic experiences that persist on reassessing fluctuating boundaries between tradition and modernity. We invite scholars from around the world to join the debate and offer elements of reflection on the various problematics related to the following proposed panels:


  • What are the present alternative dramaturgies? And is the term 'alternative' adequate for these dramaturgies?
  • Mainstream or traditional dramaturgies & alternative dramaturgies: threads of commonalities and differences
  • Dramaturgy as a “weaving together of elements”
  • The practice of dramaturgy as analytical process
  • The dramaturge’s various roles & devised theatre practice
  • Alternative dramaturgies in Arabo-Islamic con-texts

Simultaneous Interpreting in all Panel Sessions


Keynote Speakers:


Erika Fischer-Lichte

Prof. Dr Erika Fischer-Lichte, Professor of Theatre Studies, Freie Universitaet Berlin, Germany, Head of DFG Collaborative Research Centre "Performing Cultures" and Director of BMBF International Research Centre "Interweaving Cultures in Performance". From 1995 to 1999 she was President of the International Federation for Theatre Research. She is a member of the Academia Europaea, the Academy of Sciences at Göttingen, and the Berlin-Brandenburg Academy of Sciences, and also holds the chair of the Institute for Advanced Studies on "Interweaving Cultures in Performance". She has published widely in the fields of aesthetics, theory of literature, art, and theatre, in particular on semiotics and performativity, theatre history, and contemporary theatre. Among her numerous publications are The Transformative Power of Performance: a New Aesthetics (2008, German 2004), Theatre, Sacrifice, Ritual. Exploring Forms of Political Theatre (2005), History of European Drama and Theatre (2002, German 1990), The Show and the Gaze of Theatre: A European Perspective (1997), The Semiotics of Theatre (1992, German 1983), and The Dramatic Touch of Difference: Theatre, Own and Foreign (1990).


Patrice Pavis


Patrice Pavis was previously Professor of theatre studies at the University of Paris (1976-2007). He is currently a Professor in the School of Arts at the University of Kent in Canterbury.  In 2011 and 2012 he has been Visiting Professor in the Department of Theatre Studies of the Korea National University of the Arts in Seoul. He published a Dictionary of theatre (translated into 30 languages) and books on Performance analysisContemporary French dramatists and Contemporary theatre.   His most recent book publication is: La Mise en scène contemporaine, Armand Colin, 2007 (English translation: Contemporary Mise en Scène: staging theatre today, translated by Joel Anderson, Routledge, 2012). His current research areas include:  performance theory; theory and practice of mise en scène; intercultural and globalized theatre; contemporary dramatic writing; creative writing and staging; theory of contemporary theatre and performance.


Christel Weiler


Christel Weiler is Professor at Institute for theatre science of the Freie Universität Berlin, with focus on research and teaching in: Theory, aesthetics and analysis of contemporary theatre, theoretical and practical investigations for the work of the actor, in cooperation within the research platform "Cultures of the Performative" (working group "Aesthetics of the Performative"). Recent publications on Contemporary Theatre include: „Theater als öffentlicher Raum. Die Berliner Ermittlung von Jochen Gerz und Esther Shalev-Gerz“, Berlin 2005, „Etwas ist dran. Vorurteile zum Lehrstück“ in: Erika Fischer-Lichte, Clemens Risi, Jens Roselt, (Hg.) Kunst der Aufführung – Aufführung der Kunst, Berlin 2004, „Glaubensfragen – postdramatisch“, in: Patrick Primavesi, Olaf A. Schmid, (Hg.) AufBrüche. Theaterarbeit zwischen Text und Situation, Berlin 2004. Since August 2008 she has also been the programme director of the International Institute for Advanced Studies in the Humanities on "Interweaving Cultures in Performance". She produced works as a dramaturg, e.g. at the Theater am Turm in Frankfurt, at the Residenztheater in Munich, at the Staatsschauspiel in Stuttgart and at Theater Heidelberg.



Alternative Dramaturgies: Presentations by eminent practitioners and scholars// Round tables with guest speakers from the field of performance and academy// Performances// Installations// Workshops (to be announced later)…


The conference theme was chosen with the expectation that it would be sharp enough to elicit diverse intellectual contributions from distinguished experts and colleagues from many parts of the world and in many areas of research. Besides academic panel sessions, the conference program will be nourished by a rich artistic public agenda with workshops, exhibitions, book launch, and diverse performances and artistic interventions relevant to ‘alternative dramaturgies’, plus receptions and gala dinners to be announced after opening.

Proposals: The organising committee welcomes abstracts strictly on the above issues. A 250-WORD abstract, along with a ONE PARAGRAPH curriculum vitae, should be submitted electronically (preferably in Word or Rich Text format) by 31 January 2014 to the scientific committee care of Professor Khalid Amine (Conference Convener). Acceptance, however, unfortunately does not include any financial support - participants are responsible for their own funding (i.e. securing grants, etc.) to pay for travel and lodging expenses. Selected conference papers will be published in a special volume upon the approval of the scientific committee. Submitters of accepted proposals will be notified within two weeks of the above deadline and all decisions of the scientific committee are final.


Important dates& Deadlines:

  • Abstract Submission Deadline: 31 January 2014.
  • Notification of Acceptance/Rejection:  15 February, 2014
  • Final Paper Submission Deadline: 15 April, 2014 (included). (The paper must have a sound methodology reflecting the features of real scientific research.  It must be 15 up to 20 pages of A4 format using Times New Romans size 12 in text and size 10 in the margins.
  • The conference will be held on May 30-31, June 1- 2, 2014.
  • Abstracts and completed research papers should be sent to the following emails:


For more information on the conference please contact Prof. Khalid Amine:

New Scholars’ Panel:The conference is also a home for graduate students and new scholars from different parts of the world. The establishment of an emerging Scholars’ panel invites new voices to join the debate (provided that their contributions must be relevant to the theme of this year). Up to FIVE participants will be selected for this panel, and each panelist will have ten to fifteen minutes to deliver her/his paper. Graduate students whose papers are accepted will receive free conference registration, free admission to conference luncheon, and a one-year membership in ICPS. Who is eligible? Scholars who meet the definition of ‘new scholars’ are postgraduate students writing up their PhD dissertation or post-doctoral researchers whose PhDs have been completed less than three years.

Registration Fee: 100 Euros payable in advance via Bank transfer (le centre international des études de spectacle, Banque Populaire, Tanger Ain Ktiout: 164 640 2121490077510009 61) or upon arrival. Registration includes 2 Gala Receptions, conference pack, tickets for any public concerts or site-specific performances within the conference’s public agenda, free guided tour of the Kasbah Museum, and one of the books of published proceedings from previous conferences. Since the conference is again pulling a very international public, registered attendees, participants from past conferences, and friends of ICPS will be most welcome to attend too.Women and underrepresented minorities are especially encouraged to apply.  ICPS is an Affirmative Acting/Equal Opportunity Organization.

Conference Location: Faculty of Letters at Abdelmalek Essaâdi University, Tétouan & the Kasbah Museum, Sahat El Kasbah, Rif Spa Hotel  (or another hotel: to be announced later).

Conference Board (2014)

  • Erika Fischer-Lichte (Head of DFG Collaborative Research Centre "Performing Cultures" and Director of BMBF International Research Centre "Interweaving Cultures in Performance", Berlin, Germany
  • Christel Weiler, Professor at Institute for theatre science of the Freie Universität Berlin, Germany
  • Maria Shevtsova (Chair Professor of Drama and Theatre Arts, Co-editor of New Theatre Quarterly (Cambridge University Press), Director of Sociology of Theatre and Performance Research Group, University of London)
  • George F. Roberson, Adjunct Assistant Professor, Geography Human Dimensions Research Cluster, University of Massachusetts-Amherst, USA
  • Richard Gough, Senior Research Fellow and Artistic Director of the Centre for Performance Research, Department of Theatre, Film and Television Studies, Aberystwyth University, Aberystwyth, Wales
  • Zohra Makach (Professor of Theatre at Ibn Zohr University of Agadir. She holds a PhD degree in Theatre Studies from Paris III)
  • Omar Fertat (Professor of Theater in the Arab World, Department of Oriental Studies and the Far East and the Department of Performing Arts, Université Michel de Montaigne, Bordeaux 3)
  • Mohammed Samir Al-Khatib, Art Critic, the Academy of Arts, Cairo, Egypt

Conference Supporting Committee:

  • Mohammed Saad Zemmouri(Dean of the Faculty of Humanities at AEU, Tetouan)
  • Mohammed KAOUTI(Independent Playwright, Morocco)
  • Carol Malt, Museum Curator, Adjunct Professor at the University of West Florida, and Ex-Director of the Art & Culture Center of Hollywood, USA
  • Marjorie Kanter, Author of short literary and poem-like pieces, USA
  • Noureddine Chemlali(Director, King Fahd School of Translation)
  • Mustapha El-Ghachi(Vice Dean, Faculty of Humanites, AEU, Tetouan)
  • Abderrazzak Essrhir(Chair of the English Department at AEU)
  • Hassan Ben Ziyane(Professor, Abdelmalek Essaadi University, Morocco)
  • Redouan El Ayadi(Professor of Discourse Analysis, Abdelmalek Essaadi University)
  • Mohammed Taqqal(Regional Director of the Miniustry of Culture)


Conference Convener:

Khalid Amine (President of ICPS)


Conference Co-Convener:

Younes El-Assad Ryani(Professor of Cultural Studies, Abdelmalek Essaadi University)


Conference Assistant:

Jaouad Radouani (Theatre Scholar, member of ICPS)


Conference Organizing Committee:

(ICPS members & volunteers/ to be announced later)

Contact information:

Khalid Amine, Conference Convener, Residence Al Andalous  N° 11, Rue  Birr Anzaran, Tanger 90 000, MarocAdresse: E-mail:, Tél/Fax: (212) 5393330466, Portable: 0664596791/ Web:  Bank details of ICPS, Centre International des Etudes de Spectacles, Banque populaire, Agence N° 36, Tanger Ain Ktiouet, Relevé d’identité bancaire : 164 640 212149007751000961.             © ICPS


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