06 February, 2024 by Ciara Murphy | 0 comments


IFTR Annual Conference 2024 

University of the Philippines Diliman 

Manila, Philippines 

15 – 19 July 2024



Building on the ISTR 2024 conference theme Our States of Emergency: Theatres and Performances of Tragedy, the Performance in Public Spaces WG is inviting proposals for papers, performances, interventions, and workshops that considers how public space is in a state of emergency. Protest and intervention in public space has always been part of the performance of protest and activism and we are interested in exploring how performance in public space is responding to and intervening in this global state of emergency.  

Expanding on the idea of emergency and tragedy in the wider call, we want to interrogate how these reflections on the notion of tragedy embedded in a wider socio-historical and geopolitical field, are embedded in public space. The wider call asks us to: Consider for instance the precarious labor situations that have left theatre practitioners without securities and safeguards; the withering support of state and non-state entities that has forced theatre companies, artistic collectives, and their corresponding projects to grind to a halt; the occupational hazards of theatre and performance making that have led to the deterioration if not the demise of certain artists; the diverse and multiple forms of interventions—from political orders to commercially-minded patrons and sponsors—that impinge upon artistic and creative expressions. Viewed in this way, theatre itself appears as a site of tragic practices, the locus of its own tragedies. How, then does performance in public space intervene in these realities? 

In particular we are focused on the ongoing climate emergency which is unfairly and disproportionately affecting Southeast Asia and the host nation of IFTR 2024, the Philippines. Through an IFTR conference dedicated to Our States of Emergency, the University of the Philippines initiates a collective gathering where artists, practitioners, academics, researchers, and scholars of theatre and performance can discuss the circumstances and consequences of past, present, and prospective tragedies that we have been variously suffering and living with. An archipelagic nation situated in the Pacific Ring of Fire, the Philippines is not new to aquatic and terrestrial tragedies. Given its geographical location, it is no stranger to hurricanes, typhoons, and earthquakes. And yet, it is this same delicate placement that renders the Philippines a strategic gateway to Southeast Asia and a much-coveted territory to successive, ever mutating, and ever expanding colonial and imperial orders. Akin to many other countries on other continents, in addition to natural catastrophes the Philippines has also suffered and continues to suffer the tragedies brought forth by its complex historical encounters and political structures. Suggested topics include but are not limited to: 

  • Spectacles of tragedy/tragic spectacles in public space 
  • Public emergencies 
  • Performing tragedy in public space 
  • The politics of tragedies in public space 
  • Performing activism in public space 
  • Commemoration and colonization 
  • Embodied sufferings across cultures and communities   
  • Eco-activism and public intervention  
  • Technology in the public sphere 
  • Social media as venue for public intervention 
  • National and global tragedies 
  • Commemorating tragedies 
  • Theatres and performances of crisis 
  • Dramatizing tragic experiences 
  • The pandemic and other health emergencies in performance 

Abstracts of between 200 and 250 words are invited for this conference from scholars, teachers, researchers, artists, and students of theatre arts, theatre studies, performance studies, and other related disciplines. 

All abstracts should be submitted to Cambridge Core. When prompted, please select ‘Performance in Public Spaces’ from the Working Group drop down menu. Please do not send abstracts to the convenors. Please note that you will have to be a member of the IFTR to submit an abstract. To join the IFTR or renew your membership, please visit the Cambridge Core membership page. 

Deadline for Submission of Abstracts: 2 February 2024 

Conference Dates: 15 – 19 July 2024 

Conference Venue: The University of the Philippines Diliman 


Prof Holly Maples: 

Dr Ciara L. Murphy: 



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