14 September, 2018 by Rashna Nicholson | 0 comments

The theme of the upcoming workshop “Archiving theatre”, hosted by the FU Berlin, will highlight critical approaches to theatre and performance research and the archive.

The IFTR Historiography Working Group




Interim Meeting, April 25-27 2019

Freie Universität Berlin


The theme of the upcoming workshop “Archiving theatre”, hosted by the FU Berlin, will highlight critical approaches to theatre and performance research and the archive. We depart from the observation that archiving, i.e. collecting, ordering, accessing etc., involves a plethora of historical practices which produce or affirm a specific concept or idea of theatre. Thus, this meeting sets out to contest ontologies of the archive as well as ontologies of theatre and performance. By examining the various historiographical issues arising from archiving theatre and performance, the working group’s interim spring meeting will enable discussion of the impact of archiving on that which life has left behind—the debt and debris of theatre history – as well as on how what remains defines the archive. The working group welcomes papers dealing with any possible period or topic in theatre history and historiography that discuss archival practices, methodological issues concerning the archive, as well as discussions of theatrical manifestations that respond to the archive, as a cultural, social and political institution, and an act of collecting and preserving vestiges. 


We propose the following topics for discussion:

·            Archive CultureHow do archives become? What appears/disappears in archives over time? How do we engage with the historiography of non-archived performative traditions and cultures?

·            The Impact of the Archive: How do archival structures and institutions change our way of thinking and writing theatre/histories? What is the relation between the epistemic object ‚theatre’ and the process of archivalization? 

·            Methodologies of the Archive: how do we engage with historical artefacts and objects as source material? In what way is the history of archiving inscribed in the material artefact?

·            Digital Archives: In what ways have ideas of ‘open source’ affected the production of performance? How does digitization change our access to historical sources? How has ‘Big Data’ changed the way we write and grasp theatre history? How do we historicize the imperatives of digitization? 

·            Trans/Local Archives: How can the investigation of ‘local’ source material contribute to the articulation of ‚global’ histories? 

·            Affective Dimensions of the Archive: How does the archive (its spaces and materials) affect us? Which epistemological desires are elicited by the archive? How do we make certain objects/materials speak to us? And why?


We invite participants to send us proposals for papers of up to 5000 words.

Submission deadline: 15 November 2018.

In accordance with the IFTR Historiography Working Group’s usual practice, papers will be pre-circulated with a deadline date for submission to convenors of Monday 1 April 2019.


For any further information contact: Jo Robinson (, Rashna Nicholson (, Ruthie Abeliovich ( or Jan Lazardzig (


Registration for the workshop will be free of charge. Information about accommodation options and costs will be provided in due course.



Freie Universität Berlin

Institut für Theaterwissenschaft

Grunewaldstraße 35

12165 Berlin

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