CFP: Popular Entertainments Working Group 2022

19 November, 2021 by Jason Price | 0 comments

CFP: Popular Entertainments Working Group 2022

Call for Papers for IFTR Reykjavík, 19-24 June 2022

IFTR’s Popular Entertainments Working Group is interested in uncovering and giving voice to historical forms of popular performance that have largely been overlooked in dominant theatre history narratives. The multiple performance styles/genres within the group’s field of interest include circus, burlesque, variety, vaudeville, revue, sport as performance, music in popular entertainments, popular theatre, clowns, comedy, and more. More recently the scope and focus of the group’s work has expanded to consider popular entertainment’s important role in the wider theatre ecology; the influences of the popular on historical avant-garde and contemporary experimental practices; and the changing cultural status of popular forms. You can find out more about the group’s work at

For the IFTR conference in 2022, which will take place in Reykjavík, Iceland from 19 to 24 June, the Popular Entertainments Working Group wish to continue to explore the histories, practices and methodological dilemmas posed by our field of research. In conversation with IFTR’s theme of “Shifting Centres,” we are also interested in papers that consider the spatiality of popular entertainments. In particular, we are interested in papers that engage with one or more of the questions set out below 

  • How does popular entertainment occupy both the center (as events often more widely known than avant-garde and other elite performance) and the periphery (as events often ignored or dismissed in academic discourse)? 
  • How do popular entertainment venues occupy both public, accessible spaces and private, controlled spaces? Which is more central – the privileged, inaccessible spaces of traditional theatre or the varied and dispersed spaces of popular entertainment? 
  • How do we understand (theoretically, methodologically, critically) the spaces in which popular entertainments are performed and/or researched, and how does the venue impact methodology or form – both for performers and researchers?
  • How do our specific methodologies place popular entertainment studies within the field of theatre and performance more broadly? What do we have to contribute, if anything, that no other discipline or approach has?

Group Meetings

The Popular Entertainments Working Group operates by circulating members’ draft papers in advance of the conference, enabling a more focused discussion. Once papers are circulated, members are then asked to nominate another paper they’d like to moderate. The group allocates approximately twenty minutes for discussion of each paper. Members are asked to speak about their research for ten minutes; visual or AV material that amplifies or supports their paper in some way is encouraged. (As all papers are read in advance, presenters are not required to provide an oral summary of their paper.) The moderator previously assigned to the paper will then lead the remaining ten minutes of discussion.

Occasional attendees and members who are not presenting are welcome to participate.

Submission of Abstracts

Abstracts of 250-300 words should be submitted no later than 31 January 2022 via IFTR’s Cambridge Core portal. Please specify ‘Popular Entertainments’ working group when submitting your abstract. Please note that if you had an abstract accepted for the cancelled 2020 conference, you will need to resubmit your abstract. 

The full text of participants’ papers (no more than 5000 words) should be submitted to the convenors no later than 23 May 2022 for distribution. Papers need not be in a finished state: drafts and works-in-progress are acceptable. Once gathered, all papers will be made available to group members for reading and a discussant will be allocated to each.

Working Group Convenors

If you have any questions about a possible submission or would like further information about the working group, please contact us.


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