Cfp: Popular Entertainments Working Group 2023

07 November, 2022 by Jason Price | 0 comments

Cfp: Popular Entertainments Working Group 2023

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...

Call for Papers 2023

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 2023, which will take place in Accra, Ghana from 24 to 28 July, the Popular Entertainments Working Group wishes to continue to explore the histories, practices and methodological dilemmas posed by our field of research. For this conference, we welcome contributions from scholars on any aspect of popular entertainment research OR papers developed in dialogue with the conference’s theme, The Stories We Tell: Myth Making and Performance”. Those who would like to engage with the conference theme may wish to consider:

  • the role of storytelling in popular entertainments (as plot/source material, sharing of skills and practices (oral and corporeal traditions); as historical evidence?) or the tensions between story-based and variety entertainments
  • popular myths and mythologies that frequently feature in popular entertainments
  • myths of celebrity and esteem that contribute to the popularity of certain performers or productions/acts
  • the role popular entertainments and other forms of popular culture play in disseminating or dismantling political and/or national(ist) mythologies
  • the role that practice as research and storytelling play in our research as scholars, theorists and practitioners 

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.) A moderator 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 2023 via IFTR’s Cambridge Core portal. Please specify ‘Popular Entertainments’ working group when submitting your abstract. 


The full text of participants’ papers (no more than 5000 words) should be submitted to the convenors no later than Monday, 26 June 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.


The conveners of the Popular Entertainments Working Group are:


Dr Jason Price, University of Sussex, United Kingdom, 

Dr Susan Kattwinkel, College of Charleston, South Carolina, USA,  


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