The Theatrical Event

The Theatrical Event

The Theatrical Event Working Group was established in Puebla, Mexico in 1997. It was formed from a merger between the Sociology and Theatre, and the Audience and Reception Working Groups. The working group continues to work on these areas of research, but has expanded its interests into new fields.

Mission Statement:

A Theatrical Event is qualified by someone doing something, ostentatiously enough to be distinguished from everyday life, and someone who observes the doer, and acknowledges that what is being done is different. Theatre becomes theatre by being an event, in which two partners engage in a playful relationship. (Theatrical Events, Rodopi 2004: 11) 

The group’s mission is to rethink and reconsider the fundamental definitions, limitations and structures of the Theatrical Event. It has adopted a series of methodological criteria and their interconnections to discuss any theatrical event: 

  • Cultural contexts

  • Contextual theatricality

  • Theatrical playing

  • Playing culture

The group accepts discussion on subjects that concern happenings within a theatre, as well as events that occur outside a theatre but bear theatrical characteristics, which can be analysed through the lens of theatre studies. 

Work Plan:

The Theatrical Event working group functions by deciding upon a theme and circulating papers pertinent to that theme before the annual IFTR conference, which are read by all participants. Anyone who is a paid up member of the IFTR can participate in the working group, either by submitting a paper, or by attending the sessions to listen to the discussions. During working group sessions, a short presentation of each paper is given, followed by discussion by the whole group. 

The Theatrical Event WG editorial committee intend to finalize the book project in the beginning of 2024. Book launch will hopefully take place at the conference in July. In addition, a Call for paper for WG session at the IFTR conference 2024 in Manilla will take place. It will be an open call that invite papers topics that concern any of the four points of the Theatrical Event – Cultural Context, Contextual Theatricality, Theatrical Playing and Playing Culture. Proposal has been made to concentrate on the Cultural Context in form of Cultural Policy, State regulations and laws and its impact on the Theatrical a whole.



We are eager to get new members outside the western hemisphere, and especially welcoming proposals from new members. 

Contributors are encouraged to familiarise themselves with the books the Working Group has published, in particular some of the theoretical ideas and models which were presented in their various publications. 


  • Theatrical Events. Borders, Dynamics, Frames, edited by Vicki Ann Cremona, Peter Eversmann, Hans van Mannen, Willmar Sauter and John Tulloch. Amsterdam: Rodopi, 2004. This book contains theories and methodologies that allow the reader to understand the concepts behind what is meant by 'theatrical event'. Details here.
  • Festivalising! Theatrical Events, Politics and Culture, edited by Temple Hauptfleisch, Shulamith Lev-aladgem, Jacqueline Martin, Willmar Sauter and Henri Schoenmakers. Amsterdam: Rodopi, 2007. Details here.
  • Playing Culture. Conventions and Extensions of Performance, edited by Vicki Ann Cremona, Rikard Hoogland, Gay Morris, Willmar Sauter. Amsterdam: Rodopi, 2014. Details here.
  • Poetics of Playing. Fictionality, Reality and Playing in between, Nordic Theatre Studies, Vol. 26, No. 1, 2014. Edited by Anneli Saro, Ulla Kallenbach, Rikard Hoogland.Open Access publication.
  • Theatre Scandals. Social Dynamics of Turbulent Theatrical Events, edited by: Vicki Ann Cremona, Peter Eversmann, Bess Rowen, Anneli Saro, Henri Schoenmakers. Leiden/Boston: Brill Rodopi, 2020. Details here.


Smadar Mor,  Tel Aviv University:

Rikard Hoogland, Stockholm University:


Reports of Past Conferences : see Resources page

CfP Working group the Theatrical Event, IFTR Manilla Philippines 2024

CfP Working group the Theatrical Event, IFTR Manilla Philippines 2024

02 November, 2023 by Rikard Hoogland | 0 comments

Rethinking the Theatrical Event after 27 years of Working Group's activity Rethinking the Theatrical Event after 27 years of Working Group's activity Read more

WG Theatrical Event Call for paper Intermediate meeting Stockholm 20-22 April.

CfP The Theatrical Event WG Call for paper Intermediate meeting Stockholm 20-22 April

22 December, 2022 by Rikard Hoogland | 0 comments

The Theatrical Event working group’s Call for papers From research towards publication: new fields to be investigated Intermediate meeting, Stockholm April 20-22, 2023 Read more

Call for Paper WG Theatrical Event, Reykjavik 2022

Call for Paper WG the Theatrical Event, Reykjavik 2022

13 November, 2021 by Rikard Hoogland | 0 comments

Call for Papers, IFTR Reykjavik 2022 WG the Theatrical Event: Challenging Theatre Studies: Theatre for/by Young People, Amateur Theatre and Student Theatre Read more

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