CFP: Theatre Architecture Working Group FIRT/IFTR 2015 University of Hyderabad, India

03 December, 2014 | 0 comments

Call for Papers

Theatre Architecture Working Group

FIRT/IFTR 2015, Hyderabad, India

5 - 10 July, 2015

Deadline for Proposals: 31 January 2015

Deadline for bursary application: 15 December 2014

The Theatre Architecture Working Group of the International Federation for Theatre Research (FIRT/IFTR) invites paper proposals for our forthcoming Working Group meeting at the IFTR conference in Hyderabad, India, in July 2015. The aim of the group is to explore all that theatre architecture has been historically, is at present, and might be in the future and to articulate the many contemporary sites of exchange between the fields of theatre, performance and architecture. For our meeting in Hyderabad we invite contributions that address questions of ‘Interdisciplinary Practice’. We seek to use the meeting as an opportunity to gather research which we hope to publish in a special issue of a peer-reviewed journal. We invite contributions from scholars and practitioners whose work closely addresses one of the following sets of concerns through which we will explore our theme:

  1.      Theatre architecture and performance space

What are the key contemporary developments in the design of architecture for theatre and performance? How have European theatre typologies been adapted, appropropriated or contested by indigenous or local cultural concerns? We invite critical case studies and broader arguments about built, unbuilt or speculative theatre architecture projects, including new readings of historic theatres and arguments about theatre architecture today. Topics might include (but need not be limited to):

  • new or planned theatre projects - especially from South and East Asia.
  • re-readings or re-thinkings of historic theatre architecture in the light of recent theory
  • theories and arguments about historic preservation, conservation or the renovation of theatre buildings
  • theatre buildings as drivers for urban regeneration
  • questions about the relevance of the traditional playhouse in the twenty-first century
  •  traditional versus modern, contemporary and/or experimental designs for theatres
  • dominant traditions, local traditions and questions of cultural influence and/or appropriation
  1.      The architectural in theatre/performance practice

Where might we locate the architectural and architectonic in theatre and performance practice? We invite studies and discussion of theatre/performance practices that closely engage, radically undermine, critically re-examine or nakedly depend on architecture for their meaning and value. Topics might include (but need not be limited to):

  • appropriations of architectural concepts and practices to performance-making (e.g. the uses of construction in performance, dramaturgy, or devised performance practice, or the structuring of action and event)
  • collaborations between performance-makers and architects
  • performance-installation and other examples of architecture as drama
  • spatial dramaturgies in performance (e.g. immersive or promenade performances where the logic is spatial rather than chronological)
  • choreographic tools that engage with the ‘architecture’ of movement (e.g. US choreographer William Forsythe’s ‘choreographic objects’)
  • spatial experimentation and/or the re-structuring of performer-spectator roles (e.g. Bengali playwright/director Badal Sarkar)
  •  discussion of the materiality of theatre/performance
  •  examples of ‘critical spatial practice’ as it manifests within theatre/performance
  • site-specific theatre and/or ‘found space’ theatres
  1.      The performative or theatrical in architecture

What are the strengths and limitations of ‘performance architecture’ as distinct from ‘performative architecture’? What methodologies, ideologies and effects are beginning to attach to these two strands of performance-influenced architecture practice? How are these issues and these practices understood outside of US/European contexts? Where next for architecture that is performatively or theatrically-inclined? Topics might include (but need not be limited to):

  • architectural practices that employ performance methodologies and/or performativity and/or theatricality to transform our experiences in and of the built environment.
  • theatricalism and/or theatricality in architecture
  • performance architecture
  • performative architectures
  • applications of performance theory and/or practice in architecture 
  • buildings and the ‘performance’ of power
  • architecture’s attention to the body and/or lived experience and/or ideas about event-space, narrative, drama, agency, improvisation, temporality and affect
  • spatial dramaturgies and other playful practices in architecture and/or urban planning which refigure space and form by enacting them differently
  • discussion of temporality or ephemerality in architecture
  • examples of ‘critical spatial practice’ as it manifests within architecture

Submission Procedures

Abstracts should be submitted through the IFTR’s online system, which contains detailed instructions. Please visit, and send a back-up copy to the WG co-convenors.

The deadline for submission of abstracts is 31 January 2015.

Additional information such as the form the proposed submission will take, or information about restrictions to your availability over the course of the IFTR World Congress, should be included on the online form under ‘equipment required’ and must be discussed (via email) with the co-convenors.

 If you wish to attend the conference in Hyderabad, India, in 2015 but could have financial difficulty, IFTR/FIRT invites you to apply for a bursary. A bursary application form is available via the IFTR website and completed forms must be sent to Milena Grass, by 15 December 2014. Bursary holders MUST ATTEND THE FULL CONFERENCE and not miss sessions!

About the IFTR Theatre Architecture Working Group

The purpose of the Theatre Architecture Working Group is to explore all that theatre architecture has been historically, is at present, and might be in the future. We consider built projects alongside unbuilt or speculative architectures, studying these from a wide range of practical and theoretical perspectives. We continue to investigate the ways in which space can be manipulated to bring performers and spectators into dynamic relationship inside traditional theatre auditoria, while also asking how else the disciplines of theatre and architecture inter-sect. Over the next four years, we will be focusing on three major strands of enquiry:1) theatre projects (especially those that provide insights into performing arts venues beyond Europe and North America); 2) inter-disciplinary practices (including performance practices that closely engage with, radically undermine, critically re-examine or nakedly depend on architecture for their meaning and value, and architectural practices which employ performance, performativity and/or theatricality to transform our experiences of the built environment); 3) inter-disciplinary pedagogies (especially those driven by the question of what is gained for students of one discipline in the encounter between that discipline and the other). We seek to develop theoretical paradigms appropriate to theatre and architecture and to the relationship between them – articulating the many contemporary sites of exchange between these fields and re-examining historical encounters in the light of recent developments in spatial theory, architecture theory and practice, and performance studies.

Working Group Convenors

Juliet Rufford:

Andrew Filmer:

Our Process

The Theatre Architecture Working Group is composed of scholars and practitioners of both disciplines from Australia, Brazil, Chile, England, Greece, Holland, Turkey, the United States, and Wales. It works by circulating papers (of approximately 3,500 words) to members in advance of the conference. Those who have circulated papers are invited to speak for around 15 minutes after which time the whole group enters into discussion and Q&A on that paper. The 15-minute presentation and response format is structured to encourage in-depth exchange.

The full text of your paper should be emailed to both convenors by Sunday 7th June 2015 for uploading into the group’s dropbox. For further information please do not hesitate to contact the convenors. You are reminded that in order to present your paper it is necessary to formally submit your abstract according to the guidelines on the conference website, register and pay for the conference and buy membership of IFTR. IFTR operates a banding system and a number of concessions - please explore your options by browsing the IFTR / IFTR 2015, Hyderabad webpages.

In addition to the group’s regular sessions, the convenors will pick three papers that seem productively inter-related to form a WG-sponsored panel within the conference’s general programme. The panel will represent the working group. If you do not wish to be chosen to be part of this panel, please indicate your wishes to the working group convenors. (Panelists would still attend the working group meetings and contribute to all WG discussions.) 

Stay up to date with the IFTR Weekly Digest