Shared Practice @ PQ2015: Call for Public Talks, Projects and Screenings

28 November, 2014

The Theatre Architecture Working Group of the International Federation of Theatre Research (IFTR) invites proposals for a public curated event, which will be part of the upcoming 13th edition of the Prague Quadrennial of Performance Design and Space (18 - 28 June, 2015).

Shared Practice

Deadline for Proposals: 30 January 2015 / Public Event: 26 June 2015

While disciplinary formations remain important, reflecting different genealogies of practice, training, professional orientations, institutions and expertise, theatre/performance and architecture – like scenography, or performance design – are now arguably situated in what Rosalind Krauss (1979) has termed an ‘expanded field’ of spatial and artistic practice. We now wish to explore the theme of Shared Practice and provide a space for dialogue and the sharing of practices between theatre/performance and architecture in an expanded field.

Performance and architecture seem to be radically dissimilar fields and yet their aims, concerns and practices overlap through shared interests in the production and articulation of space, the structuring of action and event, the construction and contestation of social relations, and the encounter between built form and the lived body. Performance and the ‘performative turn’ have influenced architectural theory and practice, prompting attention to the body and lived experience as well as ideas about event-space, agency, improvisation, temporality and affect. This renewed encounter between architecture and performance is generating vibrant critical and creative work amongst architects, urban planners, historians and curators and we are keen to develop it further. Meanwhile, the significance of architecture for theatre and performance is a nascent field and requires articulation. Important new work is exploring dramaturgy and architecture as analogous practices and, while playwrights from Henrik Ibsen to Sarah Kane have been identified as ‘architects of drama’, it might be argued that certain kinds of ‘unhoused’ theatre practice offer more fruitful examples than traditionally scripted drama of an architectonics of performance – exploring the links between structure, form, technology, materiality, the built environment and spatial narrative. Where else might we locate the architectural and the architectonic in theatre/performance practice?

Participants’ responses to the theme of Shared Practice may be driven by practice, practice-as-research or by theory and may emerge from either theatre/performance or architecture (or both). Proposals may take a variety of different forms and formats, ranging from polemical papers for chaired panel discussion or conversation to video shorts offering critical insights into practice-based research or architectural methodologies, lectures or demonstrations with a strong element of performance or charismatic delivery, and photo-essays or other primarily (or solely) visual presentations. Proposals may be for solo presentation or for presentations delivered by collaborators working together productively and imaginatively. The duration of each contribution is negotiable, and the curators urge potential participants to think carefully about what form, format and duration would best suit their work. All contributions – regardless of their form, format and duration – should be intellectually and creatively engaging yet accessible to a wide audience of artists, theatre practitioners, architects, scenographers, students, scholars and even casual passers-by! The curators will select approximately 10-12 outstanding contributions – looking for relevance to the theme of Shared Practice, originality, coherence, critical-theoretical rigour and significance (i.e. inter-disciplinary significance, and/or social, political and artistic significance).

Topics might include (but should not be limited to):

  • How performance and architecture encounter one another within an ‘expanded field’ of spatial and artistic practice
  • How practices and/or pedagogies from theatre/performance and architecture have been (or might be) adopted or appropriated by the other
  • Impediments to, or contestations of, interdisciplinarity in the context of performance and architecture
  • Models of collaboration or consultation
  • Collaborations between performance makers and architects, or between practitioners/theorists on multidisciplinary teams
  • Discussions of what is gained by appropriating the techniques, training and technologies of one discipline in the other
  • Spatial dramaturgies in architecture, urban planning and/or performance
  • Practices related to the materiality of theatre/performance and/or architecture
  • Critical spatial practice as it manifests within performance and/or architecture.
  • Communities of Practice (CoP)
  • Performance architecture and/or the architectonics of performance
  • Where next for performative architecture?
  • Adaptive re-use as the trying on of a new ‘role'
  • Crossprogramming and crossdressing


How to submit your proposal

Please submit your proposal for IFTR@PQ15 as a word.doc, rtf or pdf attachment via email to the working group convenors: Juliet Rufford [] and Andrew Filmer []. Do not send in video/film or other media at this stage. If we require more information about your proposal, we will contact you and ask to see more material. Please make sure that you include your name, the title of your proposed presentation, your institutional affiliation and position or the description ‘independent scholar/practitioner’. Please include an abstract of strictly no more than 300 words and biographical details of strictly no more than 150 words. Your abstract should make clear your overall concept, should indicate the critical significance, through-line or argument of your work, and should provide a rationale for your presentation format and duration. Please also include a statement of any technical requirements necessary for your presentation.

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:

In co-operation with Prague Quadrennial of Performance Design and Space

Prague Quadrennial

Prague Quadrennial of Performance Design and Space is a unique event presenting work in performance design from all over the world through exhibitions, performances and workshops. Since edition in 2003 we are exploring and presenting scenography as an expanded field that includes many forms of performance design. The theme of Prague Quadrennial 2015 is SharedSpace: Music Weather Politics. Our aim is to explore scenography as SharedSpace – performative space that influences relationships between people, space that provides room for relating, place for conflict and sharing – sharing of ideas, stories, and of social responsibilities.

PQ is organised and funded by the Ministry of Culture of the Czech Republic and realised by the Arts and Theatre Institute.


PQ takes place with the support of the Culture Programme of the European Union.

Stay up to date with the IFTR Weekly Digest