Popular Performance 2019

Full Name: Catriona Craig

Annual Conference Theme (if applicable): Mask, Disguise, Persona: Assumptions of Role and Identity in Popular Performance

What were the main points that emerged from your WG this year?
We opened the conference on the first day with a session on Masks and Canon. We wanted to focus the discussion around questions pertaining to the values we ascribe to traditions within popular practice, and so we started with a provocation on the uses of canonical thinking within popular theory from co-convenor Catriona Craig. This was followed by two very strong papers exploring the relationship between masks and canonical practice. The first was from Olly Crick, exploring new aesthetics within commedia, and the second was by Maggie Irving discussing her feminist clowning performance, Distaff Falstaff. It was hugely rewarding that both papers included elements of performance.

The second day featured papers exploring masks and authenticity from Louise Peacock, co-convenor Lucy Amsden and Simon Sladen. The work explored reiterations of the performance of Slava’s Snowshow clown, Yellow, the presence of the red nose as an element of therapeutic clowning and the problem of identifying an ‘authentic’ pantomime dame.

The Open Panel on Friday morning looked at masks and masculinities with papers from Simon Dodi on performing Larry Grayson, Nick Havergal exploring the values of patriarchy and touring theatre, and Stephen Farrier on the (further) queering of drag.

What was discussed at your business meeting?

We discussed issues pertaining to RECRUITMENT and particularly the problems with access to the conference this year for early career researchers and post-grad, with universities pulling funding etc.

We acknowledged that it was a strong year in terms of the papers submitted and delivered, but that due to drop-out we had lost work on artists that work in forms we would love to represent more. The profile of the work under discussion could have been far more diverse if those interested in coming had been able to do so.

We discussed  plans for a more ambitious INTERIM EVENT, possibly building on previous relationships with the Blackpool Museum Project.

We also discussed using the website and contact lists to create more communication about research and publication within members of the group.

Types of contributions:
Papers and Performed papers.

Number of formal contributors (those listed in book of abstracts) 8

Approx. overall number of delegates who attended your WG Sessions 12 - 15
Composition of WG (PG, ECR, etc.)
2 ECR. The rest mid career.

Did you have any non-UK participants? No

If your WG hosted an Open Panel, do you have any feedback?

The Open Panel was a very successful and well-attended event (mid 20s). There was some time for discussion and the conversation focussed mainly on the ‘masculinities’ side of the work, although there was some useful inter-disciplinary discussion of gesture and embodiment. The Open Panel continues to be a very important part of the TaPRA schedule for us.

Any additional points or feedback not covered above?

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