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Call for participation: TaPRA Applied and Social Theatre Working Group

For the 2014 TaPRA Conference, we would like to invite proposals on the following subject:

Heroism and Heroic Action in Applied and Social Theatre

Applied and Social Theatre discourse has long exercised caution about notions of heroism, perhaps troubled by associations that are Romantic, gendered, individualistic and adulatory. Recently, however, perceptions of heroism have begun to inform discussions of practice in peripheral and intuitive ways. This may reflect a turn to the aesthetics of Applied and Social Theatre in recent years, inviting a more Romantic streak to the discourse of affectivity. Alternatively, the growth of theatre and ecology might have seen a reformulation of the practitioner role, moving away from models of facilitation and towards personal feats of endurance, sacrifice and labour. Or perhaps the field has always been infused with ‘unsung’ heroism and resistant to ‘singing’ of heroism, rather than heroic acts in themselves.

At this year’s TaPRA conference, the Applied and Social Theatre working group would like to explore the problems, potential and relevance of heroism and heroic action. The discussions will pick up on traces of this theme that appeared during the 2013 conference, and extend the initial explorations of the interim event held at the Central School of Speech and Drama in March 2014. We welcome proposals for papers of 20 minutes length, or provocations / live ‘posters’ of 10 minutes. The theme invites consideration of heroism as a quality of individuals, and discussions of the heroic as a quality of action in relation to specific practices.

Proposals may wish to respond to one of the topics on the following inexhaustive list:

  • what are the contemporary definitions and models of heroism and heroic action?
  • how do notions of heroism and the heroic interface with the beneficial aspirations of applied and social theatre?
  • do gendered notions of heroism have implications for applied and social theatre?
  • what is the relationship between risk-taking and heroism? Or risk-aversion and the anti-heroic?
  • how does heroism sit alongside duties of care in applied and social theatre?
  • how should heroism negotiate tendencies towards the Romantic, virtuous and / or adulatory? What implications do these associations have for practice and research?
  • can (or should) heroism be isolated in practice and analysis from a melodramatic network of villains, victims and damsels-in-distress?
  • does analysis itself transform ‘unsung heroes’ into ‘sung heroes’, and what might this mean for research?

We welcome proposals on these or any other relevant topics. Proposals should consist of a 300 word outline of the presentation, identifying the form (paper, provocation or poster) and any technical or resource requirements. Please remember to add your name and any institutional affiliation to the proposal, which should be emailed to Dave Calvert (d.a.calvert@hud.ac.uk) by 30 April 2014. We will respond to proposals by 23 May 2014.

Only one proposal may be submitted for the TaPRA 2014 Conference at Royal Holloway University of London. It is not permitted to submit multiple proposals or submit the same proposal to several Calls for Papers. All presenters must be TaPRA members, i.e. registered for the conference; this

includes presentations given by Skype or other media broadcast even where the presenter may not physically attend the conference venue. If your paper has been accepted, yet you have not registered for the Conference by the final registration deadline of 8 August 2014, we will deem you no longer intend to participate and present at TaPRA 2014.

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