TaPRA 2020, 2 – 4 September, Liverpool Hope University, Directing and Dramaturgy Working Group CfP: Inside

Deadline: Friday 17 April 2020

In Maurice Maeterlinck’s 1895 play Intérieur, translated by Caryl Churchill as Inside, we watch two men charged with delivering terrible news. They hesitate outside a house, looking inside at the family innocently unaware of how their lives are about to be transformed by death. The first audience for the play sat inside, watching people outside, watching people inside. The windows of the house create a frame within a frame, surrounding a certain Naturalistic domestic inside with a Symbolist outside and we watch helplessly as the latter invades the former.
Maeterlinck’s layered spaces indicate nineteenth-century theatre’s obsession with new kinds of theatrical insides, from its renewed investigation of bourgeois and psychological interiority; its opening up of society’s hidden spaces and social secrets; to its new deployment of the hidden spaces of language through the emergence of subtext. But theatre has long explored interior space. In the early modern period, the emergence of the merchant class was accompanied by the theatrical emergence of inside spaces in outside theatres (e.g. A Woman Killed With Kindness at the Rose Theatre), and the open-air amphitheatres in fifth-century BCE Athens made use of stage architecture (the skēnē) to show bodies moving between the polis and the oikos, the public and the private sphere. Theatrical spaces themselves often present complex negotiations of inside and out, producing thresholds between foyers, anterooms, compartments, trapdoors, wing spaces and backstages to create yet further insides. Even the metaphors we use to describe theatre – at least since the emergence of alternative theatre in the 1960s – draw on topographical images of outsiderliness against a constructed inside, positioning off-, fringe, or underground theatres as exterior to those which mainstream cultural gatekeepers determine to allow ‘in’.
At times – and now is such a time – the theatre is under scrutiny for its own divisions between insiders and outsiders, its inclusivity and exclusivity. Who is inside the theatre and who is left outside in the cold? The United Kingdom is currently in a state of violent self-reflection over its insides and outsides, excluding its neighbours in order to be open to the world, generating a neurotic nostalgia that constructs its insides by the exclusion of the outside. How has the theatre engaged with these new configurations of the relation between inside and outside? What is at stake in the insides that theatre constructs? How has theatre maintained and troubled, constituted and challenged these insides?
We welcome 15-minute papers on the theatrical and performative dimensions of the Inside that speak to directing and dramaturgy in their broadest possible senses.
Among the topics that papers may consider are:
– The insides of the body
– The secrets of the self or society
– Interior spaces
– Psychological interiority
– Hidden meanings and subtext
– Imprisonment
– The public and the private
– The nation and the international
– Hospitality (come inside)
– Thresholds and borders
Coronavirus Disclaimer
Whilst we are continuing to make plans for the Annual TaPRA Conference to go ahead as scheduled at LHU in September, we are also working on contingency arrangements should government advice restrict large gatherings. We will keep all members informed of any changes.
Process for submitting a proposal
Please send a 300 word (max) proposal and short biography to the Working Group Convenors (Ben Fowler, Dan Rebellato and Penelope Woods) at directinganddramaturgy@tapra.org by 23.59 on 17 April 2020.
Originally proposals were due by 9th April, however due to the recent UCU strike action and the rapidly evolving situation regarding Covid-19 we are extending the proposal submission deadline until Friday 17th April.
Please include an optional 2nd choice of Working Group (this can also include the TaPRA Gallery, where appropriate). If we are unable to accept your proposal, we will then pass it on to your 2nd choice for consideration. Your proposal will not be less likely to be accepted by our Working Group if you indicate a 2nd choice.
Please note: You may only submit a proposal to one working group (or else the PaR Gallery) for this conference, proposals submitted after the deadline will not be considered.
Working Group Convenors will inform you whether or not your proposal has been accepted as quickly as possible, and will offer brief summary feedback to all proposals that could not be accommodated. If we have passed your proposal on to your 2nd choice of Working Group, we will let you know this as well. Please note that putting together a full draft schedule for the conference is a complex process, and therefore your patience while this process is ongoing, and prompt responses to acceptances are much appreciated. Convenors will have completed their draft schedules by 18 May 2020.
Conference Costs
The early bird registration fee for this year’s conference will be £215 (standard) and £112 (concession), including TaPRA membership for the year, rising to £245 (standard) and £142 (concession) after 19th June.
It will also be possible to register for a ‘half conference’ – that is, Day 1 to after lunch Day 2; OR all of Day 2; OR from 4pm on Day 2 & all of Day 3. ‘Half conference’ fees are: £125 (standard) and £65 (concession), rising to £140 (standard) and £79 (concession) after 19th June.
All of the above conference fees include TaPRA membership for one year (starting on 2 September 2020).
On-campus conference accommodation will cost no more than £50 per night. The conference dinner will cost £40 (£35 for concession delegates booking in the early bird period).
Please note: All presenters must be TaPRA members, i.e. registered for the event; this includes presentations given by Skype or other media broadcast even where the presenter may not physically attend the event venue.
Concession definition: Concession rates apply to all postgraduate researchers, unwaged, unaffiliated, and retired researchers, and staff on contracts of either less than .6FTE or else fixed for less than 12 months. These categories apply to the attendee’s circumstances on the first day of the conference.
There will be up to 5 bursaries available for postgraduate researchers and up to 3 available for unaffiliated presenters/contingent faculty. These are highly competitive and so we would encourage everyone who is able to secure institutional support where possible.
Each bursary includes: Conference fee waiver and one year of TaPRA membership; up to £300 toward travel, accommodation, childcare or access costs (the TaPRA Administrator will book accommodation; travel fees or access costs can be reclaimed quickly on production of receipts).
You must submit your application for a bursary at the same time as your proposal to the Working Group (as a separate document). Please note that PG students will require a supporting statement from their supervisor or programme leader, which may take extra time to source. Full details, criteria, and application forms are available on the TaPRA website (http://tapra.org/bursaries/).

Please note: only one proposal may be submitted for a TaPRA event. It is not permitted to submit multiple proposals or submit the same proposal to several Calls for Participation. All presenters must be TaPRA members, i.e. registered for the event; this includes presentations given by Skype or other media broadcast even where the presenter may not physically attend the event venue.

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