Performer Training

A group that shares research about performer training in all its manifestations.

TaPRA 2023, Performer Training Working Group: Reimagining intimacy in performance training in a post-pandemic world

Deadline: Tuesday 11 April 2023

Performer Training Working Group
Reimagining intimacy in performance training in a post-pandemic world
TaPRA 2023, 30 August – 1 September, The University of Leeds

The concept of intimacy is significant to performance training, be that intimacy in physical, psychological, emotional, ideological, or spiritual forms. Implicit in this concept are questions of trust, physicality, proxemics, presence, and distance, all of which have been ruptured by contemporary global events affecting the performance industry and beyond. The Covid-19 pandemic, as one example, invited practitioners to reimagine how intimacy can be reinvented through distancing in physical and virtual spaces. The resurgence of the #MeToo movement, as another example, highlighted how the politics of touch in performance training might perpetuate oppressive structures. These, and other world events, have instigated a paradigm shift in how intimacy is understood, explored, and applied in performance training in the training studio and beyond. For the TaPRA 2023 Conference the Performer Training Working Group invites discussion to reinvestigate and reimagine our understanding of intimacy subsequent to these ruptures, examining how the intimate is structured, embodied, and challenged in training and performance spaces.

The global pandemic resulted in a shift from training in physical space to virtual space, as well as a shift from training together to solo practice. The loss of physical intimacy and touch pushed practice to embrace alternative conceptions of intimacy. Georgia Paizi for instance articulates the intimacy of audio-only movement sessions, with the simplicity of listening reducing the distance between the trainer’s voice and the students’ thoughts (Paizi, 2021). Similarly, Christina Kapadocha introduces the idea of the strange intimacy of the individual’s own space, with students engaging in practice in their own homes (Kapadocha, 2021). We encourage contributors to consider how intimacy is experienced as performance training develops and shifts between space and place, between group and solo activity, and between live and mediated forms.

Contributors may also consider the topic of intimacy in relation to research and practice focused on ethics and consent. Actor training across stage and screen has been invited to embed rigorous structures concerning consent.For example, the Harvey Weinstein scandal in 2017 and the consequent resurgence of the #MeToo movement prompted the widespread use of intimacy coordinators to ensure that all intimate scenes use pre-agreed choreography (Villareal, 2022). From one perspective the reassessment of how contact works in training acknowledges the social and political implications in studio processes. However, from another point of view, these ideas have had a detrimental impact on established training processes and training lineages that have suffered as a result. Beyond this, contributors may wish to consider how the intimate and the ethical intersect in the studio or classroom, perhaps thinking around questions of care, proxemics or power.

The reimagining of intimacy provokes many questions. What might be threatened in the performer training sector as we know it? What needs to be abandoned? To what extent can moving forward be celebrated? Or, are these changes experienced as loss that requires a mourning process? How do we train performers to navigate intimate interactions with live and virtual audiences? How have old-guard companies or traditional practices challenged problematic behaviours? What new directions are practitioners taking with respect to intimacy and performance training?

Submissions might focus on questions concerning the relationship between audience-performer, performer-performer, performer-technology, and performer-artefact. Topics and provocations may include but are not limited to:

  • Intimacy and presence in performance training.
  • Processes of training for intimacy with live and virtual audiences.
  • Intimacy in problematic genealogies of training.
  • Using Practice Research to investigate intimacy.
  • Boundaries and narratives of touch in performance training.
  • The paradigm shift with respect to intimacy and contact in the classroom and beyond.
  • Questions of presence, intimacy and care in performance training practice.
  • Processes of intimacy and consent as psychophysical negotiations.

We invite submissions of paper presentations, panels, and workshops. We encourage interactive sessions, for example, you might wish to share a video of practice with our members to watch asynchronously and discuss it during your conference presentation. Traditional papers should not exceed 15 minutes.


Kapadocha, C (2021). ‘Haptic possibilities: practising physical contact as part of online actor training’. Theatre, Dance and Performance Training Blog. 12 April. Available at:

Paizi, G (2021). ‘Getting into your head: social distancing and the intimacy of audio-only movement sessions on earpods’. Theatre, Dance and Performance Training. 12.2 (220).

Villareal, A (2022). ‘The Evolution of Consent-Based Performance’. Journal of Consent-Based Performance. 1.1 (5-25).

Conference structure

The 2023 annual TaPRA conference at the University of Leeds will be a hybrid event, facilitating participation by online delegates alongside those attending in-person.

Since our conference in 2021, we have been able to experience many benefits of online conferencing, such as increased opportunity for international presenters, lower financial costs to participate, greater accessibility for those with caring responsibilities etc. The 2023 conference at Leeds aims to retain the wider opportunities for engagement that online platforms offer, whilst also creating a space for in-person engagement and social interaction.

In the event of a cancellation of in-person conference activities due to, for instance, COVID restrictions, the event would run entirely online and all registered in person delegates would be offered the opportunity to attend as online delegates, with the difference between in-person and online registration fees refunded.

Process for submitting a proposal

Please email abstracts (no more than 300 words in length), and an additional few sentences of biographical information to the Working Group Convenors at by 23.59 on 11 April 2023.

IMPORTANT: Please indicate at the point of submission if you intend to attend the conference in person or online. This information is vital so that the conference organisers can effectively plan the infrastructure for the event and Working Group Convenors can schedule panel sessions effectively.

You should also indicate if you have any specific requirements relating to space or AV technology as part of this submission.

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. You can, however, include an optional second 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 second choice for consideration. Your proposal will not be less likely to be accepted by our Working Group if you indicate a second choice.


Working Group Convenors will inform you whether or not your proposal has been accepted as quickly as possible and by no later than 3 May 2023. Convenors will offer brief summary feedback to all proposals that could not be accommodated. ​​Please note that putting together a full draft schedule for the conference is a complex process, particularly as all sessions will need to be accessible to delegates attending in person and online. Therefore, your patience while this process is ongoing, and prompt responses to acceptances, are much appreciated. Convenors will have completed their draft schedules by the end of May 2023.

Conference costs

The early bird registration fee will be:

£220 standard in person attendance
£120 concession in person attendance
£88 standard online attendance
£48 online concession online attendance

Prices will increase to the following after 23 June 2023:
£250 standard in person attendance
£150 concession in person attendance
£100 online attendance
£60 online concession attendance

All of the above conference fees include TaPRA membership for one year (£35 standard / £17 concession) starting 30 August 2023.

​On-campus ​conference accommodation will cost £58 per night.

Please note: All presenters must be registered for the conference by 14 July 2023; this includes those presenting online.

If you have registered for in person attendance and find yourself unable to attend you will be able to access the conference as an online delegate but will not be eligible for a refund.

Concession definition: Concession rates apply to all postgraduate researchers, unwaged, unaffiliated, and retired researchers, and staff on contracts of either less than 0.6FTE or else fixed for less than 12 months. These categories apply to the attendee’s circumstances on the first day of the conference.


These financial awards support presenters who are postgraduate researchers or unaffiliated/contingent faculty. One award is available for each working group (14 total). Awards can support individuals or teams (i.e., co-presenters). The awards cover:
  • Conference fee waiver;
  • One-year TaPRA membership; and
  • Access to a discretionary fund (maximum £300 per award*) to cover expenses and access costs, such as: travel; accommodation; sustenance; digital access; childcare etc.

These awards are highly competitive and we encourage everyone who is able to secure institutional support where possible. Applications for bursaries must be made at the same time you submit your proposal to the Working Group. This must be within the same document as your abstract/bio.

If applying for a bursary, please include the following:

  • Whether you are applying as a postgraduate or unaffiliated/contingent faculty member;
  • Whether you are applying for an individual or joint award*;
  • A statement of up to 100 words explaining why you are applying for the bursary; and
  • An outline of any expenses/access needs for which you would like to apply to the discretionary fund – including details of expected costs.
Application criteria:
  • Quality and strength of the submitted abstract; and
  • Strategic case made by the WG convenors outlining the significance of the applicant’s contribution to the WG sessions (connection to advertised theme, methodological approach, expected outcomes).

Conveners in each working group will consider applications according to the criteria above and will nominate one application to put forward for a bursary. Final decisions about awards, including requests for expenses and access costs, will be made by the TaPRA Executive Committee by 12 May. Notifications will be issued shortly thereafter.

* The discretionary fund of £300 is available per award, whether the application is to support an individual or a team. I.e., an award made to a team of two presenters means they have access to £300 between them, not each.

TaPRA at the University of Leeds

TaPRA 2023 will be held at the University of Leeds, 30 August – 1 September. The conference will take place on the university campus, with working group sessions and keynote talks held in the Michael Sadler Building, named after a notable figure in the history of modern art in Britain. The main plenary will take place in live streaming enabled Rupert Beckett Lecture Theatre, with additional sessions taking place in breakout rooms across the grade II listed, art deco Parkinson building. Performances will make use of a variety of dedicated performance spaces including the Workshop Theatre, Banham Theatre and stage@leeds.

The conference dinner will be held in The Refectory, a beautiful contemporary venue at the heart of the main campus famous for its musical history. The Rolling Stones, Elton John and Bob Marley have all graced this venue with their presence and perhaps one of the most famous live recordings ever made, The Who Live at Leeds, was recorded here. On campus, accommodation is available during the conference at our flagship residence, Storm Jameson Court. Offering a 24 hour reception and access to a large social space this is an ideal place to stay. Guests of Storm Jameson are also able to make use of the on campus gym and pool facilities at the recently renovated Edge Gym.

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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