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Popular Performance Working Group : Call for Papers

Popular Performance Working Group

TAPRA Annual Conference 2015, University of Worcester

Call for Papers

Risk and survival are two central principals to all forms of popular performance. From death defying stunts performed by circus artistes to risqué material delivered by comedians, performers are required to make judgement calls about how far they can push themselves, their craft and their audience.

Some forms of popular performance embrace this nature and play upon the illusion of risk. Whilst pantomime cods provide little risk to performer or audience as things seemingly go wrong, examples of kayfabe in wrestling demonstrate that even with rehearsal, skilled performers are not averse to physical injury as a result of a simple mistake. In the case of escapologists, historical reports of real injury or even death contribute to the aura of myth that surrounds such performances.

But it is not only the performer who must make careful decisions about how and what to perform, producers of popular performance forms exempt from Arts Council funding rely on a mixture of box office, spectacle, celebrity and advertising to ensure a return.


How and why is it that forms such as the musical have a higher success rate at recouping their costs? Why is it that comedian ‘Final Farewell’ tours sell out large arenas?

The ‘feel good’ nature of popular performance plays an important role in its enduring appeal, but what methods, modes and techniques have developed in its evolution and how important is ‘entertainment value’ to its survival today?

At this year’s conference, the Popular Performance Working Group seeks to explore the relationship between risk and survival across all popular performance forms and welcomes proposals for standard twenty minute papers, as well as different presentation formats, including short performances that represent the breadth of current research and practice in the field of popular performance.


Please email all abstracts (no more than 300 words) and further questions to both Simon Sladen and Chris Abbott at the following addresses: and The deadline for the submission of proposals is 17 April 2015.

Only one proposal may be submitted for the TaPRA 2015 Conference at the University of Worcester. 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.














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