Popular Performance

The Popular Performance Working Group was formed five years ago to explore popular performance forms including, but not limited to, stand-up comedy, clowning, cabaret, circus, pantomime and conjuring/magic. Members’ fields of interest extend from pre 20th century performance to contemporary iterations of popular form. Conference themes have included risk and survival, performer training, illusion and reality and engagements with the history of popular performance. More recently we have started to consider new media platforms and their impact on performance. Recurring themes that emerge from our work touch on audience/performer relationships, liveness and the display and/or concealment of skill. We also frequently engage with debates surrounding definitions of the popular. We hold annual interim events and have attended performances in Blackpool and the Hackney Empire in recent years. Follow us on Twitter: @PopPerTaPRA Previous conference themes:

  • 2017 – Localisation, commercialism and globalisation (Salford)
  • 2016 – Illusion or Reality? (Bristol)
  • 2015 – Risk and Survival (Worcester)
  • 2014 – Histories and Traditions (Royal Holloway)
  • 2013 – Training the Popular Performer (Glasgow)
  • 2012 – First meeting of working group (Kent)

Current Convenors

Simon Sladen

Victoria & Albert Museum

Popular Performance

Convenors 2017/2018

Catriona Craig

Buckinghamshire New University

Calls for Participation


Interim Events

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