Theatre and Alternative Value

 In PG Symposium Archive

Theatre and Alternative Value

A TaPRA Postgraduate Symposium

10.30am – 5pm, 28th January 2012

Royal Holloway, Bedford Square (2 Gower Street, London, WC1E 6DP)


Changes in government policy are directly impacting on how theatre comes to be valued, both as an art form and as an academic discipline. This invites us to consider how value comes to be defined and produced, whilst spurring consideration of what space there might be to propose and explore alternative values as theatre practitioners and researchers. This interim symposium takes a threefold approach to theatre and alternative value; it looks to unpack theatre’s relation to ethics and society, cultural policy and critique, and, finally, nationality and tradition. The symposium questions what it means to innovate in the theatre today asking what might be lost or gained as value systems of different orders either morph, or remain static.


Professor Jen Harvie will be offering a keynote paper titled ‘Artpreneur: The Artist as Model Neoliberal Subject’. This will explore some of the ways that recent UK and English cultural policy has called on artists – and theatre-makers in particular – to model idealised neoliberal subjectivity as creative entrepreneurs – self-starting, self-producing, self-managing, innovative, creative and possibly wealthy. It will investigate: policy and funding directives that request or require artists to be both creative and entrepreneurial; what policy makers and the neoliberal state hope to cultivate through these performances of artpreneurialism, from re-modeled subjects to inward investment; and some of the risks – and also potentials – for artists and art of their incorporation into, or negotiation of, artist-led entrepreneurialism. It is fundamentally concerned to interrogate just what value is in it for theatre makers in their apparent reevaluation and celebration as model neoliberal subjects.


David Sabel, Head of Digital Media at the National Theatre, will be speaking about the growth and development of digital media in the performing arts sector, with a specific focus on the case study of National Theatre Live, an initiative set up to broadcast live productions from the National to cinemas around the world. Digital media and innovative technologies are changing the landscape of many creative industries, notably music and publishing, but present unique cases in the live arts. Digital creates new opportunities for value creation both in terms of innovation in distribution but also in art form development. The National Theatre see digital media as a core strand in the wider mission and objectives of the National, as well as an opportunity to extend, enrich and, at times, transform the live experience.


There will be three postgraduate panels celebrating a diverse range of approaches to the core theme of ‘Theatre and Alternative Value’. Charlotte Bell, Nicola Conibere, Veronica Rodriguez Morales and Aylwyn Walsh will present on ‘Ethics, Aesthetics and Society’. Diana Damian and Rebecca Daker will present on ‘Cultural Policy and Critique’. Laura Griffiths, Jeremy Bidgood, Michael Pearce and Simon Bell will present on ‘Nationality and Tradition’. The day will be concluded with a round table discussion chaired by Professor Harvie. All delegates will be invited to participate should they wish to.


Registration and coffee will be between 10.30 and 11am, with the keynote starting at 11. The concluding round table will finish at 5pm. Lunch will not be provided, but there will be refreshments and there are several shops and cafes nearby. Should you wish to attend, please send an email to [log in to unmask]


Attendance is free for TaPRA members. For those not currently registered as a TaPRA member, there is a £10 membership charge on the day made payable by cheque which will entitle you to a year’s membership also covering the 2012 TaPRA conference.


We look forward to hearing from you.


With kind regards,


Adam Alston, Virginia Elgar and Michael Pearce

TaPRA Postgraduate Representatives

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