TaPRA 2020, 2 – 4 September, Liverpool Hope University, Theatre History and Historiography Working Group CfP: Working with the past, operating in the present, looking to the future

Deadline: Friday 17 April 2020

‘To be ignorant of what occurred before you were born is to remain always a child. For what is the worth of human life, unless it is woven into the life of our ancestors by the records of history.’ (Cicero)
In his 2004 article Thomas Postlewait ruminated on a ‘Disciplinary Mandate’ for theatre historians and considered the ways in which the field might develop in years to come, asking ‘How, then, will our discipline define itself tomorrow?’
Since the early years of this century theatre/performance historians have continued to explore the practice(s) of historiography, broadening the field of scholarship and study and adding to a body of knowledge and range of methodologies; such diverse approaches are found in works including Davis and Emeljanow (2001) Reflecting the audience; Taylor (2003) The Archive and the Repertoire; Davis (2007) The Economics of the British Stage; Bratton (2011) The Making of the West End Stage; Bush-Bailey (2011) Performing Herself: Autobiography and Fanny Kelly’s Dramatic Recollections; Schneider (2014) Theatre & History; Balme and Davis (2017) Cultural History of the Theatre; Gale (2020) A Social History of British Performance Cultures 1900-1939 and surveyed in publications including Zarilli, McConachie, Williams and Sorgenfrie (2006) Theatre Histories: An Introduction, Postlewait (2009) The Cambridge Introduction to Theatre Historiography, Wiles (2012) The Cambridge Companion to the Theatre History and Cochrane and Robinson (2019) The Methuen Drama Handbook of Theatre History and Historiography.
As we enter the 2020’s and in a time of increasing precarity and urgency for Arts advocacy in education (and society) the Theatre History and Historiography working group would like to bring the question of our identity to the forefront as we consider the ‘foundational attributes which unite us’ as theatre historians and, as David Wiles has more recently queried, ‘the ways forward for our sub-discipline.’
As such, we’d welcome papers that engage with theatre/performance history/ historiography in its past, present and future form(s) and examine our ongoing/contingent relationship to interpreting, reinterpreting, representing and reflecting the theatrical past.
Where/what next for theatre/performance history and historiography?
Topics could include (but are not limited to):
– Research methods and methodologies
– Contemporary debates and practices
– Focus/objects of enquiry
– Liveness – ‘then’ and ‘now’
– Challenging existing models, approaches and narratives (and opportunities for ‘new’ alternatives)
– The future of/for theatre history and historiography
– Framing/reframing the past
– The archive, records and evidence
– Decolonisation and inclusivity
– Relationship with the canon
– National, International and Global theatre histories
– Transmissions of knowledge – pedagogies, positionalities, perspectives
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, Dr Hayley Bradley and Dr Lucie Sutherland, at theatrehistory@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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