Theater History Symposium


Collaborations, Ensembles, Institutions

Symposium Respondent: Dr. Sonja Kuftinec

Theatre History Symposium

Mid-America Theatre Conference, March 3-6, 2011


(Click HERE for a .pdf version of the CFP)

For MATC’s 2011 meeting in Minneapolis, the Theatre History Symposium invites proposals for papers on or around the theme of company. What are the challenges of writing about contemporary or historical theatre companies, ensembles, or processes of collaboration? How does the field of theatre studies theorize company, from Aristotle to Stephen Sondheim? Following the promptings of Thomas Postlewait in The Cambridge Introduction to Theatre Historiography, how does research dealing with practices of theatrical “company” negotiate the inter-relation of documentary scholarship and cultural history? What can uniquely be articulated about the intersection of artistry, administration, and audiences by looking at histories of companies or artists keeping company?

Possible topics might address these questions, or explore one or more of the following:

—Inquiries into the use or limits of an institutional history model to write about theatre

—Intersections of personal relationships and professional relationships in theatre practice

—Representations or case studies of partnerships, artistic collaborations, or theatre companies

—Historicizing ideas about collaboration, partnership, or ensemble

—The problem of the “genius” or the tensions between individual artist and the ensemble

—Theatrical spaces which are company “homes,” or, theatrical spaces without companies

—The creation of specific theatre ensembles or institutions around identity or community markers

—Explorations and documentations of the relationship between community and company

—Touring companies and touring circuits

—Responses of critics to theatre companies as supporters, as patrons, or as detractors

—The funding and financial practices of theatre companies

—The role of playwrights, designers, directors, and dramaturgs within collaborations or companies

—When a good company goes bad: illicit affairs, shattered relationships, devastated collaborations

—Issues of evidence and corroboration related to theatre companies and documentation (or lack thereof)

Please direct proposals and queries to the Theatre History Symposium co-chairs:

Dr. Sara Freeman
University of Oregon

Dr. Beth Osborne
Florida State University

You may submit proposals by email in Word format to both co-chairs.

Proposals should include the following items:

–Your name, title (student, faculty, independent scholar), and academic affiliation.

–Your contact information (particularly email).

–The title and abstract for your paper.  Please limit abstracts to 250 words.

–Any audiovisual elements you request for your presentation.   (Please note:  We cannot always guarantee audiovisual support, but will endeavor to take requests into account. Late requests may not be honored.)

We also welcome proposals for full panels.  Contact the co-chairs for more information.

All proposals must be received by October 15, 2010

Robert A. Schanke Award

The Robert A. Schanke Research Award is given annually to an untenured faculty presenter of the Theatre History Symposium and carries a cash award of $500 as well as subsequent publication of the paper in Theatre History Studies, the journal of the Mid-America Theatre Conference.  To be eligible for the Schanke Award, candidates must submit full, conference-length versions of their paper to the co-chairs at the addresses above by February 15, 2011.