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Philadelphia Theatre Research Symposium Call for Papers


The Philadelphia Theatre Research Symposium (PTRS) announces its call for papers for its annual conference at Villanova University on May 1, 2020. This symposium offers the opportunity to present work in progress and to share ideas with other researchers. We are seeking papers which engage a broad range of topics in theatre and drama studies under the umbrella of Theatre for Social Change.

As Augusto Boal says, “Theatre is a form of knowledge; it should and can also be a means of transforming society. Theatre can help us build our future, rather than just waiting for it.” Theatrical force is not blunted by an actor’s bow or the falling curtain and we choose to focus on the forms of theatre that extend out into the streets to impact communities and respond to the ever-changing needs of the social, political, and environmental climate. What happens onstage can serve as kindling to set their audience alight, spreading its warmth and vision to the outside world as they spill out into the streets. This ethos is exemplified by the work of our keynote, Clare Dolan of Bread & Puppet Theater, a company whose mission of sharing bread and theatre with the masses extends from Vermont across the world.

How do artists seek and perform ways of bettering ourselves and our world with the dramatic arts? Papers are welcome to investigate historical answers to this question, perhaps involving theatrical figures we do not typically view in the light of theatre for social change, or provide new analyses of the work of known creators of theatre for social change, such as Bertolt Brecht, Augusto Boal, Ariane Mnouchkine, and others. We also welcome papers focusing on contemporary individual and movements whose impact might not be fully apparent at this moment. Through these inquiries, we hope to celebrate what theatre has and can do to impact our everyday lives.

Please submit a 250 word abstract for a 15 minute presentation to along with a 50 word biography, including your current affiliation, by March 30, 2020. Please include on a cover sheet:

-          The title of the paper

-          The presenter’s name

-          Affiliation

-          E-mail address

-          A brief bio

Please also include any technical requests that will be needed for the presentation.

Accepted speakers will be notified by April 2020.

Amid concerns about the spread of COVID-19, Villanova University Theatre will send updates when appropriate and send a final plan and schedule to all attendees and participants no later than April 15.

Department of Theatre and Studio Art
800 E. Lancaster Ave.
Villanova, PA 19085