Performance And Revolution

I.S.T.R. 2017 / 28-29 April, University of Nottingham

CFP Deadline: 8 February 2017

In this conference we invite speakers to reflect on revolution in performance. How has theatre and performance staged revolution? What narratives of revolution have shaped the production and reception of performance? How has theatre form and style been shaped by the social and political contexts of revolution? But also, what are the revolving and cyclical histories of performance?

The conference takes its impetus from the decade of centenaries in Ireland which has witnessed a number of new historical perspectives emerging to public prominence. These involve, but are not restricted to, the perspectives on the decade of revolution that have been offered by women’s groups and Feminists; LBGTQ figures; BAME communities; children; the elderly; English soldiers and politicians; satirists and pop-cultural spokespeople; members of the global Irish diaspora; as well as various class-and geographically-inflected groups.

We are interested in papers that discuss the way that performance has interconnected with the emergence of long-overlooked narratives about, and perspectives upon, the revolutionary decade. Even those who never go to a performative event may be aware of the Noble call of Panti Bliss; the celebratory protests of the Waking the Feminists movement; or of David Norris’s campaign to relocate the Abbey Theatre to the GPO. We are interested in hearing from speakers who may be willing to discuss what such particularly high-profile interventions might mean in the context of Ireland’s process of rethinking its past. 

But we are just as particularly interested in papers that extend this conversation beyond Ireland. How have other theatrical cultures staged, interacted, and witnessed revolution. Has revolution in performance been necessary, or indulgent? What, if anything, has changed?

Allied to these points, we wish to discuss why theatre and performance across the globe takes such a central place in ongoing debates about commemorating revolution, either through public spectacle as commemoration, or through the restaging of revolutionary strategies of representation: from revolutionary theatrical manifestos to revolutionary plays.

Speakers may wish to consider the drama, theatre and performance of:

  • Revolution in performance
  • Revolution as performance
  • Revolution and commemoration
  • Space/Place and Revolution
  • Manifestos
  • Happenings
  • National Theatres
  • Monologue Performance
  • Riots/Protests/Disturbances
  • Memory and Historiography
  • Theatre architecture
  • Space/Place in Performance
  • Gender and sexuality
  • Class
  • Community
  • Contemporary practitioners
  • The archive
  • Proclamation Day, 2016
  • Easter Weekend, 2016


  • Dr Lauren Arrington (University of Liverpool)
  • Professor Victor Merriman (Edge Hill University)
  • Professor James Moran (University of Nottingham)

Abstracts should of 250 words in length, accompanied by a 150 word biography should be submitted to on/before 1 February 2017.

The organisers will be looking to publish a selection of papers with an academic press in a volume to appear after the conference.