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Theatrical Event

Posted: May 23, 2012



for the meeting in Barcelona
22–26 July 2013


The subject of scandalous events associated with theatre and performance has been current in the working group for some few years. Now it has been decided that we should no longer delay, and rather engage with this slippery and promising area of research. The working group has brainstormed possible areas for investigation which are listed below. We invite the submission of your contribution to a spicy meeting in Barcelona.

The Theatrical Event working group is inviting papers on the following topics:

- theatre as a specific site that provokes scandals,
- the philosophy of scandals – what/when/where/ and to whom, and why is it a scandal,
- the structures and strategies of theatre scandals,
- the ethical, aesthetic, social, political, and economic contexts of theatre scandals,
- ethical and moral norms and values such as nudity, sexuality, and political or other ideologies creating theatre scandals,
- the impact and effect of theatre scandals to change aesthetic, social, or ethical norms, values and canons,
- productions and reception of scandalous plays/plots from diachronic and geographical perspectives,
- the historiography of scandalous events,
- social and political scandals as staged events.

Whilst new members are welcome to join, contributors are recommended to acquaint themselves with the former work of the Theatrical Event working group and are expected to circulate their texts three weeks before the meeting in Barcelona. Abstracts may be submitted to conference organizers until 31st January.

All correspondence should be sent to the group's convener, Prof. Anneli Saro ( This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. ) and to the co-convener, Prof. Willmar Sauter ( This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. ) (convener of the group 1998 – 2010):

Research interests and publications of the Theatrical Event working group

The Theatrical Event Working group was established in Puebla, Mexico in 1997. The following quotation from our book, Theatrical Events, Borders, Dynamics, Frames (2004) indicates the key terms of our work:
When we speak about a Theatrical Event, we think of someone doing something, ostentatiously enough to be distinguished from everyday life. To mark an event as theatrical, the distinction from other kinds of doings might be more important than its content. The distinction is twofold: on the one hand there is someone who does something in a different way than in regular life; on the other hand, there is also someone who sees and acknowledges this difference. Furthermore, both the doer and the observer have some idea that the possibility of such a distinction indicates that the doings during a theatrical event are different from similar actions outside a theatrical event. Theatre becomes theatre by being an event, in which two partners engage in a playful relationship. (2004: 11)


The group has published two books in the Rodopi/IFTR series 'Themes in Theatre – Collective Approaches to Theatre and Performance':

Theatrical Events. Borders, Dynamics, Frames, edited by Vicky Ann Cremona, Peter Eversmann, Hans van Mannen, Willmar Sauter and John Tulloch. Amsterdam: Rodopi, 2004. This book contains theories and methodologies that allow the reader to understand the concepts behind what is meant by 'theatrical event'. Details here.

Festivalising! Theatrical Events, Politics and Culture, edited by Temple Hauptfleisch, Shulamith Lev-aladgem, Jacqueline Martin, Willmar Sauter and Henri Schoenmakers. Amsterdam: Rodopi, 2007. Details here.

Playing is one of the key principles of theatre and other performative activities. It is also a cornerstone of the Theatrical Event, and new theatrical forms are expanding and challenging our concepts of playing. The working group has decided to continue its ambition to question playing and play culture within the framework of the Theatrical Event. The aim of the working group is to develop methodologies and strategies for the analysis of playing, in particular the relationship between performers and audiences, physical presence and embodiment, mediation and the various functions of playing.


As a joint effort of our meetings, including mutual critique and numerous revisions of the texts, the following book will be published in 2013:

Playing Culture. Conventions and Extensions, edited by Willmar Sauter, Vicky Ann Cremona, Gay Morris, Rikard Hoogland.

In 2011, a new and still on-going project was started under the title Poetics of Playing, which implies a number of research questions which can be summarized as the structures and strategies of playing.

Professor Anneli Saro (University of Tartu, Estonia): This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

Professor Willmar Sauter (Stockholm University, Sweden): This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

Next Meeting: Barcelona 2013.
Last Meetings: Stockholm 2012, Santiago 2012.

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