The aim of the Music Theatre working group is to discuss a broad range of methodological and theoretical perspectives on all kinds of music theatre, from opera and popular forms (such as Broadway musicals) to contemporary experiments with new forms of music theatre. The background for the working group is our perception of the need to find new ways to deal with a subject which is part of at least two disciplines – theatre studies and musicology – but which is not, in fact, at home in either field. In our experience, musicologists tend to forget about the performance aspect and theatre scholars often forget about the music, so there is no doubt that we need to discuss music theatre from an interdisciplinary perspective. What our approaches all have in common is that they start from a notion of music theatre as theatre, performance and experience, always dealing with the interplay between all of the senses. Certainly not exhaustive, some areas of concern that extend to theatre and performance, broadly understood, include:
- Acoustemologies of theatre / performance
- Music in / as theatre and performance
- Performativities of song and dance
- Materialities of the voice
- Phenomenology of sound / music in performance
- Hearing cultures in performance: Cultural sounds and sounds in culture
- Politics and aesthetics of Opera
- Politics and aesthetics of Musicals
- Composed Theatre
- The Broadway and British Musical
- Experimental music theatre
- Hermeneutics of auditory reception in performance
- Aurality and performance; Listening and Voice
- Philosophies of sound / music in performance
- Politics of silence
- Noise / Music
- Intersections of music, sound and the performing body
- The Actor-Singer-Dancer
We welcome any scholar who works in the areas of sound / music and performance and would love for you to join us.
If you would like to know more about the Working Group, or if you have changed your e-mail-address, please contact the convenors (see below).
The group has published two edited collections with essays derived from discussions of the working group and comprised of chapters contributed by individual members.
The Legacy of Opera: Music Theatre as Experience and Performance (Rodopi Press, 2013)
The first collection considers the way in which ideological and cultural assumptions have impacted on our contemporary view of music theatre, focussing in particular on the way that opera’s development as a form and status as an art has inscribed a very particular set of assumptions and expectations about the musical stage that twentieth century developments have had to negotiate. In this respect, opera is seen as a defining cultural form and practice whose shadow looms large over the popular and modernising developments of the twentieth and twenty-first centuries.
Gestures of Music Theatre: The Performativity of Song and Dance (Oxford University Press, 2013).
There are two principal questions posed through this series of essays: how do song and dance function as physical and material gestures, as dimensions or perhaps sub-sets of music theatre works? How might identities be constituted for characters, performers and audiences within and through the song and dance of music theatre? The first consideration, through a series of philosophical discussions, engages with music theatre’s substance, function and form; the second, through analyses of those song and dance gestures in a range of music theatre contexts, engages with its reception, effect and affect.
We will be meeting at the next IFTR conference in Hyderabad, India, 2015.
More information will be available soon.
Marcus Tan (
George Rodosthenous (
Last Meeting: IFTR World Congress, Warwick, UK 2014
Next Meeting: IFTR Annual Conference, Hyderabad, India 2015