Community Theater: Artistic Networks and the Theatrical Imagination
“The fiction that artistic labor happens in isolation, and that artistic accomplishment is exclusively the provenance of individual talents, is [...] repudiated by the facts,” wrote Tony Kushner in 1993 upon the completion of Angels in America. But theater studies has traditionally focused on the individual artist rather than the ensemble: from single-‐author labels on published plays, to studies of directors or playwrights that neglect to mention performers, to books on individual actors that downplay the context of ensembles.
This seminar will investigate examples of theatrical networking and collaboration across geographical, social, religious, and cultural borders. Our aim is twofold: first, to explore how artistic networks contribute to the theatrical process; and second, to understand how communities and social networks are built through the making of theater, from the early modern world to the present.
We welcome proposals that engage in historicized treatments of ensembles, theater troupes, collectives, and artistic circles, especially examples in which theater-‐making overlaps with other kinds of artistic and intellectual production. What kinds of collaborations and connections have theater artists forged with prose writers, publishers, journalists, graphic artists, musicians, public intellectuals, politicians, and other culture makers? Do theater practitioners have a special role to play in building transnational or transcultural communities?
We are also interested in papers that explore methodological approaches to developing network-‐oriented theater histories. What does a historiographical focus on theatrical networks bring to the table that other approaches have missed? We welcome proposals from historians and theater historians, literary scholars, performance studies theorists, dramaturges, and others.
To apply, please submit an abstract directly via the ACLA Conference site:
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