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Creating for the Stage and other Spaces: Questioning Practices and Theories

Organized by Claudio Longhi and Daniele Vianello

The twentieth century witnessed crucial changes in creation for the stage, which in extreme cases resulted in a negation of theatre itself. While trying to negotiate this legacy, two decades into the twenty-first century, further transformations and developments are taking place, requiring new theoretical languages that adopt the past as an essential matrix for examining the present and future.

The III EASTAP Conference (European Association for the Study of Theatre and Performance) intends to study this specific subject as well as helping to establish and support a dialogue between different cultures and customs in a moment, our present time, when the idea of Europe is thrown into question.
As a logical follow-up to the Paris and Lisbon editions which focused on decentralisation and shared memory(ies) of the European contemporary stage, this third EASTAP Conference will examine creating for the stage from past to present and across practice and theory. With the express intention to embed the EASTAP Conference in the Festival VIE 2020 (international theatre festival), we will foreground dialogue on the creative process with artists.

Researchers have investigated creative practices and related issues from many different perspectives. Over the course of the twentieth century, these practices and perspectives were considered to be useful knowledge for understanding artistic works; later, they turned into a set of cultural objects in their own right, requiring specific approaches and publishing. In the third millennium, as the focus has moved from the culture of the product to the culture of the process, creative practices have been included in the resulting stage works as organic and inseparable parts of the same process.

The conference structure includes two main areas of investigation which, in turn, include four major interlocking topics: theories of textual composition and practices of textual composition; theories of performance creation, or ‘writing for the stage’, and practices of ‘writing for the stage’.

By ‘textual composition’ we understand not only play-texts, but also multiple literary as well as other verbal types of languages. Examples include texts derived from improvisation; performance-‘scripts’; materials used in documentary theatre; the dramaturg’s contributions, which enable the text to shift between author, director, actors and audience.

By ‘stage writing’ we understand that stage processes can become a writing system of their own, involving all theatrical elements. The notion applies to theatre direction as well as to avant-garde and contemporary performance art, where non-linguistic features can be afforded semiotic value, adding to the theatrical language.
Both of these main areas of enquiry – ‘textual composition’ and ‘stage writing’ – include two sub-topics, namely theoretical perspectives aspects and artistic practices. Each, in turn, can be set either in a historical or contemporary context.

Artists from the Festival VIE 2020 are invited to take part in the conference by entering into dialogue with experts, journalists, researchers and theatre professionals sharing their ideas about the topics of enquiry via presentations, performances, masterclasses, round tables and audio-visual materials.

The following list of topics is not intended to be prescriptive, but as a proposition to identify different perspectives from which to consider approaching theatre creation. Below are some examples of subjects and guideline questions:

I. Text composition – theories

a) historical dimension: What are the methods and results of the interaction historically occurring between theatrical theories, artistic aesthetics and stage practices? How have theatrical theories reflected cultural, social, political or other phenomena?
b) contemporary dimension: How do theories influence or anticipate theatrical innovation? What are the implications of the concepts of dramatic, post-dramatic and post-modern?

II. Text composition – practices

a) historical dimension: How is the relationship between textual composition and stage production changing? How is textual composition influenced by production practices, from festivals to opera, from ballet to genres including acting and music?
b) contemporary dimension: What new practices are emerging as a result of the development of new dramatic models? What is the role of the contemporary so-called dramatist? How do new technologies affect writing practices and their application on stage?

III. Stage writing – theories

a) historical dimension: What influences do early forms of stage writing have
on successive generations? How do such writing methods contribute to the development of new forms of theatre direction?
b) contemporary dimension: What has ‘writing for the stage’ meant from the late twentieth century to now? How does this concept apply to the different languages and social contexts in Europe as well as around our globalised world?

IV. Stage writing – practices

a) historical dimension: From techniques used in the Commedia dell’Arte, through to the twentieth century, from livrets de mise en scène to contemporary directors’ notebooks, what are the different historical practices of stage writing and their distinctive features? How did the early forms of stage writing influence directing techniques?
b) contemporary dimension: How have stage writing practices resulted impacted on the conception of space, time, sound, lighting, image, actor performance and the audience? What is the role of the author, director, actor and spectator, in a theatre world where workshops and community theatre promote collaborative stage writing?



Please send your proposal by 04 October 2019 (new deadline) to the III EASTAP Conference organisers:


Presentations: max. 20 minutes, followed by a 10-minute discussion.

Applications must include:
– Name, surname, institution (if any)
– Abstract of 300 words (max.) in English and in the language of the presentation (if other than English; FR or IT), in a Word document, Times New Roman, 12pt
– Selected subject(s) (among the four main topics listed above)
– 150-word (max.) biography
– Any technical requirements for your presentation

The selection of panels/papers will be made by the Organizing Committee and Scientific Committee. The decisions will be made public by October 25th, 2019 (new deadline).

Scientific Committee: Antonio Araujo, Christopher Balme, Maria João Brilhante, Chloe Déchery, Josette Féral, Clare Finburgh, Gerardo Guccini, Stefan Hulfeld, Lorenzo Mango, Aldo Milohnić, Elena Randi, Anneli Saro, Diana Taylor, Gabriele Vacis, Piermario Vescovo.
Organizing Committee: Claudio Longhi – Daniele Vianello – Gerardo Guccini (heads), Silvia Cassanelli, Valentina Falorni, Licia Ferrari, Viviana Gardi, Stefania Lodi Rizzini, Giulia Maurigh, Rossella Mazzaglia, Debora Pietrobono, Martina Sottana, Angelo Vassalli.
Secretary Office: Angelo Vassalli (head), Licia Ferrari, Yumi Suzuki.

Languages of the Conference: English, French, Italian.

Conference registration can be made until November 15th, 2019 (new deadline) according to the guidelines https://www.eastap.com/registration/

Registration includes free access to all shows and cultural events included in the Festival VIE 2020 (booking required). The full programme of Festival VIE 2020 events and artists will be available at https://www.viefestival.com/vie2020/, autumn 2019.

Conference registration fees
EASTAP regular members: 70 Euros
EASTAP student members: 35 Euros

Please note that EASTAP membership is a necessary precondition for Conference registration.
Please register here: https://www.eastap.com/registration/


How to proceed to register to a Conference.

  1. a) Make sur you are registered to the Association.

If not, this is step 1.

Go to EASTAP registration page

Choose your status (regular member, student, institutional)

And pay

You should receive by mail a notice of confirmation

  1. b) once you  have registered a new page opens up with the rates for the conference you want to register to:

II EASTAP Lisbon (22-25 Septembre 2019)

III EASTAP Bologna (27-29 February 2020)

  1. c) click the Conference you want to attend and pay

You will receive a notice of confirmation

Thank you  for having REGISTERED to the conference.

All enquiries concerning registration should be made to registration@eastap.com

All enquiries concerning Call or organization of the Conference should be made exclusively to segreteriaconference.bo2020@gmail.com

For any other information, please refer to: