EASTAP 2021: New spectatorship in post-covid times: theatre and the digital

Online Conference

Vilnius, Lithuania, September 23-24, 2021

Conference website https://www.eastap.com/
Submission link https://easychair.org/conferences/?conf=eastap2021
Download the program


Deadline for paper proposals
April 15, 2021

Acceptance notifications
June 30, 2021

All participants at the conference must be EASTAP members. Membership of EASTAP includes conference attendance. No additional fees for presenting papers and attending the conference will be collected. Registration of attendance, however, will be required.

Languages for the Conference
English, French

Founded in Paris in October 2017, European Association of the Studies of Theatre and Performance (EASTAP) seeks to bring together researchers and artists, to promote the multiple methods, approaches and languages employed by theatre and performance scholars and makers.

It would be an understatement to suggest that the world has changed since early 2020. The pandemic caused by the COVID-19 virus has transformed so many realities, that the true extent is yet to be estimated. It is especially true in the case of theatre, the making and spectating of which have been confronted with an altogether unprecedented set of challenges, issues and – ultimately – solutions. Restrictions and risks caused by the pandemic have revealed the multiple vulnerabilities of theatre: the physicality (famously known as the ‘liveness’) of its making and spectating became the key reason why the show simply could not go on, to quote Peter Gelb of the Metropolitan Opera. Part of the theatre world indeed stood still as if at Aulis, waiting for the wind to change; another part, however, carried on embracing new, safer and in most cases digital formats. The mediatization of existing forms of theatre, as well as the proliferation of new forms of performing, resulted in the unprecedented availability of theatre online in 2020 and early 2021.

The theatre, now more frequently accessible without leaving ones’ home and screen, in its turn has produced a particular kind of experience, which has triggered extensive debate and discussion. For some, watching theatre online does not deserve the name. For others, this change is a thrilling opportunity to make and to enjoy the art of performance (sometimes for the first time). Ranging from streamed live or pre-recorded full-scale productions to micro-acts on the TikTok, theatre has undoubtedly found a way to attract new audiences.

One of the major questions for many theatre-makers during the pandemic is how the theatre will look after social gatherings are permitted again. How will this affect the ways in which theatre is made and indeed engaged with? As Peter Kümmel asks in Die Zeit (12.11.2020), does the pandemic indicate an eternal change in the way we perceive theatre? One change could be related to a post-digital situation in theatre, which can be defined by the interaction between digital and analogue ways of performance, in the sense that real-time action or performative readings in physical space can be combined with electronic transmissions in multidimensional spaces. This was very much the case in the festival Oktoberdans organized by BIT Teatergarasjen in the autumn of 2020. Post-digital theatre can also refer to analogue technology used in performance lectures or memory presentations, which were already present in pre-pandemic times: the small performative staging by the co-founder of Baktruppen, Tone Avenstroup, living and working in Berlin. Examples of post-digital productions were part of the EASTAP conference programme in Lisbon. These performances use “oldfashioned” sound recording systems or non-digitalized film recordings. Exploring post-digital theatre should be connected with the question of new authenticity and memory readings, which could even be defined as predigital. However, it is post-digital in the sense that it may turn into a reaction to the digital. In a post-pandemic context, a consequence of the crisis may lay in expressions marked by the analogue as a re-action to the massive streaming.

The aim of the 2021 EASTAP conference in its digital iteration is to register, discuss and reflect on the most recent developments in global theatre culture(s). Focusing on the (forced) mediatization of theatre, the conference will address questions of digital theatre-making and (new) spectating, with the intention to articulate and conceptualize the experiences learned as the world found new ways of making and engaging with theatre during a pandemic.

You are invited to send a 250-word abstract of your proposed paper in English or French, indicating the sub-theme of the conference with a brief biography using link: https://easychair.org/conferences/?conf=eastap2021

Proposals for curated panels are also welcome. Please, send a description of your idea and a list of presenters using link:


List of Subthemes

The sub-themes of the conference include, but are not limited to, issues of:

digital spectatorship and the digital theatre experience
digitally immersive theatre
the mediatization of theatre
the development of digital audiences
the digital divide in theatre
the labour conditions of (digital) theatre makers
post-digital theatre

Organizing Committee
Asta PETRIKIENĖ (Lithuanian Culture Research Institute / Vilnius Gediminas Technical University, LT), Bryce LEASE (Royal Holloway University of London, UK), Clare FINBURGH DELIJANI (Goldsmiths University of London, UK), Daniele VIANELLO (University of Calabria, IT), Josette FÉRAL (Université Sorbonne Nouvelle-Paris 3, FR), Jurgita STANIŠKYTĖ (Vytautas Magnus University, LT), Knut Ove ARNTZEN (University of Bergen, NO), Maria DELGADO (The Royal Central School of Speech and Drama, UK), Maria João BRILHANTE (University of Lisbon, PT), Martynas PETRIKAS (Vilnius University, LT), Peter M. BOENISCH (Aarhus University, DK), Rasa VASINAUSKAITĖ (Lithuanian Culture Research Institute, LT), Stefania Lodi RIZZINI (Université Sorbonne Nouvelle-Paris 3, FR), Timmy DE LAET (University of Antwerp, B)

Invited Speakers
Sarah BAY-CHENG, is the Dean of the School of the Arts, Media, Performance and Design at York University in Toronto, Canada. She was formerly Chair and Professor of Theatre and Dance at Bowdoin College, teaching theatre history and theory, dramatic literature, and intermedia performance. Her research focuses on the intersections among theatre performance, and media including histories of cinema, social media, and digital technologies in performance.Her recent publications include Performance and Media: Taxonomies for a Changing Field (2015) and Mapping Intermediality in Performance (2010) as well as essays in TheaterContemporary Theatre Review, and Theatre Journal, among others. She is a co-host for On TAP: A Theatre and Performance Studies podcast. Bay-Cheng frequently lectures internationally and in 2015 was a Fulbright Visiting Scholar at Utrecht University in the Netherlands. She has served on the boards of Performance Studies international and the Association for Theatre in Higher Education, and is currently a member of the Executive Committee for the American Society for Theatre Research (ASTR). Bay-Cheng has also worked as a director and dramaturg with particular interest in intermedial collaborations and a fondness for puppetry.

Gabriella GIANACCHI, FRSA, MAE, is Professor in Performance and New Media, and Director of the Centre for Intermedia and Creative Technologies at the University of Exeter, which promotes advanced interdisciplinary research in creative technologies by facilitating collaborations between academics from a range of disciplines with cultural and creative organisations.

Her publications include: On Directing, ed. with Mary Luckhurst (Methuen 1999); Staging the Post-avantgarde, co-authored with Nick Kaye (Peter Lang 2002); Virtual Theatres: an Introduction (Routledge 2004); Performing Nature: Explorations in Ecology and the Arts, ed. with Nigel Stewart (Peter Lang 2005); The Politics of New Media Theatre (Routledge 2007); Performing Presence: Between the Live and the Simulated, coauthored with Nick Kaye (MUP 2011), nominated in Theatre Library Association 44th Annual Book Awards (2012); Performing Mixed Reality, coauthored with Steve Benford (MIT Press 2011); Archaeologies of Presence, co-edited with Nick Kaye and Michael Shanks (Routledge 2012); Archive Everything: Mapping the Everyday (MIT Press 2016) and Histories of Performance Documentation: Museum, Artistic and Scholarly Practices, co-edited with Jonah Westerman (Routledge 2017). She is currently working on a monograph researching technologies for selfportraiture for Routeldge and, in collaboration with Annet Dekker, she is working on an edited collection in the field of digital art documentation.

Gareth WHITE, BA, PhD, FHEA, is teacher, researcher and a theatre director specialising in participatory practice and known in particular for research on so called Immersive Theatre. His teaching and research overlaps in focus on collaborative creative processes and participatory practices. Audience Participation in Theatre: Aesthetics of the Invitation, a monograph theorising how spectators are transformed into performers, was published by Palgrave Macmillan in 2013. Applied Theatre: Aesthetics, a short monograph with accompanying essays from other researchers, was published by Bloomsbury Methuen in 2014: it explores the idea of the aesthetic in performance practice with social aims. Currently he is writing a new monograph, to be published by Routledge, provisionally titled Dialectics of Participation: Meaning in the Midst of Performance. He has a chapter awaiting publication in Colette Conroy and Nic Fryer’s Rancière and Performance, discussing the application of Jacques Rancière’s theory to game-based performance practices.

His other publications include: The Audience in Intermedial Theatre’, in Intermedial Theatre, Principles and Practice, Edited by Mark Crossley (Red Globe Press 2019); ‘The Promise of Participation Revisited’ in Staging Spectators in Immersive Performances: Commit Yourself!, Edited by Doris Kolesch, Theresa Schutz and Sophie Nikoleit (Routledge 2019); ‘Theatre in the “Forest of Things and Signs”’, The Journal of Contemporary Drama in English, 4:1 (2016); Applied Theatre: Aesthetics (Bloomsbury Methuen 2015); Audience Participation in Theatre: Aesthetics of the Invitation (Palgrave Macmillan 2013); ‘On Immersive Theatre’, Theatre Research International 37:3, pp. 221-235 (2012); ‘Noise, Conceptual Noise, and the Potential of Audience Participation’ in Theatre Noise, Edited by Lynne Kendrick, L. and David Roesner (London: Cambridge Scholars’ Press 2011).

EASTAP Associate Artist 2021

Phia MÉNARD, is a performer, founder of Nova Nova company. Her work has been performed in Argentina, Austria, Australia, Belgium, Benin, Brazil, Bulgaria, Brunei, Burkino Faso, Burundi, Cameroon, Canada, Chili, China, Colombia, Croatia, Denmark, Equator, The Federation of Russia, Finland, France, Gabon, Germany, Great Britain, Greece, Haiti, Hong Kong, Hungary, Indonesia, Ireland, Italy, Japan, Jordan, Kosovo, Laos, Latvia, Lebanon, Madagascar, Malaysia, Mali, Mauritius, Mexico, Morocco, Myanmar, Namibia, Niger, Nigeria, Portugal, the Republic of Cape Verde, the Republic of Serbia, Scotland, Senegal, Slovakia, South Africa, South Korea, Spain, Sweden, Switzerland, Taiwan, Thailand, Togo, The United Arab Emirates, The United States, Uruguay, Yemen.

The conference will be hosted online by the Faculty of Communication, Vilnius University

All questions about submissions should be emailed to eastap2021@gmail.com

Faculty of Communication, Vilnius University

Lithuanian National Drama Theatre

Young Scholars’ Forum EASTAP
Call for contributions
21 June 2021, Aarhus/online
23 – 24 September 2021, Vilnius/online

In 2021, EASTAP’s Young Scholars’ Forum aims to bring together PhD candidates and starting researchers in for two online research days. In June, the participants to the Forum will be able to present their research and their experiences to their peers and to senior scholars, to discuss research problems and to talk informally.

The June meeting will also include a keynote and seminar with Dr. Koku G. Nonoa (University of Luxembourg) on the topic of “Intersectional Imaginations”, as well as an open roundtable for all to discuss and exchange problems, and potential solutions, for impediments and obstacles caused by the Covid-19 situation for timebound PhD research and similar projects.

The Forum welcomes contributions on any aspect of theatre studies, performance studies, dance studies, opera, puppetry, circus, etc. Moreover, we specifically invite contributions dealing with following topics:

  1. Radical Imaginations: Race, Representation and Diversity in Theatre and the Arts. Contemporary European theatre and performance practices and epistemological reflections are at challenging crossroads of multilayered cultural encounters and diversities of individual and collective identity constructions, along with processes of othering and aesthetic strategies of inclusion and exclusion. In this connection, dynamics of power-relation and politics of perception connected to issues of representation and diversity in European theatre raise the following question: Who should or may represent whom on a stage, especially concerning certain manifestations of otherness, such as in the case of people with physical disabilities and/or from other sociocultural backgrounds? How to deal with the otherness of the person(s) portrayed (cf. Müller-Schöll 2019) has become a contentious issue in the contemporary context of diverse and societies in Europe?
  2. “The research that could have been”. Scholarly research in pandemictimes. In times of a global pandemic, every aspect of our daily and professional lives has been severely redefined. Professionally, COVID-19 has presented theatre scholars with serious research challenges. Theatre venues, libraries and archives were the first who had to close their doors. Many artistic collaborations have been put on ice, awaiting postpandemic times. And working from home, many scholars have been facing the solitude of academic research in harsh isolation. We invite contributions that specifically deal with the research problems that were caused by the pandemic, both on a social and psychological level and on the level of methodology and (lack of available) source material. How do you deal with research challenges in pandemic times? Which strategies do you use to deal with these challenges?

In September, the Young Scholars’ Forum meets again for a research seminar during the 2021 EASTAP conference. Then, we will discuss research progress booked over the summer, we will debate joint readings and general issues and topics related to the research and the EASTAP conference.

As a research seminar with two meeting events (in June and September), the Forum aims to support young researchers both in research subject, research contexts, research problems and methodologies, especially in pandemic times.

The Forum has no age limit and is open to any researcher wanting to present starting research projects.


Application should include:
– A cover letter, arguing why you want to take part in the Young Scholars’ Forum
– An abstract of no more than 500 words.
– A short biography of no more than 200 words.

These application documents should be sent as one PDF-file to


Application Deadline: 1 April 2021 – EXTENDED DEADLINE 12 MAY 2021

Acceptance Notification: 30 April 2021 – NOTIFICATION 16 MAY 2021

More information?

EASTAP contacts for the Young Scholars’ Forum:
Prof. Dr. Jeroen Coppens: Jeroen.Coppens@UGent.be
Stefania Lodi Rizzini: slr.eastap@gmail.com