EASTAP23 Associate Scholar: Lola Proaño Gómez

MEET EASTAP23 Associate Scholar
Lola Proaño Gómez (Buenos Aires)
On Community, Research and Dramaturgy
By Rui Pina Coelho, University of Lisbon

There is this common saying that suggests that we can see better from the periphery. The centre tends to obfuscate our perception. In effect, it is not difficult to find traces of the dominant Western/Global North cosmovision in most of theatre and performance scholarship, even where this particular field defines itself as anti-disciplinary and subversively undisciplined. Yet research largely published in other languages than the dominant English tends to be overlooked.

Lola Proaño Gómez has been for many decades a vocal scholar discussing the interweaving links and heritage of political theatre in contemporary south American theatre, adopting a multidisciplinary approach, connecting contemporary theatrical aesthetics with its historical-political context and, also, with feminist theory. Since 2011 Emeritus Professor at Pasadena City College, she is now researcher at the Instituto Gino Germani, Facultad de Ciencias Sociales, Universitad de Buenos Aires.

Having earned her PhD in Latin American Theatre (University of California, Irvine), and a Master in Philosophy (California State University, Los Angeles), Proaño Gómez wrote numerous works that have defined and expanded current debates on politics and performance in South American theatre, addressing topics such as the pernicious effect of neoliberalism and globalization in arts and communities, investigating the strength and presence of community theatre and its poetics of survival and resistance, and exploring theatrical imagination and utopia as political forces. Her books, such as Poética, Política y Ruptura: Argentina 1966-73 (2002); Poéticas de la globalización en el teatro latinoamericano (2007), Estética comunitaria. Miradas desde la filosofía y la política (2013) and Antología de teatro latinoamericano: 1950-2007 (2010) are characterized by her multidisciplinary perspective. They can help us as European theatre scholars to expand our general perception of the world, and help us better to deal with the social sensibility that we can find in contemporary performing arts around the globe.

At the EASTAP 23 Conference, Associate Scholar Lola Proaño Gómez will present her keynote lecture “The Dramaturgy of Research: Discerning Liberation in the Scenic Practices of Latin America, 1983–2021”.


I propose that in a theatrical context, the aesthetics of liberation produce scenes that build and articulate imaginary, visual, or textual bridges between the subject’s opening to the world (aesthesis) and its impact on subjectivity, giving rise to a stage production (poiesis) that favors the conservation and improvement of life. In themselves, these scenarios are liberating processes that, from within the system, stage the possibility of a counter or alternate hegemony: they make visible what the status quo has normativized, they announce the social disarticulation of late capitalism, and they raise the need and possibility of a different future and sociopolitical system to provide a better life.

As an academic, I believe it is necessary to consider the dramaturgy of research in order to seek possible, multiple, interdisciplinary, and contextualized ways of extracting the liberatory politics at work, though often not evident, on and off the stage. In my lecture for EASTAP, I will exemplify this observation by looking at the independent theatre scene of the neoliberal nineties in Latin America as well as the communal/community theatre scene in Argentina (1983–present).

Lola Proaño Gómez


Watch Lola Proaño Gómez is conversation with Rui Pina Coelho (in English)