Friday, July 21, 2017

CALL: Populism and Theatre

Shota Rustaveli State University of Theatre and Film. Photo: Giorgi Balakhadze
An international colloquium on "Theatre and Populism" has been announced for October 4–5, 2017, in Tbilisi, Georgia. This is an event sanctioned by the International Association of Theatre Critics (AICT-IATC) in association with the Tbilisi International Festival of Theatre, and Shota Rustaveli Tbilisi State University of Theatre and Film. Following is an excerpted English translation of the call for papers.
In modern history and, especially, in recent years "Populism" has become a commonly used term in politics and culture. Might we, therefore, deploy this term to describe political, cultural or everyday life? Is it useful as a descriptor for aesthetic, practical, or socio-political dimensions in our experience? Is there even a precise linguistic definition of the term?
For understanding Populism, researchers often refer to 19th century Russian and American populists, to Ancient Greeks, to the slogan of the French Revolution "Exprimer le peuple," to present-day politicians such as Le Pen, Trump, Erdogan, and to Brecht’s political theatre. According to Pierre Rosan Vallon, Populism is the ugliest answer to the dysfunctions of democracy.
With dissonant, contradictory definitions at the core of the phenomenon and with diverse means, possibilities, methods, and resources available for its implementation, we may trace one common feature: that populism functions only if it is targeted to a certain group, stratum, or community of people that can be defined and manipulated. Thus, Populism, like theatre, cannot exist without people, without audience.
The main topic of our 5th International Colloquium launched under the umbrella of the International Association of Theatre Critics and its Georgian Section is "Theatre and Populism." Topics of interest for papers include but are not limited to:
  • What are the traps of populism in contemporary theatre?
  • Populist cultural policy in theatre of different countries: Does it exist?
  • Audiences and Populism: Please or provoke the audience?
  • Populism as the tool for attracting the audience
  • Narration in performances – truth or lie?
  • Does populist playwriting or aesthetic aspects and clichés of a populist performance exist?
Participants are asked to forward abstracts (no longer than 200 words) in English to Ms. Lela Ochiauri, organizing committee member, The deadline is August 10, 2017. Invitations will be dispatched before August 20, 2017. A diversity of proposals from around the world are most welcome. Participants will have at their disposal technical equipment and support of Power Point and DVD presentations. Oral presentations should not exceed 15 minutes to allow time for discussion. The working languages of the colloquium are English and Georgian, with simultaneous translation.
Papers will be published in a special issue of Centaur by Tbilisi State University of Theatre and Film. The complete text of papers (up to 4,000 words in English or French) should be submitted for translation in electronic form no later than October 1, 2017.