Our first international project in collaboration with the University of Malta's Department of Theatre Studies took place in Gozo in mid-September 2015. The three-day conference entitled 'Redefining Theatre Communities. Community Perspectives in Contemporary Theatre-making' introduced and discussed a whole array of perspectives on the changing relationship between contemporary theatre and communities.
Participants from around twenty countries were involved in this event, mapping new approaches and shifts in the theatrical environment on an international level. Aesthetic, social, cultural and political aspects of community-conscious theatre practices were discussed in a variety of formats. Academic papers, practical workshops and practice-led talks were equally present at the conference. The conscious decision to invite scholars and researchers as well as theatre directors, actors, dramaturgs and cultural managers proved to be a constructive one. Participants gained insight on emerging theatrical projects and transnational initiatives with strong social and community engagement, and also had the chance to experience new modes of community building and devising in practice via workshops.
Academic presentations addressed and contextualized topics such as temporary communities, spaces and politics of community engagement, translocal communities in theatre and performance, formation of new theatre communities and new forms of spectatorship. Established and early-career researchers from divers cultural backgrounds shared their current projects and discussed ideas of mutual interest. Lively debates were an important part of the programme and it often continued beyond the formal settings.
For details on the presentations please see our book of abstracts.
One of the main outcomes of this project is the establishment of an international network, bringing together academics and theatre practitioners from around the world expanding our understanding on contemporary theatre making and communities. An edited collection of essays is also planned to be published later.