UK’s biggest theatre conference comes to Essex

  • Date

    Fri 8 Jul 22

View across an audience, sitting in an auditorium as a woman on stage delivers a presentation

Essex’s theatre credentials will be under the spotlight this summer when it hosts the UK’s biggest conference for theatre researchers.

The Theatre and Performance Research Association (TaPRA) conference is coming back with a bang in September after being cancelled in 2020 and held exclusively online in 2021.

For the first time in its history the event, which was first held in 2004, will be hosted in Essex as a hybrid in-person and online event.

Over 300 theatre makers, researchers and students are expected to attend from around the world, with some delegates coming from as far afield as New Zealand and Australia.

The keynote address will be delivered by Sean Metzger from the University of California, Los Angeles, who will attend in person to talk about how the formation of the ‘Chinese Atlantic’ – a term used to describe the influence of Chinese migration on artistic practice - could help shape new directions in theatre and performance studies in the UK.

The event is being organised by Dr Liam Jarvis from the Department of Literature, Film, and Theatre Studies (LiFTS), who was awarded the Most Innovative Teacher prize at the 2021 Times Higher Education Awards, and a panel of staff and research students from LiFTS and East 15 Acting School.

The programme will include a sharing of The Twin at the Lakeside Theatre, a stage adaptation by PhD student Andrew Burton of David Colmer’s English translation of the Dutch play by Gerbrand Bakker.

It will also feature working group sessions on everything from performance and new technologies and theatre history to audience, experience and popular practices, to practice as research.

Dr Jarvis said: “It’s a great privilege to be hosting the TaPRA conference. It will provide a unique forum for our undergraduate students to support the delivery of a major conference and to showcase our research. It’s the first time the conference has taken this kind of blended format, and it's been a great learning journey to incorporate the knowledge we've gained from blended teaching into an international research event.

“It will also provide a much-needed space for theatre and performance researchers to come together and share cutting-edge research at a critical moment for our discipline after an incredibly challenging couple of years for the industry.”

Professor Roberta Mock, Chair of the TaPRA Executive Committee, added: “TaPRA is delighted to be collaborating with colleagues from Essex’s Department of Literature, Film, and Theatre Studies and East 15 Acting School to produce our first ever hybrid annual conference. The facilities and resources on the University’s Colchester Campus – in particular, the Lakeside Theatre creative hub – enable us to create the perfect environment for our community of theatre and performance researchers to attend both in person and remotely.”

The TaPRA conference takes place on 12-14 September at the University’s Colchester Campus. Find out more and register.

Header picture courtesy of TaPRA.