Regions, ruins and regeneration focuses on issues of identity, community and place as they relate to theatre and performance. Neil Murray and Graham McLaren, currently joint artistic directors of the Abbey Theatre, noted on their 2015 appointment:
We believe in the concept of a national theatre that reaches all of the country. This applies to touring work, but also addresses the issue of where shows and projects are rooted and made, regardless of geographical remoteness or perceived social barriers
Both directors were instrumental in the development of the National Theatre of Scotland: a ‘theatre without walls,’ committed to sharing the stories of different Scottish communities. In 2016, the NTS converted an old steel warehouse into its headquarters, calling it Rockvilla after the former name of its canal-side location in Glasgow – a district title that faded from maps as the industries that characterised the area gradually disappeared.
Within both contemporary and historical theatre and performance contexts, moves toward cultural regeneration are entangled with a range of geopolitical and socioeconomic factors – most keenly felt in regeneration projects that displace established local communities and customs. In Europe, efforts to redress a metropolitanism that positions capital cities at the pinnacle of national cultural capital coalesced in the latter half of the twentieth century, reinforced by EU cultural policies such as the establishment of the European Capital of Culture in 1985. More recently, the Arts Council of England has sought to redress funding imbalances by boosting its funding for regional practices. With these ideas, and the looming shadow of the United Kingdom's prospective withdrawal from the European Union as a backdrop, this year's conference presents papers that critically encounter: borders and boundaries; boroughs and districts; national and regional identities; migration; urban and rural ruins; gentrification and the neoliberal; arts funding and cultural policy; recession, recovery, environments, ecology and migration.
books we are proud to be launching at istr
Rape on the Contemporary Stage by Lisa Fitzpatrick
Christoph Schlingensief: Staging Chaos, Performing Politics and Theatrical Phantasmagoria by Anna Scheer
Dance Matters in Ireland: Contemporary Performance and Practice edited by Aoife McGrath and Emma Meehan
Performance Ireland: Gender, Sexuality, and the City edited by Shonagh Hill and Cormac O’Brien
Friday 1 June
Mike Pearson, Aberystwyth University
‘“The Country and the City”: performing places'
Saturday 2 June
Charlotte McIvor, NUI Galway
‘Moving from Efficacy towards Effort: Notes on Renovating Performance Theory for This Political Present’
TaPRA Panel: Stages of Inclusion II
Alison Jeffers (University of Manchester), Jane Turner (Manchester Metropolitan University), & Marilena Zaroulia (University of Winchester)