Themed issue of RiDE: The Journal of Applied Theatre and Performance
Performing in Digital
Dr. Barry Houlihan and Dr. Catherine Morris, NUI Galway
The global virus pandemic transformed lives tragically and accelerated the world into a digital co-existence at multiple heightened levels of interdependencies. In this new context that took Higher Education, Arts Institutions, educationalists, artists and cultural workers by surprise almost over-night, performing in digital became a new way of life. The boundaries of private spaces became blurred with public spaces of cultural production. Home spaces became points of public broadcast that were often at once live in the immediately intimacy of the local community while simultaneously being received globally. From March 2020, epic scenes of emotional turmoil were matched with instances of opera sung from balconies in Italy. Filmmakers, photographers, documentary makers and writers began communicating a collective art of living in lockdown. The inequalities of access to digital and indeed to home space and income became very apparent across the global spectrum. The concerns of the artist and teacher in the socially distant but technologically present era raises concerns for the meaning, production and distribution of culture within performance and education settings.
From performing in digital to existing in digital, current practice in theatre-making and education is increasingly presented and mediated through digital means. Documentation as the process of archiving now records an archive of society and theatre and performance practice in action. This is a multifaceted performance archive often born digital or re-animated through the digital. This in turn has reconfigured the learning process and engagement with the archive of performance in education and practice. The tensions between ‘live’ and ‘liveness’,
‘presence’ and ‘absence’ become porous within the digital archive and within this new dynamic learning and performance space. This Themed Issue will address the tensions produced within a theatre education context in which potential digital barriers and borders emerge in terms of access, curation, ownership, copyright and use in teaching.
We invite contributions that will respond to or question how digital theatre archives are utilized within a theatre education context and within applied theatre development. Recent scholarship addressing the uses of digital performance, the ethics of theatre historiography, as well as new media in/as dramaturgy provide a foundation in which to situate this themed issue.1 The digital archive, while redefining the documentation of work and labour of current practitioners, repositions the training and educational possibilities of future theatre makers. We welcome contributions on any of the following topics from academics, theatre-makers, policy makers, curators, artists, cultural workers, archivists, specialist librarians and others who engage with archives of performance in education settings.
Sample topics and questions to address include:
- Kinetic Archives – Teaching past performance through sound, vision, and embodied archival performance
- Ownership, copyright and performance as art-work and education
- Devising and the Archive: Ensemble collaboration in digital learning
- Archives and the Curriculum – questioning the canon on issues of sexuality, exclusion, race, gender and minorities
- Digital Performance and Digital Pedagogy: New learning interfaces
- Capturing virtual & augmented reality and virtual classrooms within applied theatre learning spaces
- How have digitized performance archives directly generated new forms of teaching and learning practice?
- What are the challenges for digital archive partnerships between universities and theatres?
We gladly invite the following forms of submissions:
- Research articles of between 6,000-8,000
- ‘Document Essays’ of between 3,000 and 5,000 words with curated photo-based material.
- Recorded-media-based responses/provocations
- Interviews with practitioners/artists/researchers also welcome
Potential contributors are required to submit an abstract of 500-700 words, along with a biography of maximum 250 words.
Deadline for submissions of abstracts: 21 August 2020 Contributors will be notified by: 18 September 2020 Full papers will be required by: 26 January 2021
1 Such publications include: Rob Roznowski, Transforming Actor Education in the Digital Age, Theatre Topics, 25.3 (2015); Sarah Bay-Cheng, Pixelated Memories: Performance, Media, and Digital Technology, Contemporary Theatre Review 27.3 (2017); Sarah Bay-Cheng, Digital Historiography and Performance, Theatre Journal 68.4 (2016); Claire Cochrane and Jo Robinson, eds., Theatre History and Historiography: Ethics, Evidence and Truth (2016); Peter Eckersall, Helena Grehan and Edward Scheer, New Media Dramaturgy: Performance, Media and New-Materialism (2017); D. Dean, Y. Meerzon, and K. Prince, eds., History, Memory, Performance (2015); and Toni Sant, ed., Documenting Performance: The Context and Processes of Digital Curation and Archiving (2017).