IX ANNUAL INTERNATIONAL CONFERENCE OF INDIAN SOCIETY FOR THEATRE RESEARCH [ISTR] (In association with International Federation for Theatre Research)

Hosted by Budge Budge Institute of Technology (BBIT), Kolkata

Theatre Festivals of India: Local v/s Global Scenario

2-4 March 2013

Call for the Papers

We live in a world that is changing rapidly. How can we make the tensions, conflicts and differences that are part of these rapid changes comprehensible, and learn to understand them? Theatre can play a big role here. This is a well known historical reality, particularly in Indian context that the festivals connect the unknown with the known. They provide keys to unknown languages and create new possibilities for communication. Festivals are special and complex cultural performances: The individual art projects do not take place isolated from one another, but rather they comment on each other, question one another and refer to one another through the design of the festival programs. The audience can perceive this performance process: it starts with the first performance and continues on until the last event. The audience can view the festival as a whole and place the different events in relationship to one another.

From a perspective that also includes the artists, one can also talk about festivals as centers of cultural transfers, interaction and crossovers. They bring foreign opinions, aesthetics and artistic potential at one place. They offer local artists the opportunity to perform in a national and international context, and thus the festivals can serve as a stepping stone for the artists’ further development. The festivals transfer artists and art works of different genres into a new context. They network artistic experiences from a wide variety of sources by means of co-operations and co- productions, through competitions, workshops and discussions. And last but not least: They interlink the cultural potential of a particular place (co-organizers, partners, different performance venues, etc.) and provide the audience with new perspectives on their city through artistic events at unfamiliar venues.

Festivals and cultural institutions (such as local theatres) are often seen as being competitors. In fact, they compliment one another, whereby in a constantly changing art world theatre festivals have more the function as a lighthouse in opposite to the local theatre venues with their mandate to provide basic cultural supplies. In their search for new content and forms, festivals can and must take risks. Over time, festivals create their own cultural landscape and an environment that is open to art. They function as short-term experimentation zones for new artistic approaches, and they test these approaches in the social environment of the festival audience. Often these approaches, having been successfully tested out by the Festivals, are then adopted by the artistic institutions in and outside the place of the festival.

On the other hand, it is also a deep-rooted mis/conception that festivals are fireworks, astounding and amazing audiences with sensations but mend to immediately disappear, which are generally seen only on the level of a presentation, often unaware that beneath the tip of this iceberg there is a broad palette of activities taking place, activities directed towards future artistic investment and in accordance with the Festival’s strategies, aimed at long-term and far-reaching cultural and cultural-political results.

The conference will be addressing the diverse and multiple layers of theatre festivals taking place in India and ‘India Festivals’ abroad. Broadly the following sub-themes, but not necessary to be limited, will be the constituents of the conference under the wide spectrum of its theme- Theatre Festivals of India: Local and Global Scenario:

Theatre Festivals: Strategy v/s showoffs Theatre Festivals v/s Theatre for Festivals The cultural functions of Theatre festivals The program policies of the Theatre Festivals Theatre Festivals and artists

Theatre festivals’ strategies of cooperation Theatre Festivals and private businesses Theatre Festivals and cultural politics Theatre Festivals in India and the World The Politics of Awards and Juries

We welcome proposals for general conference and for the Research Scholars’ Forum dealing with the subject. Papers must be no longer than twenty (20) minutes. Research Scholars may also submit short proposals for 10-minute papers on their research for presentation in specially organized sessions. All proposals should contain: author; title; 200-250 word abstract; intended audience [i.e., General Conference, or Research Scholars Forum]; indication of technical facilities; brief biographical note on the author; full postal address; fax number and e-mail-address. The format for proposals should be sent by electronic mail at [email protected] .

Conference Venue: The conference will take place at the sprawling campus of Budge Budge Institute of Technology (BBIT), Kolkata.


Last Date of submission of abstracts: January 15, 2013

Acceptance of abstracts: January 30, 2013 Last date of online registration: February 15, 2013