13-15 October 2016 Paris-Sorbonne, British Theatre in the 21st Century : New texts, New stages, New identities, New worlds

British Theatre in the 21st Century : New texts, New stages, New identities, New worlds (Paris-Sorbonne, 13-15 october 2016)

Britain in the twenty-first century has seen repeated terrorist attacks, a massive financial collapse, involvement in two controversial wars, the phone-hacking scandal, horrific revelations of systematic child sexual abuse, and continued uncertainty about its relationship to Europe and to the world. On the other hand, this has been the century of gay marriage, Harry Potter, and the London Olympics, all signs of continuing, even growing cultural confidence and social ease.

In the theatre, this has not been an era dominated by a single new movement; instead the last sixteen years have seen a proliferation of theatre forms, from immersive and site-specific theatre to verbatim and documentary drama, from one-to-one performances to a new interest in what, in the UK, are perceived to be European directing and design practices. New work has dominated the repertoire to a level unknown since the nineteenth century. Meanwhile, the National Theatre has radically changed its policy, in part responding to the founding of the National Theatres of Scotland and Wales while numerous theatres compete to discover and develop new and innovative plays and playwrights, companies and directors.

In all these forms and forums, the theatre has reflected – and reflected on – the complicated cultural faultlines that mark Britain in the 21st century, restlessly seeking to find new theatrical and dramaturgical shapes and experiences in which to capture and interrogate our world.

This conference aims to map out the diversity of British theatre in the new century, offering new interpretations of its key writers, directors, companies and productions, with a particular emphasis on the continual evolution of the new play and its relationship to its audiences.


Issues to be discussed will include :

Innovations in dramaturgical form and language

  •        New engagements with the canon
  •        Playwriting and devising
  •        Challenges to the new play in theatrical production
  •        British identity/identities
  •        Attitudes to Europe
  •        Britain and globalization
  •        The influence of European theatres


Papers on other topics welcome.


Conference organised by Paris-Sorbonne (VALE EA 4085), Sorbonne-Nouvelle (Prismes EA 4398), Royal Holloway (University of London).


Please send abstract and short bio by May 20th to:

Elisabeth Angel-Perez, eangelperez@wanadoo.fr

Liliane Campos, lilianecampos1@gmail.com

Dan Rebellato, D.Rebellato@rhul.ac.uk

Aloysia Rousseau, aloysia.rousseau@orange.fr





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