Call for papers, the Swedish Biennial of Performing Arts 2013


Thanks to Margareta Sörenson, vice-president of the IATC, a conference will take place on May 23rd in the afternoon, from 3-5 PM (or 5:30 for a discussion) in Jönköping, Sweden, in the framework of the Swedish Biennial of Performing Arts (21-26 May, 2013). The conference will be in English; if someone would like to present a paper in French we will translate and read it, but for discussions and questions it would be English.

Anyone interested to participate should write to Ann Mari Engel, Secretary General of Teaterunionen: < annmari @ >.

For more information about the Biennial, please follow this link:


THE PERFORMING ARTS: the concepts, the practices, the critics

After twenty years, the Swedish Theatre Biennial has changed its name to the Swedish Biennial of Performing Arts. Festivals around the world have made this same change over the last one or two decades.

In the whole sweep of the theatre’s history, the spoken word has been at the fore for only a brief, even parenthetical period. It is only since the 1870s that the Western stage has been dominated by “language plays”—first in the works of Ibsen and Strindberg, for example, and later in O’Neill and Pinter, then in Jon Fosse and Lars Norén. In contrast, the classical theatre was always a mix of music, dance and drama, from Shakespeare and Molière in the West to the great works of Asia. Today, we can trace the impulse to combine the performing arts—the impulse towards “total theatre”—through the gesamtkunstwerk and the modernist movement to Mnouchkine’s theatrical creations of the 1980s, which left “talking theatre” far behind.

Why has the Biennial changed its name? What does the change reflect? A fundamental change in the arts? Renewed approaches to working with the stage in different spaces? What does it mean for the theatre in general? To what extent is this change global, and is it a challenge to the critics, so often language-centered?

The International Association of Theatre Critics (IATC) brings together thousands of critics worldwide. During the upcoming Biennial, meetings will be held by both the Executive Committee of the organisation and the Editorial Board of Critical Stages, WebJournal of IATC. Members of both bodies will participate in the conference on the performing arts. We also invite anyone else interested in participating to propose a paper, sending us your title and a short synopsis before March 31st.

The conference is organized by the International Association of Theatre Critics in collaboration with the Swedish Association of Theatre Critics.

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