Theatre, Dance and Performance After COVID-19: At a Crossroads Between Current Damnation and Opportunities for the Future

International Symposium by the Association of Theatre Critics and Researchers of Slovenia


22.06.2021, Tuesday / 08:00 / Vetrinjski dvor /
22.06.2021, Tuesday / 13:30 / Vetrinjski dvor /
Theatre, Dance and Performance After COVID-19: At a Crossroads Between Current Damnation and Opportunities for the Future

Running time 8 hours. One intermission. 

Organisation: Tomaž Krpič and Alja Lobnik

Theatre, dance and performance are unique artistic forms distinct in one particular performing element: physical proximity of human bodies, both on the stage and in the auditorium. This characteristic was not pushed aside or eradicated even with the introduction of modern technology in the late 19th and during the 20th century. On the contrary, for only on the background of new media, one can now fully appreciate a close relationship of theatre and its audience. However, the inevitability of synchronic presence of the actors, dancers, performers and spectators in time and space, dependent on the corruptive human body, unveil sensitiveness and brittleness of theatre art during the out brake of the latest epidemic. Being recognized as a potential carrier of COVID-19, the performing body was temporarily suspended, this time not only locally, but ubiquity. The theatrical world was thus literarily arrested.

It is not the first time theatre is (was) closed due to the pandemic outbreak. This relationship goes way back in human history. From William Shakespeare to Antonin Artaud, countless theatre scholars, critics and practitioners produced plays, visions, concepts and theories addressing the issue of contagiousness in and of theatre, yet each time not given us the final answer. The symposium thus brings together researchers and theatre critics from around the theatrical world to elucidate new ways of understanding the numerous consequences of the COVID-19 on theatre, dance and performance. Due to the new health regime, which fundamentally restricts the theatre production, artists are now forced to painstakingly invent new ways of aesthetic practices to regain recently lost performing strength and stamina of theatre. Many of them also face brutal social insecurity because of lack of professional engagement. Whether the influence of society and above all (cultural) politics on this vital process for theatre will be appreciative or, unfortunately, negligent is unclear and still have to be put on trial. Yet, as Bertolt Brecht once said new times evoke new theatre forms, so we should enthusiastically count on that, adding that this also demands new concepts, theories and new cultural politics about theatre as well.

Participants: James Rowson and Holly Maples (UK), Una Bauer (Croatia), Ophelia Jiadai Huang (China), Laura Gemini (Italy), Giovanni Boccia Artieri (Italy), Stefano Brilli (Italy), Francesca Giuliana (Italy), Ivan Medenica (Serbia), Renida Baltrusaitytë (Lithuania), Pia Brezavšček (Slovenia), Rok Vevar (Slovenia), Jasmina Založnik (Slovenia), Jure Novak (Slovenia) and Tomaž Krpič (Slovenia).