2016 Symposium: Innovation in Performance History and Practice

Third Annual Symposium:

Innovation in Performance History and Practice

Wednesday 6th July, 10.00am-6.00pm, University of Bristol

 Read the abstracts here: Third Annual Symposium – Collated Abstracts.

The STR New Researchers’ Network (NRN) is pleased to announce their third annual symposium, which will centre on the theme of Innovation in Performance History and Practice. The symposium will also feature a keynote address from Catherine Hindson (University of Bristol).

Innovation is what drives our work as researchers in the academy, and generating original contributions to knowledge is at the core of our development as scholars. As practitioners and performers, too, our work depends upon creativity and originality. For this reason the NRN symposium 2016 is devoted to ‘innovation’ and what it means to the field of performance. Now that the symposium is in its third year – and in the midst of the Decade of Centenaries as well as the marking of Shakespeare 400 – it is more important than ever to reflect on what innovation and change means in relation to theatrical and cultural institutions, or outside of them.


10:00-10:15 Registration


10:15-10:30 Welcome  T2 (Theatre)


10:30-11:30 Keynote Address—Catherine Hindson (Bristol) (Hi)Stories from the Archives: Applying Historiographical Practice Through Practice

T2 (Theatre)


11:30-11:45 Break—tea and coffee


11:45-12:45 Parallel sessions:
Panel 1—Politics and History  T2 (Theatre)

▪     Louise Wingrove (Bristol), “Vehement vixens” and “sassing back”: how can practical research help to recapture the appeal of the music-hall serio-comedienne?

▪     Maria Barrett (Warwick), Class, aesthetics and repertoire: the case of the Royal Court Theatre, Liverpool

▪     Rebecca Benzie Fraser (Exeter), Innovative historiography from the playwright and scholar in the shadow of the World War One Centenary


Panel 2—Audiences  Lecture Room

▪     Rebecca Fredrickson (Shakespeare Institute), “If sight and shape be true”: The camera as surrogate eye in NTLive’s As You Like It

▪     Mark Smith (York), Performing digital community around Forced Entertainment’s live streams


12:45-13:30 Lunch



Parallel sessions:

Panel 3—Training and Pedagogy  Lecture Room

▪     Kelli Zezulka (Leeds), “To look forward, you must first look back”: innovation in lighting control and the development of the lighting programmer

▪     Ella Hawkins (Shakespeare Institute), William Poel and the beginnings of the “original practices” movement: innovation or evolution?


Workshop/Discussion 1—Livestreaming – Rachael Nicholas (Roehampton) T2 (Theatre)


14:30-14:40 Break/passing time


14:40-15:40 Parallel sessions:
Panel 4—Methodology  Lecture Room

▪     Ysabel Clare (Goldsmith’s, University of London), Innovation, innovation, innovation: a how-to guide to a self-perpetuating process

▪     Catherine Love (RHUL), Aesthetic or economic? Shifting definitions of artistic innovation


Workshop/Discussion 2— “After” – Postdocs, First Jobs, and Employability

             Kate Newey (Exeter) T2 (Theatre)


15:40-15:55 Break—tea and coffee


15:55-16:45 Parallel sessions:
Panel 5—Practice as Research  T2 (Theatre)

▪         Jay Paul Skelton (Kingston University), “Everything old is new again”: Performing classical text using Stanislavsky and Viewpoints

▪         Bogdan Florea (Bristol), Egg-Hamlet: can you really innovate Shakespeare?


Panel 6—Documenting Performance  Lecture Room

▪         Acatia Finbow (University of Exeter/Tate), The innovative document: negotiating the unknown future value of documentation in the museum

▪         Kirsty Sedgman (Independent), Experiencing innovation: capturing audience response


17:00-17:45 Structured Discussion

Please note that this symposium will be free for all STR members (you can receive the special discounted membership rate of £10 by attending the Symposium). There will be up to 5 bursaries available for University of Bristol students who volunteer as conference assistants (available on a first come, first serve basis). Email us on nrn@str.org.uk for more details.

This symposium is part of a series of events devoted to innovation run by the New Researchers’ Network this academic year. These include the Teaching Practice event, which encouraged innovation in performance pedagogy, and the V&A Study Day, where Senior Curator Simon Sladen explored how archives might respond to change.