Theatre about Science: where is it going?

Although we can trace science in theatre at least to the beginnings of modern science itself, the scholarship on this intersection started essentially in this century. It is an academic subject with, roughly, two decades. In a set of two special volumes published in the Interdisciplinary Science Reviews entitled New Directions in Theatre and Science (2013, 2014), Kirsten Shepherd-Barr and Carina Bartleet, the guest editors, gathered a collection of articles which reflected the liveliness and diversity of this area (essentially in the anglophone world) and pointed out some future trends for science-related performance. These volumes, along with several meetings on the subject, such as the “Communicating Science to the Public through the Performing Arts” conference (New York / USA, 2010) and the “Performing Science: Dialogues Across Cultures” conference (Lincoln / UK, 2014) stand as recent landmarks in the study and reflection upon the field. 

This conference intends to continue the path of mapping and reflecting upon theatre and science intersections, promoting exchange and enlarging the knowledge on the field, tracing the evolution of previous trends and identifying new types of intersections, and expanding the knowledge integrating non-anglophone initiatives. 

One additional perspective guiding this conference will be the promotion of an extended intersection between theatre and science, joining participants both from the artistic and the science communication worlds. The connections between the two fields have been developing from both sides, the artistic and the scientific. Science communication is becoming more and more essential in academic and research environments and theatre has been one of the languages used in this endeavour.

The conference will instigate and welcome contributions on theatre about science regarding both sides of this equation, artistic practice and science communication, intending to explore the places where they meet (and where they don’t), eventually enlightening both common and diverse motivations and perspectives, and provoking fruitful discussions.

WHERE, WHEN, HOW, WHY… do theatre and science meet?

The conference might explore subjects such as:

  • Scientific subjects and concepts
  • Theatrical subgenres and forms
  • Contemporary practice in theatre about science
  • Future trends in theatre about science
  • Theatrical research processes vs scientific research processes
  • Theatre in the training of scientific researchers 
  • Funding in the arts and in science

And pose questions such as:

  • Can theatre help solve scientific problems?
  • Does scientific knowledge transform theatre?
  • What kinds of audiences for science in performance?
  • Does theatre make sense in science communication?
  • What kind of knowledge can theatre add about science?
  • Can theatre transform the ways scientists perform their research?
  • How does theatre engage with public debates about science and scientific developments?
  • Can theatre inspire new scientific research?

A selection of papers written in English will be anonymously peer reviewed and published in a thematic volume.

Theatre about Science