IFTR 2020, Galway, Ireland

13th July – 17th July 2020



Theatre Ecologies: Environments, Sustainability, and Politics

Deadline for proposals: 31 January 2020


The constantly shifting eco-system that constitutes theatre is the central theme of IFTR 2020 as we come together to consider ecologies of theatre and performance globally, and to ask how we, as an interdependent network of scholars and artists, can reflect and respond to our interconnections with the environment and with each other through performative and critical interventions.


Ecology is the study of the relationship between living organisms and their environments (whether cultural, political, social or biological). Naming theatre’s aesthetic and working practices as ecologies permits scholars to locate theatrical performances within not only social, political and cultural networks, but also interrelated biological systems. Inherently political, embodied and performative, theatre ecologies are constructed by – and responsive to – wider social, political, cultural, and physical environments.


We welcome proposals that interpret terms such as “environment” and “ecology” in metaphorical as well as literal contexts. How might our use of environmental and eco-critical terms and paradigms allow us to understand scenography more fully and deeply?


The Scenography Working Group (SWG) of the International Federation for Theatre Research (IFTR) invites paper proposals for our forthcoming meeting at the IFTR annual conference in Galway in July 2020. The aim of the Working Group is to address design for performance in all of its theatrical forms (design of space/set, costume, sound, light, projections/multimedia, objects, masks and makeup, etc.) and including events that may be staged well beyond conventional theatre buildings.




For our meeting in Galway we will be adopting and adapting the main theme of the IFTR conference (see above, andhttps://www.iftr.org/conference) which offers the opportunity to explore the discipline of scenography in relation to ecologies.

We would like to approach the topic of Theatre Ecologies from several broad angles, asking: how can the notions of ecology and scenography be brought together to grapple with issues of the environment and sustainability, of changing social relationships and ways of living, and evolving performance practices?


Contributions may address, but are not restricted to:


  • Eco-scenography
  • Waste and scenography
  • Performance and landscape
  • Environments of the theatrical event
  • Environmental scenography
  • Site-specific/site-responsive, immersive and environmentally responsive theatres
  • Scenography and materiality
  • Ecologies of practice: processes and relationships
  • Performance materials and sustainability: costume/scenery/props/lighting/sound
  • Acoustic ecologies
  • Ecologies of the body
  • Animals and the posthuman in performance design
  • Sustaining and evolving traditional practices
  • Theatre architecture as environment
  • Scenography and environmental change: practical and theoretical considerations


The working group welcomes diverse responses to the above theme and proposals from researchers from diverse disciplinary backgrounds as well as scenography specialists from all fields of performance design. The working group invites presentations in different forms (see below).


About the IFTR Scenography Working Group

This Working Group’s research focuses upon the history, theory, aesthetics and practice of scenography through a specific program of meetings, presentations and publications. The group also aims to nurture and develop new contributions to practice-led research by providing opportunities for scenographers/performance designers to discuss their work and exchange ideas in an international academic forum. Our research investigates scenographic elements, (including: costume, setting, make-up, sound design, lighting design, projection/multimedia design, masks, puppets and objects) and considers their proxemic relationship to performers and audiences in traditional and non-traditional spaces. Such research considers both contemporary practice and the influences of scenography on theatrical form as well as the audience experience of performance. By offering opportunities to share and discuss members’ research in a variety of formats, we aim to promote aesthetic, theoretical and philosophical investigations that are both distinct from and inclusive of technological developments for performance.


The Scenography Working Group welcomes early career researchers and postgraduate scholars (either as presenters or observer/participants) although they may also wish to contribute to the IFTR New Scholars programme, which may be more appropriate. IFTR rules prevent individuals from presenting more than one paper during the conference.


Working Group Co-convenors

Nick Hunt, nick.hunt@bruford.ac.uk

Sofia Pantouvaki, sofsceno@gmail.com


Format of Presentation

The Scenography Working Group invite proposals for the Galway meeting in EITHER of these formats:


  1. Academic paper presentation (20 minute maximum) followed by questions

Abstracts will be double blind peer reviewed before acceptance. Papers (usually around 3,500 words) will be made available to participants two weeks before the conference. Presenters are encouraged not to read papers in full, but to guide the audience through the main arguments and ideas. The formal presentation will be followed by a question and answer session to promote in-depth discussion and constructive debate within a supportive environment. This format is ideal for those looking for feedback prior to a future submission for publication.


  1. Seminar Proposal / Provocation for focused group discussion (15 minute maximum)

Presentation will be followed by small group discussions responding to the themes of the provocation. Abstracts will be double blind peer reviewed before acceptance. An outline of the proposal/paper will be made available to participants two weeks before the conference. This format is useful in developing ideas, connections and gaining further theoretical insights as part of the process of research within a supportive environment.


Submission Procedures

Submission must be done through the IFTR registration process (see links below). After you submit your abstract through IFTR, pleasealso email a copy to the co-convenors. Please ensure you make it clear if your proposal is for an academic paper or a seminar/provocation.


The deadline for submission of abstracts is 31 January 2020.


Please note that to submit an abstract for consideration you must be a member of IFTR. To present at the World Congress each member will need to buy membership of IFTR and in Spring 2020 register and pay for the conference (IFTR operate a banding system and a number of concessions are available).

Additional information such as the form the proposed submission will take and any information about restrictions to your availability over the course of the IFTR World Congress should be included on the online form under ‘equipment required’ and MUST be discussed (via email) with the Working Group co-convenors.

We anticipate that the process of peer review and presentation as part of the working group’s proceedings will be beneficial to the process of publication in a range of peer-reviewed published volumes in the field.


Please note: IFTR rules prevent individuals from presenting more than one paper during the conference.




Working Group Co-convenors

Nick Hunt nick.hunt@bruford.ac.uk

Sofia Pantouvaki sofsceno@gmail.com


IFTR website


IFTR bursary information


IFTR membership and registration at Cambridge Journals Online


IFTR abstract submission at Cambridge Journals Online




IFTR supports researchers suffering financial hardship by providing a limited number of bursaries each year. These bursaries are awarded on the basis of merit, relevance to the conference or Working Group theme, and financial need. Please visit www.iftr.org for information and instructions about bursaries, and to download the application form.


The IFTR Bursaries Round for attending the Galway 2020 annual conference is now open. The deadline for completed applications is 15 December 2019.