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CfP: The Blackfriars Conference ‘Performance, Playhouse, Practice, and Play’, 2-5 November 2023

Performance, Playhouse, Practice, and Play

The Blackfriars Conference Returns!


This November, the American Shakespeare Center will welcome conference attendees back to the Blackfriars Playhouse, where we will join together each day of the conference to hear papers, celebrate attending the plays in our season, and enjoy other social events and activities. Additionally, for the first time ever, conference registration and submissions will be open to undergraduate students. Paper presentations and staging sessions will be in-person only, but we are excited to also offer remote participation for some colloquy sessions.

Read below for details about the submission process for this cycle.

Call for Papers

For the 2023 Blackfriars Conference, we are soliciting three different types of submissions:

Plenary papers – Since 2001, we have featured papers that explore the performative conditions of early modern plays, the effect of place on those performances, the practices of the players, and the texts themselves through time. These 10 minute (13 minutes for presenters employing actors to demonstrate a point) plenary presentations take place on the Blackfriars Stage. To present a plenary paper, please submit a 250-300 word abstract outlining your topic.

Colloquy leaders – Since 2009, we have convened conversations amongst interested scholars on a variety of subjects. These 60 minute colloquies are guided by a leader who determines their format and shape. Examples of past presentations include: panels of short papers, seminars in which each participant submits a paper to the group before the conference for discussion at the conference, and round-tables. To lead a colloquy session, please submit a 250-300 word proposal outlining your topic of conversation and proposed format.

Staging sessions – Since 2019, we have invited submissions for early modern, non-Shakespeare plays to include in ASC’s production year. These 20 minute staging sessions are “competitive” opportunities for proposers to make the case for why their play should be performed on the Blackfriars stage at this time (in other words, why this play here and now). Sessions will be adjudicated by ASC artistic staff and the winning submission will secure their title’s inclusion in the artistic season for the following year. To lead a staging session, please submit a 250-300 word proposal that includes the play title and an outline of your argument.

Topics for consideration in any of the above formats might include:
  • Casting practice, rehearsal practice, performance practice
  • Evidence of practice in the extant plays or documents
  • Evidence of education or experience in plays or documents
  • Connections between texts (editorial, allusions, character symmetry, etc)
  • The status of ‘performance’ in early modern culture
  • Audiences and audience response
  • Props and costumes
  • Spaces of performance

Please submit your 250-300 word proposals by May 15, 2023 via the submission link: You may only present once, but may be considered for all three categories by submitting this form multiple times with the appropriate category selected. Proposals will be considered based on their alignment with the conference aims, their originality and scholarly interest, and their potential to contribute to a program representative of the diverse constituencies served by the ASC. Presenters will receive notification by August 1, when registration opens.

Call for Papers – Shakespeare Jahrbuch 160 (2024): ‘Shakespeare’s Libraries’

The 2024 volume of Shakespeare Jahrbuch will be a special issue on Shakespeare’s Libraries’. The editorial board invites contributions on related themes, concepts and debates, from a variety of perspectives, in particular on the material afterlife of Shakespeare’s work in editions, collections and libraries through the ages. Contributions with a contemporary or historical perspective are equally welcome.

Possible topics include:

Shakespeare’s books

  • the role of the First Folio: its history as material artefact and cultural icon
  • book formats: quartos, octavos, folios
  • typography and the material book
  • paratexts in early books publishing Shakespeare’s work

Reading Shakespeare

  • how Shakespeare’s works were read, annotated and extracted by early readers
  • changing practices of reading Shakespeare: communal/private, orality/literacy, amateur/professional reading
  • the materiality of reading Shakespeare: the relationship between book, body (cognition, affect, eye, hand, voice), tools and environments
  • reading Shakespeare in different forms and formats: page/screen, facsimile/modernised, original language/translation, plays/rewritings
  • famous readers of Shakespeare

Editing Shakespeare

  • the emergence of Shakespeare as an author: editing, genre-making, canon-formation
  • early modern syndicates of book-making: printers, publishers, sellers, stationers
  • kinds of editions: single-text, complete works, compilations; facsimile editions; critical editions; digital editions
  • the role of the editor across the centuries
  • editing Shakespeare for the 21st century: new texts, new apparatuses, new readers

Collecting Shakespeare

  • the material culture of collecting in the early modern period and today
  • early collectors of Shakespeare’s works
  • collecting practices: private or public collectors; custom-made collections; material intertextuality; compilations
  • distributed agencies in networks of authors, publishers, stationers and buyers

Shakespeare’s libraries

  • the library as material and conceptual space
  • historical types of libraries: private collections; institutional libraries; circulating and travelling libraries; digital archives
  • lost texts/libraries and the methodological challenges of the archive
  • Shakespeare (in) libraries: cultural, intellectual and societal functions


Please send an electronic version (as a Word/docx-file) of your article to the general editor of Shakespeare Jahrbuch, Prof. Isabel Karremann (karremann[at] The deadline for submissions (in English or German and of not more than 6,000 words) is 30 April 2023. Please observe the style sheet, which can be downloaded from the website of the German Shakespeare Society.

Articles are selected for publication on the basis of a double anonymous peer-review system.

Featured image: Rijksmuseum Object Number RP-P-1893-A-18092.

BSA 2023 Conference

The British Shakespeare Association conference will take place at the University of Liverpool, Tuesday 25th – Friday 28th July 2023, organised by Dr Esme Miskimmin (University of Liverpool), Dr Katie Knowles (University of Liverpool) and Professor Emerita Elspeth Graham (Liverpool John Moores University).

BSA 2023: ‘Re-locating Shakespeare’

In Shakespeare’s lifetime, and in the four hundred years since the relocation of his plays from stage to page in the First Folio, his work has had a sustained and varied life in multiple geographical and theoretical locations through print, performance, research and education. More importantly, perhaps, there has been a concomitant narrative of ‘relocation’ associated with Shakespeare. The physical journeys of his works and their performers, including the visits of Lord Strange’s Men to the Northwest in the late sixteenth-century, performers who used the plays for colonialist and imperialist purposes overseas, or the arrival of Ira Aldridge, the ‘Black Roscius’ at the Liverpool docks in 1824, attest to a constant geographical relocation of Shakespeare and his performers. There have also always been sustained theoretical re-locations of Shakespeare in relation to changing contexts and prevailing critical, socio-historical and theatrical perspectives. Most recently, the opening of the Shakespeare North Playhouse in Knowsley has relocated performances and narratives of Shakespeare in the Northwest of England.

This conference will seek to explore the geographical, temporal and semantic ‘Re-locations’ of Shakespeare, looking again at the place(s) of his works and reassessing them through the wider contexts of performance, print, translation, teaching and research, including (but not limited to):

  • Notions of location, locating and re-locating within Shakespeare, including explorations of travel, exile, pilgrimage and direction.
  • Claiming and ‘owning’ locations, including colonial and postcolonial re/appropriations.
  • The cartographies of Shakespeare – the mapping / remapping, navigation and ‘discovery’ of locations.
  • Re-locating through the imagination and / or the virtual:  the movement from the ‘wooden O’ to the ‘vasty fields of France’ or the virtual Dover cliff; online performances.
  • Re-locating through translation and adaptation, including dramatic, musical, operatic and fictional adaptations.
  • Location / Re-location in the teaching of Shakespeare – where and how pupils and students experience Shakespeare.
  • Voluntary and / or forced relocations – in Shakespeare’s texts, or for pedagogical or political uses.
  • Re-locating perspectives (critical, pedagogical or performative) in relation to cultural and social changes, disability and LGBTQ+
  • Relocating in times of pandemic (from the touring circuit outside of London during the plagues and beyond, to the internet during covid).
  • ‘What do they in the North?’ (RIII 4.4.398): Implications / connotations arising from a specifically ‘northern’ Shakespeare.
  • Re-locating Shakespeare’s work in understandings of literary / theatrical / critical canons, in the light of any of the above (or any other types of ‘re-locations’).

We are delighted to have three plenary lectures by:

Professor Poonam Trivedi (formerly University of Delhi) 
Dr Eleanor Rycroft (University of Bristol) 
Ben Crystal (author, actor, producer) 

and a plenary roundtable led by:

Dr Peter Kirwan (Mary Baldwin University). 

Please visit the BSA 2023 conference page for additional information about provisional registration fees and conference news.

Contact the conference organisers

The conference organisers, Dr Esme Miskimmin, Dr Katie Knowles, and Professor Elspeth Graham, can be contacted via the conference email address:


Follow #BSA2023 on Twitter @BSA_Conference

Call for Papers: A Special Issue of ‘Multicultural Shakespeare’ Journal

The guest editors of the special issue of Multicultural Shakespeare: Translation, Appropriation and Performance (2022), ‘Staging Utopias: Shakespeare in Performance’ invite submissions that consider Shakespeare and utopia in performance.

Abstracts of 300-400 words should be sent to the guest editors of the special issue: Delilah Bermudez Brataas (Norwegian University of Science and Technology), Magdalena Cieślak (University of Lodz) and Anna Kowalcze-Pawlik (University of Lodz).

Deadline for abstracts : April 30, 2022
Deadline for submissions of 6,000-6,500 word articles: June 15, 2022

Further Particulars from the Guest Editors

Jill Dolan writes in Utopia in Performance (2010) that theatre potentially allows for utopian performatives, i.e. those moments in the performance that open up the audience to “a hopeful feeling of what the world might be like if every moment of our lives were as emotionally voluminous, generous, aesthetically striking and intersubjectively tense” (4) and “allow fleeting contact with a utopia not stabilized by its own finished perfection […] but a utopia always in process, always only partially grasped, as it disappears before us around the corners of narrative and social experience”(6). A utopian performative in this context is a moment of empowerment that gestures towards a vision of a better reality and reveals an ethical dimension of the play that has a potential transformative, if not political impact. This volume takes this proposition further, to investigate the presence of the utopian impulse in Shakespeare’s works on stage. Whether that presence emerges as the influence of classical ideal spaces, the bourgeoning potential of the new world as a utopia, or the political ideologies inspired by Thomas More’s Utopia (1516), visions of utopia appear in Shakespeare’s plays, to be further elaborated on, negotiated and modified in performance that can amplify the utopian impulse in its own utopian performative, or, alternatively, engage it in a
dystopian fashion.

We are interested in submissions that:

  • address “utopian performatives” in Shakespeare in performance
  • consider how Shakespeare’s works contributed to the development of utopia as a genre and/or the impact of utopian literature and criticism on Shakespeare in performance
  • analyse the way in which Shakespeare’s idealized presence an international social and cultural icon influence our contemporary understanding of utopian literature
  • examine the ways in which the utopian impulse has been created, staged and/or critically engaged in theatrical productions across the centuries and continents.

By bringing together critical reflection on theatre as a utopian space and the ways in which it is actively used in Shakespeare in performance the volume should chart the territory that, with the notable exception of The Tempest, still remains relatively unexplored.

This information is also available in a PDF poster format.

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