Call for Abstracts: ADS Focus Issue: Theatre in Regional Australasia

Type of post: Association news item
Status: Current
Date Posted: Wed, 9 Oct 2019
A Focus Issue of Australasian Drama Studies for October 2020.
Edited by Jen Beckett, Rachel Fensham and Paul Rae (University of Melbourne), in collaboration with Regional Arts Victoria.

What forms of theatre are being presented in regional Australasia today? How are theatre-makers responding with innovation to regional issues or locations? Where do these developments come from – and who is watching?

Cultural life in regional Australasia is dynamic and fast-changing. The Australia Council reports that “residents of regional Australia are as likely to creatively participate in the arts as residents of metropolitan Australia” (2017), and it is clear that regional, rural and remote cultural activity punches above its weight in finding new modes of expression, fostering community, and contributing to the local economy. Meanwhile, significant policy and funding commitments have been made by the Australian government at all levels to enhance regional arts infrastructure and develop cultural capacity.

Challenges nevertheless remain, including the lure of the city for ambitious young artists, the practical challenges of distance and relative remoteness, and funding models that continue to skew metropolitan.

This focus issue of ADS will examine how theatre and its creative artists reflect these conditions in their work, and what these productions mean both for local audiences, as well as for the nations as a whole. ‘Regional Australasia’ is of course vast and diverse in itself, and this should be reflected in the contributions to the issue, both in terms of geographical and cultural coverage, as well as in the kinds of practices analysed.

As such, contributions to the issue may cover the following topics:

• Histories of regional theatre practices and venues in Australasia
• The role of indigenous practices in regional conceptions of theatre and performance
• Performance practices that relate in distinctive ways to regional locations and/or ways of life
• Representations of regional Australian life in theatre
• Critical assessments of regional artistic figures, organisations and performance genres
• Theatre as a vehicle for community formation and as a means of addressing social challenges
• The place of theatre in regional cultural ecologies
• The relationship between funding, local economies, and artistic creation
• The use of new technologies to address the conditions of regional life, including the challenges of distance
• The role, function and design of regional performance venues
• Regional networks and touring circuits
• Theatre’s contribution, historically and today, in shaping and interpreting the discursive formation of the regional, along with related terms, such as rural, remote, country, bush, outback and, conversely, city, metropolis and suburb.

Reference
Australia Council (2017) ‘The Arts in Regional Australia: A Research Summary,’ 29 November. Available at https://australiacouncil.gov.au/research/regional-arts-summary/

How to Submit
Essay abstracts should be no more than 400 words and clearly state the title, author/s and give a clear sense of what the argument or investigation will be. Essay length is a maximum of 6,000 words including bibliography. The deadline for essay abstracts is 20th January, 2020, and should be submitted to Dr Lynne Kent at creative-convergence@unimelb.edu.au . Contributors will receive notification about acceptance by the end of March. The deadline for final essays is 30 May 2020 and the journal will be published in October 2020.

For enquiries, please contact Paul Rae on prae@unimelb.edu.au
This focus issue of ADS has been developed in association with the ARC Linkage Project Creative Convergence: Enhancing Impact in Regional Theatre for Young People (LP160100047).