An invitation to speculate: Neil Bartlett’s theatre, fiction, performance
We are seeking contributions to an edited volume on the work of writer and theatre artist Neil Bartlett.
As a performer, playwright, director, artistic director, historian, translator and novelist, Neil Bartlett has been a leading figure in LGBT cultural production in the UK for the last four decades. His work captures the sexual desires, memories and nostalgia of queer lives and times, reconstructing the past, while acknowledging its gaps, lacunae, and fragmentation.
His rich and diverse career ranges from early work with theatre collectives GLORIA and Complicite, to eleven years as Artistic Director at the Lyric Theatre Hammersmith, while writing a series of compelling, stylistically distinctive novels, adaptations and a ground-breaking account of queer lives and/in literature across the centuries.
2021/2 have seen the publication of his fifth novel, Address Book, a reimagining of Shakespeare’s Antony and Cleopatra for BBC Radio 3 (Make Death Love Me), and new stage adaptations of Woolf’s Orlando and Stevenson’s Jekyll & Hyde.
By articulating the connections and dissonances between Bartlett’s diverse artistic projects, this collection seeks to bring together scholars, practitioners and other respondents to his work to investigate how it crosses generic boundaries as part of a political queer aesthetics and genealogy. It will explore how Bartlett tackles the historical erasure of queer stories from the archives and reconceptualises both contemporary identity practices and the links between literature, theatre, site and space.
We invite contributions about any aspect of Bartlett’s career and work, and welcome proposals in a wide range of forms - from traditional academic chapters, to personal essays and provocations, as well as poetic and visual responses, including multimodal texts.
Possible topics may include but are not limited to:
- Fictional theatre; theatrical fiction
- Historical fiction; performing the past
- Gay communities, imaginaries, and erotics
- The sexual body; the sensual
- LGBT lives and life writing
- Bartlett and Wilde
- Queer artefacts and archives
- Writing and/as resistance
- The public and private; the closet; coming out
- Documentation; recording
- Memory; loss; grief; nostalgia
- Haunting and spectrality
- LGBT equality; the law; queering institutions
- Site, space and location; site-specific performance
- Translation; adaptation; crossing between languages
Please send a short abstract (150 words) and a brief biographical note to Dr William McEvoy (University of Sussex, UK: firstname.lastname@example.org) and Dr Joseph Ronan (University of Brighton, UK: email@example.com) by Friday 20 January 2023.
The organisers are also planning an interdisciplinary event on Bartlett’s work to be held in Brighton during 2023-24 at which book contributors will be invited to present their work-in-progress.