Call for Papers – ATHE 2016 Panel Proposal Performance Under Pressure: Artistic Labor as Obligation

Stefano Boselli's picture
Call for Papers
October 10, 2015
Illinois, United States
Subject Fields: 
Humanities, Theatre & Performance History / Studies

What happens when the strongest motive for artistic production is a pressing obligation instead of aesthetic experimentation? What are the stakes when failing to fulfill one’s artistic duty could bring about a range of disciplinary effects, from social disapproval to a deterioration in one’s economic status or even physical harm? Can the emphasis on labor, in turn, trigger different forms of creativity?


This panel explores examples of performance under pressure by actors, playwrights, directors, or dramaturgs when the labor component weighs heavily on the creative aspect. Topics may range from safer, self-imposed challenges – such as Goldoni’s promise to produce sixteen new comedies in a single season – to performances required for artists to literally stay alive in extreme situations as in Sobol’s Ghetto.


Papers dealing with any historical period or performance tradition are welcome, especially those focusing on the intersections of theatre history with performance and critical theory. Other examples include troupes owned by rich patrons, playwrights or troupes sponsored and controlled by absolutist monarchs, actors who choose commercial gigs in order to honor their family obligations, or reformers forced by the audience to present a traditional repertoire despite their more innovative intentions.


Please submit a 250-300 words abstract, short bio, and a/v needs by October 10, 2015 to Stefano Boselli at

Contact Info: 

Dr. Stefano Boselli

The Graduate Center, City University of New York