CFP: Performing the Archive

“Performing the Archive” Conference, National University of Ireland, Galway
22–24 July 2015



“Performing the Archive” will gather together scholars, artists and archivists to confront exciting developments in archival research in the field of theatre and performance studies. With the advancement of digitisation technologies and the continuing expansion of innovative methodological and theoretical approaches, “Performing the Archive” tests the idea that the archive today “performs” differently.

Hosted by NUI Galway, home to the archives of Druid Theatre, Thomas Kilroy and the Abbey Theatre Digital Archive, the largest theatre archive digitization project ever attempted.

We will debate:

  • What is the status of archival research methodologies in published research and graduate training today?
  • What are the possibilities of collaboration between researchers and practitioners working together to remount work based on the archives or research on new material? What working models exist and what have yet to be imagined?
  • How has the digital humanities begun to reshape the possibilities of archival engagement?
  • How can we support the labour of not only archival research methodologies but the maintenance of the archives themselves? How does the holding location of archives (university vs. community archive) affect the circulation of these resources?  How can partnerships be expanded or reimagined?
  • How has the cataloguing of new/recent archives contributed to new learning and change?
  • Connection of archives, theatre and society: Documentary theatre and socially responsive theatre
  • Theatre, Peace and Conflict – How memory of theatre and conflict, especially that of Northern Ireland, is newly understood and experienced through the archives and contributing to resolution and reconciliation
  • The craft of the playwright: Drafting, editing and writing for stage or radio


This conference capitalizes on NUI Galway’s unparalleled strength in Irish theatre and literary archives, taking advantage of holdings including the Abbey Theatre, the Druid Theatre, Lyric Theatre Belfast, Taibhdhearc na Gaillimhe, Thomas Kilroy, Siobhan McKenna and the Galway Arts Festival, among others, to facilitate a national and international conversation about the place of archives in not only theatre and performance research and teaching, but arts practice and perception of theatre history more broadly.

Individual papers or panels of three speakers can be offered.  Abstracts for individuals for individual papers should be no more than 350 words in length and panels should submit their panel title and grouped abstracts to be considered.  Proposed papers can address practical projects in the area of digitization, curation, or archives administration as well as presenting creative, scholarly or theoretical case studies.

You can apply to the following strands:

  • Archival Materials In/As Performance
  • Digitization: Methodology and Ethics
  • Early-Mid-Twentieth Century Irish Theatre
  • Irish Theatre After Beckett
  • Conflict, Memory and Trauma
  • Scenography and Theatre Technologies

For paper or panel proposals, please submit a 350-word abstract for your proposed paper and brief bio by 30 March 2015 to

Full details: