Mapping Labor in Theatre and Performance

April 23, 2020


Theatre and performance constantly negotiate between seen and unseen labor. Certain kinds of labor disappear, both socially and theatrically, while others are put on display. “Net-Works: Mapping Labor in Theatre and Performance” ​is a conference that seeks to uncover the collaborative and solitary labor necessitated by creative and performative spaces, the labor of working in a globally connected world, and the labor of working at the intersections of the material, the human, and the ephemeral. This conference aims to discuss and exchange interrogative approaches to the study of labor along with its visible and invisible networks in theatre and performance.

The keynote speech of the conference was presented by ​Shannon Jackson (​Professor of Rhetoric and Theater, Dance, and Performance Studies at UC Berkeley). Additionally, ​David Savran (Distinguished Professor of Theatre and Performance at The Graduate Center, CUNY) presented an introductory speech tracing labor in theatre and performance​.

​Some of the key questions we seek to explore by means of “Net-Works” include: What are the theoretical and methodological opportunities and challenges posed by interdisciplinary and transdisciplinary research in the fields of labor and the networks of people, places/spaces, objects, environments, and even species that become manifest in theatre and performance? How does the labor of/as performance shape the interrelations among such elements? How does an awareness of such labor shift our understanding of what performance can be and do?

We acknowledge the extreme difficulties our communities are facing at this time and are grateful to host this virtual space. We look forward to sharing thoughts, engaging in conversations and addressing the labor issues that have been heightened by the global pandemic. In light of these challenging times, part of our budget has been redistributed towards donations. If you are able, we encourage you to do the same. Here is a non-exhaustive list of organizations working for people in need and some other resources for artists struggling: ✊🏾 DONATE.

Organized by Taylor Culbert, Ruijiao Dong, Mayurakshi Sen, and Alex Viteri Arturo.
The Doctoral Theatre Students Association (DTSA) Annual Student Conference 2020 WAS produced with generous support from the Cohn Fund, the Roberts Fund, the Lortel Fund, the Executive Officer’s Fund, Martin E. Segal Center, The Doctoral Theatre Students Association, and the Doctoral Students’ Council