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IATC International Conference – Newness and Global Theatre: Between Commodification and Artistic Necessity – Belgrade, 27th & 28th September 2016

Newness is generally defined as the condition of being new, novel, cutting-edge. As the opposite of oldness, it implies recentness, freshness, inovativeness, present-dayness. There is no end to the words that could be used to indicate originality, novelty, unfamiliarity. Some are antagonistic, others tendentious, combative or even compromising. What they all share, however, is elusiveness, a trait associated with the history and ontology of theatre itself.

As an art form, theatre has always been a battlefield of newness. Some scholars regard theatrical modernity as the age of newness. And rightly so. The changes that took place in the wake of European industrialization favored an analogous reshuffling of the world of theatre and performance. Especially the first quarter of the twentieth century was a period of extraordinary artistic innovation, which came to an end in the late 1920s, with the economic crash and the change of the sociopolitical climate generated by the rise of fascism and the catastrophes of WWII, only to be revitalized later on in the 1960s and 1970s. The emergence of the post-industrial information society has caused fundamental transformations, as we see, with consequences as far (if not further) reaching as those of the Industrial Revolution.

Organized by BITEF Festival (Belgrade) in collaboration with the International Association of Theatre Critics (IATC) and its e-journal Critical Stages, the conference Newness and Global Theatre: Between Commodity and Cultural Necessity will include papers that reflect on the problematics and (im)possibilities of “newness” in contemporary theatre/performance theory and practice. Has newness reached a cul-de-sac? Has its rebellious nature turned into a blueprinted course of conduct, its critique into empty rhetorics and its transgression into a ceremony of commodified repetition? In a globalized and commercialized art culture in which power structures and domination strategies set the rules of the game, this conference will address the dichotomy between innovative art and plain commercialism.

Organizing committee:

Savas Patsalidis (Chairman)
Editor-in-Chief – Critical Stages (IATC)

Margareta Sörenson
President of IATC

Octavian Saiu
Adjunct Secretary General of IATC