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Playwriting Without Borders

  • Wolfson College University of Oxford Oxford United Kingdom (map)

Wolfson College, University of Oxford, 6-7 April 2017  

A two-day conference on 21st-century Russian-language playwriting in  Russia, Ukraine and Belarus

One striking feature of the way Russian-language theatre has developed during the last fifteen or so years has been the extent of the collaborations between Russian, Ukrainian and Belarusian playwrights and practitioners, through events such as playwriting competitions, festivals and workshops. As political tensions have increased, some of these collaborations have continued, while a number of playwrights still address themes pertinent to contemporary realities in all three nations.

We propose a conference in which this transnational dimension of Russian-language drama in the 21st century will be explored. We invite proposals for papers on topics which might be relevant to (but may not necessarily be confined to) the following questions:

  • contemporary playwriting as a sphere for political debate
  • contemporary playwriting across national borders
  •  the international landscape of contemporary playwriting after the closure of the Novaya Drama Festival
  • the role of specific festivals and competitions in the development of Russian-language playwriting
  • the language(s) of contemporary playwriting
  • developments in theatrical form and the use of technology
  • the role of documentary and verbatim theatre
  • the role of cultural policy in shaping contemporary playwriting
  • censorship and self-censorship in contemporary playwriting

Proposals for 20-minute papers should be submitted not later than 14 January 2017 to Julie Curtis ( They should include details of your name and professional affiliation, together with a paper title and abstract (max. 250 words). You will be notified shortly afterwards whether your proposal has been accepted. 

Funding will be available to cover some travel, accommodation and subsistence costs for conference participants whose proposals have been accepted.

The funding for this conference has been provided primarily by the AHRC through its Open World Research Initiative (OWRI) grant awarded to the University of Manchester for its project ‘Cross-Language Dynamics: Reshaping Communities’. We are also grateful to Wolfson College and to the University of Oxford for their support of the event.

Publication: it is intended that a volume of essays based on the conference proceedings should be published as an outcome of this and subsequent events.

Conference languages: English and Russian


Julie Curtis, Professor of Russian Literature and Fellow of Wolfson College, University of Oxford; satellite partner on the University of Manchester’s OWRI project.

Noah Birksted-Breen, Artistic Director of Sputnik Theatre Company (London), and research assistant on the Russian Theatre strand of Manchester’s OWRI project.

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