Conveners: Tamara Underiner and Stephani Etheridge Woodson


Most scholarly, artistic and activist practice around performance in the hemisphere takes some notion of change—social, political, artistic—as its prerogative, if not imperative. And yet, unless working specifically within a Boalian framework, the underlying theory of change operative in the work is often not explicit. This working group is designed to bring scholars, artists, and activists together to make manifest the notion of change itself in our respective arenas. Working from case studies contributed by the participants, questions the group will consider include, but are not limited to:

What do we mean when we advocate for theatre and performance, in practice and in study, as an arena for change—who are the agents, what are the structures that enable and constrain them, and what are the mechanisms by which the work can be said to exert its influence?

What methods, models and materials are best suited to theorizing change within theatre and performance studies?

To what extent can we draw on existing theories of change in other fields—from philosophy and history though systems or chaos theory within global ecological perspectives, to name a few—to animate approaches to change within performance art and activism?

What do performance practices—as both mimetic and performative embodiments—offer uniquely to the question of larger change(s)?


We will form three or four smaller groupings based upon thematic, theoretical or methodological interests. Each small group will be invited to do some preparatory work in advance, such as additional readings and online discussions that initiate the conversations prior to the Encuentro. We will begin our session by having those groups meet as breakouts, so that they are continuing in person conversations already begun online. Part two will be about bringing forward some key observations from each breakout to the whole group.


Upload a brief bio and an abstract of no more than 200 words. Upon acceptance, working group participants will be asked to submit 10-12-page case studies by January 15, 2014, for circulation and advance reading. Materials should be uploaded via the online application form before October 9th, 2013.

This working group will be limited to 12-15 participants.

Convener Biographies:

Dr. Stephani Etheridge Woodson is an associate professor in the School of Film, Dance and Theatre at Arizona State University where she directs the Theatre for Youth M.F.A. and Ph.D. Programs. Her research and creative interests focus on the social construction of childhood through performance, representational ethics, children's media environments, and community cultural development. Her text, Community-Based Theatre with Children and Youth is forthcoming from Intellect Press.

Tamara Underiner directs the doctoral program in Theatre and Performance of the Americas at Arizona State University. She is the author of Contemporary Theatre in Mayan Mexico: Death-Defying Acts (University of Texas Press, 2004); her essays have appeared in Theatre Journal, Signs, Baylor Journal of Theatre and Performance, TDR, and critical anthologies from academic presses in the U.S., Mexico, and Canada.

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