Posted on 06/07/2017
The research of departmental staff in contemporary British theatre was well-represented at a recent international conference on Nation, Nationhood and Theatre organised by the German Society for Contemporary Drama and Theatre in English (CDE), held at the University of Reading (29 June-2 July).
This major annual conference opened an opportunity for scholars around the world to reflect on theatre’s role in shaping, contesting and exploring national identity and to consider, inevitably, the implications of Brexit for theatre practitioners, scholars and audiences. Dan Rebellato gave a keynote lecture on Brexit and the evocative sense of ‘placelessness’ that’s a feature of many recent plays. Lynette Goddard and Sophie Nield shared a panel on theatrical representations of race, riots and political speech. Chris Megson conducted a platform interview with the renowned verbatim theatre director, writer and performer Alecky Blythe focusing on her (and Adam Cork’s) acclaimed verbatim musical London Road; his paper to the conference explored England, austerity and ‘radical optimism’ in the theatre of Anders Lustgarten.
The visibility of Royal Holloway academics at this international gathering reflects the vitality of departmental teaching and research supervision in contemporary British theatre. The launch of the new Centre for Contemporary British Theatre in November 2017 will give added impetus to our work in this dynamic field.