CALL FOR PROPOSALS – Fifty Years Bread and Puppet: A Symposium at Boston College September 14, 2013

For a scholarly symposium celebrating and analyzing the 50th anniversary of Peter Schumann’s Bread and Puppet Theater, sponsored by the Theatre Department of Boston College on September 14, 2013, Boston College is soliciting papers, presentations, addresses, and other works analyzing the work of this influential U.S. theater company, and its relation to developments in theater, performance, politics, ritual, and community culture around the world.

We are interested in including work in the following areas:

– Bread and Puppet and United States political performance from the 60s to the present, from the Living Theater to the Occupy Movement.

– Arts and Activism, especially in the contexts of the following issues: the Vietnam War, the Anti-Nuclear Movement, Central American activism (including conflicts in Nicaragua, El Salvador, and Guatemala).

– Bread and Puppet as devised theater: working dynamics of U.S. theater companies from the 1960s to the 2010s.

– Practice and theory of the avant-garde theater director in late-20th-century U.S. culture.

– Religion and Contemporary Performance, regarding Bread and Puppet’s use of religious rituals, music, stories, contexts, and activism in its work.

– The work of U.S. theater companies abroad including Bread and Puppet’s work and influence in Europe, South and North America, and Asia.

– The development of puppetry as “avant-garde” or “experimental” theater since the 1960s.

– Bread and Puppet and Sixties Theater in New York City, especially in terms of Judson Church, the Happenings movement, and East Village storefront arts culture.

– Peter Schumann as visual artist.

– The functions of text in puppet performance.

– Contemporary performance and community engagement, including Bread and Puppet’s 38 years of making outdoor pageants, parades, and circuses in northern Vermont, and the development of volunteer-performed pageants, circuses, and parades as a new theater strategy and a continuation of the American Pageant Movement.

– Bread and Puppet Theater as dance: choreography with masks and puppets.

– Bread and Puppet Theater and the “New Circus” movement of the late 20th century, from Grand Magic Circus to Cirque du Soleil.

– Performance, bread baking, and rituals of eating.

– “Cheap Art” philosophy and practical logistics in the cultural economy of the United States.

– Bread and Puppet music: junk orchestras, Sacred Harp music, brass bands, cantatas, operas, and “Insurrection Masses”.

– Bread and Puppet scenography: street shows, parades, pageants, indoor spectacles, and the rediscovery of the proscenium arch.

– Bread and Puppet techniques: traditional puppetry and cheap innovations: Kasperl, Punch and Judy, Sicilian marionette theater, giant puppets, cardboard cutouts, shadow theater.

– Bread and Puppet pedagogy: workshops, internships, the survival of the apprentice system, and the articulation of puppet technique.

– Theater archives: what do we do with all this stuff?

The deadline for proposals is June 15; please send to: john.bell.puppeteer@gmail.com.

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