A few thoughts about the TaPRA Conference 2009

The Theatre and Performance Research Association (TaPRA) annual conference was held in the Roland Levinsky Building at the University of Plymouth. The event was a vibrant affair bringing together academics and practitioners from all around the world to celebrate performance and sustain research in all aspects of theatre.

For me an abiding memory that I will take from the event is intimately linked to its location and Plymouth's proximity to the sea (and propensity for bad weather). During much of the conference the city was cloaked in a thick layer of sea mist, which in itself isn’t out of the ordinary but when combined with the presence of troops of thespians and academics 'twalking' around town was conducive to turning the city into a rather surreal Dickensian site-specific performance space. It is fair to say that TaPRA 2009 was more than your average conference.

To find out more about TaPRA please visit:

Download abstracts and conference contributor biographies


Further Reading

TaPRA is a British research association founded in order to foster and sustain research in all theatre, performance and related areas in British and Irish Universities and allied institutions.


This initiative is, in part, a response to the competitive, and divisive, climate that has developed incrementally over the past decade within British theatre research as a result of the RAE and other government policies. So in short, TaPRA’s ethos is in many ways linked to Intellect’s and as such our stand received a lot of attention, in fact people were leafing through our volumes before I had finished unpacking my boxes! 


Most of the delegates were aware of Intellect and were eager to talk and find out more about us, our history and mission. There were a number of academics present with links to Intellect – many of whom I was fortunate enough to meet –these include Paul Allain, Roberta Mock, Phil Smith, Toni Sant, Daniel Meyer-Dinkgrafe, Sozita Goudouna and Jennifer Parker-Starbuck.

Sales were good and interest in our forthcoming publications was high. Walking, Writing and Performing sold well as did Serious Play and there was a lot of interest in Studies in Theatre and Performance as well as Applied Theatre and Directors & Designers. I think this was due to a number of reasons: firstly some of our authors and contributors were doing a sterling job rounding up potential buyers and subscribers and pointing them in the direction of our stand and secondly, on closer inspection of the conference abstracts we are publishing progressive and pertinent titles in the performing arts. For example, there was a lot of currency and interest in applied theatre, site specific performance and scenography, three areas that we are currently publishing books in.


The conference included

- a performance by The FATHoM Project, choreographed by Adam Benjamin

- a conference buffet & cruise on the Tamar River

- a conference reception at Han's Oriental Restaurant

- a film screening of Grotowski's The Constant Prince

- an introduction to the University's Immersive Vision Theatre

- a 'twalk' in Plymouth's historic Royal William Yard by Phil Smith (Wrights & Sites)

- a screening of Complicite's The Street of Crocodiles from the V&A Theatre Archive

and one-to-one performances by Sam Rose.


The TaPRA 2009 Conference Organisers were: 

Roberta Mock, Lee Miller and Victor Ramirez Ladron de Guevara

Posted by James Campbell at 13:42 (0) comments
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