We are overjoyed to announce the inaugural play/PLAY: Participatory Performance Summit! Taking place from 7-9 April 2022, this summit is an invited gathering of artist-creators and scholar-researchers of participatory performance in Canada. As the first “event” imagined by the team behind play/PLAY, the summit will be hosted by Jenn Stephenson and Mariah Horner with support from production manager Dylan Chenier and stage manager Christina Naumovski. Our goal is to offer summit participants a space to meet and talk with other artists and researchers, present work, and participate in engaging debates on participatory performance. The intention of the summit is to bring together a select group of artists and scholars who share an interest in participatory theatre events in an interactive gathering.
By participating in the virtual summit over Discord, participants will have the opportunity to:
Why are we doing this? First, we’re eager to get the artists from our gallery and the writers from our reading lists in conversation with each other. Over the last four years, while we were collecting and analyzing over 70 participatory shows in Canada in an online gallery, we were simultaneously researching and writing a scholarly book on participatory dramaturgies. As we continue to populate our gallery, we realize we’re watching a community of real experts in the field creating and thinking in real time. We know you, you know each other. Plus, everyone has been so open with us! Strangers are answering our cold calls, artists are sharing archivals, and scholars are sharing nascent ideas in interviews. We have felt a great sense of camaraderie and generosity from the artists and scholars in this cohort and it’s time to bring everyone that we have learned from and with together. As we continue the project of writing this book on participatory dramaturgies, we are excited to put our own principles into practice and participate in conversation on these topics together.
Besides the fact that we believe this group simply needs to connect with each other, we are eager to experiment with conference structures during the summit. During a conference panel about participation and immersion in 2020, artist and friend of the Summit Alex McLean wished that all panel talks started after the introductions and biographies. He put his finger on a desire of both artists and scholars to spend more time looking deeply at our participation practices together, moving beyond surface descriptions of our own work, and instead getting into connections and extensions. We are eager to open a space for these artists and scholars to grapple with shared issues and interests. After two years of the COVID-19 pandemic and resultant social isolation, we have felt a real need to play and disrupt in a collective. Because we both work at the intersection between artist and scholar, we know about the value that comes from deep analysis and a dynamic creative commons.
At this time, participation in the Summit is fully subscribed, but if you would like to learn more, please email us at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Check out some of our confirmed participants here and read more about the summit here.