CFP: Thornton Wilder Society

The Thornton Wilder Society calls for papers for a proposed panel at the ATHE (Association for Theatre in Higher Education) conference: “Performance as/is Civic Engagement: Advocate, Collaborate, Educate.”

The conference focus is: “How is theatre a mode of advocacy for the arts in general and for higher education more specifically? How can we use performance to help our students and audiences find their voices as local, national and global advocates? In what ways is every theatrical event a mode of civic engagement?”Papers may address any aspect of Wilder’s dramatic works as they have been or could be used as modes of social advocacy and/or civic engagement.

Deadline for proposals: October 29.

Please send proposals (approximately 500 words and a title, with name, title, and institutional affiliation, if applicable) to Dr. Park Bucker, University of South Carolina Sumter (email:

Possible topics include: Performance studies (including high schools) on how any of Wilder’s plays have been used as forms of civic engagement. Analysis of the documentary O.T. Our Town (2002) or other significant high school productions of the play. The Skin of Our Teeth or other plays as political theatre or agitprop. Production histories of The Skin of Our Teeth as presented to wartime or similarly traumatized audiences. George Antrobus, Dolly Levi (The Matchmaker/Hello, Dolly!), or other Wilder characters as models for social advocacy. Wilder’s stagecraft as a form of civic engagement, particularly in Our Town.


About Sarah Bay-Cheng

Professor of Theater at Bowdoin College. Co-host for the On TAP (Theatre and Performance Studies) podcast at Editor for the book series Avant-Gardes in Performance (Palgrave). Sporadically blogging about theatre, performance, and digital culture. twitter: @performaddict
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