Submission Deadlines: October 15th (individual papers only; send to Jim Cherry at; November 1st (complete panels; go to ATHE at

ATHE 2013: “P[L]AY: Performance, Pleasure, and Pedagogy”

Play; playhouse; playful; played out; playmate; playing mouse, (paying the Mouse?)
playing house, morality play; power play; paying to play; playing to pay…Now Playing!

Join us in 2013 as ATHE travels to sunny Orlando, Florida, home of magic kingdoms,
future worlds and fantastic adventures. We invite you to be playful, to examine the role of
play in our teaching, research, and creations of theatre and performance. We encourage
you to help us create a space within our annual conference for productive playfulness.

For our 2013 conference, we encourage you to ask a variety of questions in relation to
theatre and higher education: When do strategies of play become vital to ourselves, our
students, our universities, or our local communities? When does play become work, or
work become play? What is the cost of play? When must we play mouse, and when must
we pay the Mouse?

Some participants might consider questions more specifically related to our conference
site: How does performance operate in the immersive, simulated landscapes of
constructed tourist locations? How might we frame our practices and pedagogies in
relation to the challenges of privilege, access, economy, and commercialism within such
contested spaces? What challenges might we offer to spectacles of consumer excess? With
alternative politics of play, how might we activate play as a poetics for social change?
How are concepts of childhood, family, individuality, and community structured within
our playgrounds? What are the benefits and limitations of the utopian promise of a “small world” within a local, national, and global context?

The American Theatre and Drama Society (ATDS) invites papers, panels, roundtables,
and poster sessions that explore concepts of play in American theatre and performance,
past and present. Possible questions of investigation include:

  • How does the complex relationship of spectatorial pleasure and capital “play out” in the history of American drama and theatre?
  • What are the ways in which definitions of “America” are determined/subverted by ideas of theatrical playfulness?
  • How have the performative geographies of “immersive, simulated landscapes” shaped the American theatre?
  • How do we, as educators, negotiate the linkages and spaces between performance, pleasure, and pedagogy in our classrooms?
  • What does the pervasive “Disneyfication” of American theatre mean for the American theatre?

While the American Theatre and Drama Society encourages the submission of papers
and panels addressing these issues, colleagues are welcome to submit proposals that deal
with other engaging topics in American theatre and drama (preference will be given to
proposals that explore the ATHE 2013 themes). In addition to the traditional format
of panels and papers, ATDS also welcomes more “playful” proposals in the form of
roundtables, talkbacks, staged readings, virtual events, etc.

Preference will be given to ATDS members. If you are interested in enjoying all of
the membership benefits of ATDS – including your own subscription to the Journal
of American Drama and Theatre – please visit the website ( for an
application or contact ATDS Membership Secretary Stuart Hecht (

About The American Theatre and Drama Society: The American Theatre and Drama
Society (ATDS) is an incorporated organization dedicated to the study of United States
theatre and drama, its varied histories, traditions, literatures, and performances within its cultural contexts. ATDS also encourages the evolving debate exploring national identities and experiences through research, pedagogy, and practice. ATDS recognizes that notions of America and the US encompass migrations of peoples and cultures that overlap and influence one another. To this end, ATDS welcomes scholars, teachers, and practitioners world-wide.


1. Completed proposals (with all panel members assembled) may be submitted
directly to ATHE at by November 1, 2012. Please forward a copy
of your completed proposal to Jim Cherry ( Please note that
all technology requests, conference grant requests and guest pass requests must
be included in your completed proposal. ATHE cannot accommodate AV needs
submitted after November 1 without substantial cost to the individual presenter.

2. While complete sessions are strongly encouraged, individual paper proposals
may be submitted to ATDS Conference Planner, Prof. Jim Cherry, at He will attempt to group submissions into cohesive panels, but
cannot guarantee inclusion.  In order to be considered, individual proposals
must be submitted to Jim Cherry by OCTOBER 15, 2012. Abstracts (250
words) must include paper title and contact information, and must specify any AV
needs. ATHE does not accept individual paper submissions—DO NOT submit your
individual proposal on the ATHE website. Individuals wishing to identify colleagues
to create panels prior to the November 1st deadline may use the ATDS listserv:
ATDS@LISTSERV.COFC.EDU to circulate questions or possible panel topics.  If
you’re not an ATDS member, you may send your email to Jim Cherry, and he will post it to the listserv for you.

3. Multidisciplinary submissions must be sponsored by a combination of 2 Focus Groups
and 1 Committee or 2 Committees and 1 Focus Group, or 3 Focus Groups.  It is
your responsibility to contact each Focus Group Conference Planner or
Committee Chair to be sure that the Focus Groups and/or Committees
are willing to be included.
 MD panels that do not complete this step are
likely to be rejected. The goal of these panels is to encourage more varied
multidisciplinary exchanges (as opposed to familiar or recurrent collaborations)
in both content and session format.  Creative approaches include presenting
collaborative papers, situating the panel in a site-specific venue to which
participants are asked to respond, or developing a more interactive session
model.  For detailed instructions on multidisciplinary panels, see the ATHE
conference site.

4. ATHE will provide one piece of AV equipment as indicated on the Session Proposal
Form. Session Participants must pre-pay for the following equipment by May
1, 2013:

-2nd piece of AV: CD player ($50), Flip chart ($50)

-LCD Package ($300); DVD/VCR Player/Monitor ($150); Audio for LCD

After May 1, 2013, add $50 per piece of equipment. No AV will be
added after June 1, 2013.

Session Participants may apply for a Conference Grant (see Conference
Grant Requests) to pay for audiovisual equipment. However, it is the Session
Participant’s responsibility to confirm the receipt of the grant prior to the
conference. Grants will be announced no later than March 1, 2013 to
the FG Conference Planners and Committee Chairs.

5. Presenters proposing programs outside of the traditional panel format are asked to be
specific in their proposals concerning the structure and number of participants so that
ATHE can be notified about space/time needs.

6. ATHE will notify ATDS concerning accepted or rejected panels by late February.
Panelists should expect to hear from the Conference Planner or their Panel Chair by
early March.


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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