Siblings on Stage and Screen

deadline for submissions: 
June 8, 2018
full name / name of organization: 
Dr Katie Barnett, Dr Sharon Young / University of Worcester

University of Worcester (UK), September 5th 2018


This one day symposium aims to explore the relatively under-developed study of siblings in visual culture and performance.


In drama, family relationships are both ubiquitous and complex and whether a Renaissance revenge tragedy or a play by Harold Pinter, the plot often pivots on the loyalty or jealousy between siblings, confusion caused by twins or conflict prompted by illegitimacy. Whilst there have been many explorations of the role of siblings in Shakespeare, the examination of sibling relationships in its many forms, remains a fruitful area of discussion for plays from the sixteenth to twenty-first century.


On screen, sibling relationships are frequently depicted and yet rarely interrogated.Whether as a stabilising force, a source of antagonism, a parental substitute, or an unsettling doubled presence, images of brothers and sisters in film and television provide a counterpoint to the oft-investigated familial relationships between parents and children. Siblings filmmakers and actors, meanwhile, have been a constant force in cinema.


We invite papers of 20 minutes from the fields of theatre and performance studies, film and TV studies, English literature, media and cultural studies, and related disciplines.  We also welcome proposals for complete panels of 3/4 papers.


Papers may explore the representation of siblings across a range of media and genres. Topics may include, but are not restricted to, the following:

  • Family relationships and dynamics; birth order
  • Sisterhood/brotherhood; twins or multiple births; doubling or Doppelgänger
  • Missing parents; orphans; siblings in adulthood or old age
  • Incest; illegitimacy; inheritance
  • Ambition and revenge; family feuds; loyalty
  • Gender roles and performance
  • Siblings as directors or performers


If you would like any further information please contact the organisers, Dr Katie Barnett and Dr Sharon Young, at     

Please send proposals of 250-300 words, along with a short author bio, to the organisers by 27 April 2018.