[UPDATE] Chicago--Theatre Capital of America. Past. Present. Future

full name / name of organization: 
Columbia College Chicago

The organizing committee is proud to announce that the symposium will feature three internationally recognized speakers - Michael Billington, Martha Lavey, and Todd London.

Chicago now supports more than 150 professional theater companies. The symposium focuses on their work but we send our invitation to scholars anywhere who are interested in the evolution of dynamic, innovative theater. Please send your proposals. Come to Chicago May 18-22, 2011 for four days of lively discussion and theatre-going.


Chicago - - Theatre Capital of America:

Past. Present. Future.

An international scholarly symposium and theatrical celebration presented by the Theatre Department of Columbia College Chicago – the largest and most diverse private arts and media college in the nation with more than 120 academic programs and more than 12,000 students.

Dates: May 18-22, 2011

Place: Columbia College, Chicago, IL

"For the poet Carl Sandburg it was the 'City of the Big Shoulders.' Architect Daniel Burnham called it 'the Paris of the Prairies.' That mix of raw energy and refined aestheticism makes Chicago one of the world's great cities—and the current theatre capital of America."

Michael Billington, The Guardian, 2004


By creating the first international forum for scholars from Chicago and the Midwest, around the U.S., and overseas to consider the topics listed below, Columbia College Chicago's 2011 symposium on Chicago theatre can significantly influence scholarship about--and the future of--the performing arts on local, national and global scales.


Michael Billington

theatre critic for Britain's Guardian newspaper

Martha Lavey

artistic director of Steppenwolf Theatre

and board president of the Theatre Communications Group

Todd London

co-author of Outrageous Fortune: The Life and Tmes of the New American Play (Theatre Development Fund, 2010) and editor of An Ideal Theatre (Theatre Communications Group, 2011), a documentary anthology of essays, letters, and memoirs, the founding visions for American theatres in the words of the pioneers who built them

Call for Papers

Deadline for submissions: September 1, 2010

E-mail proposals to: chitheatresymposium@colum.edu

The organizing committee invites 300-word abstracts (including up to 10 low res images or up to 2 minutes video where relevant) addressing the past, present, and/or future of professional theatre in Chicago in relation, but not limited, to the following topics (other side):

1. Theory and Praxis; Workshops; Master Classes (acting, auditioning, casting, directing, design, dramaturgy, ensemble, improvisation, narrative, writing, criticism);

2. Education, Training, and Access (schools, colleges, programs, teachers, economic strata, social circles, professional networks);

3. Classical and Contemporary (Shakespeare, Loop, off-Loop, fringe, mainstream, musicals, genders, sexualities, ethnicities, abilities, presence/absence of international influences);

4. Management and Development (funding, patronage, boards of directors, unions, producing, marketing, sales, social media, audience development, government relations, public policy).

Proposals from emerging scholars and artists and attendance by graduate students are particularly encouraged.

Proposals should include the following items:

1. Your name, title, status (e.g., artist, faculty, independent scholar, management, student) and academic and/or professional affiliation (if applicable).

2. Your contact information (particularly e-mail).

3. The title and abstract for your paper, panel, workshop, master class. Please limit abstracts to 300 words. Proposals for panels of two or more scholars and for workshops and master classes with multiple leaders are welcome. Please include the above information for each participant.

4. The technical requirements of your presentation.

In your e-mail, please write "Chicago Theatre Symposium" in the subject heading and in the body of the message include the title of the proposal, your name, address, telephone, email address and affiliation (if applicable).

Receipt of your submission will be confirmed via email and you will be informed of the committee's decisions by November 15, 2010.

For information on the conference see http://www.colum.edu/TheatreSymposium. You may also contact Albert Williams, Senior Lecturer, Columbia College Theatre Department, at 312-369-6141, awilliams@colum.edu, or Dr. John Green, chair of the Columbia College Theatre Department, at 312-369-6160, jgreen@colum.edu.