CFP for edited collection: Theatre and the Macabre

deadline for submissions: 
June 1, 2019
full name / name of organization: 
Meredith Conti
contact email: 

Proposed Volume: Theatre and the Macabre

Kevin J. Wetmore, Jr.                                     Meredith Conti
Professor and Chair of Theatre Arts                 Assistant Professor of Theatre
Loyola Marymount University                          University at Buffalo, SUNY


Submissions Timeline and Contact Information:
Please send abstracts of 300-500 words and a 100-word bio to and by June 1, 2019. Accepted contributors will submit their chapter drafts to the editors by May 1, 2020. 

Project Description:

Theatre and the Macabre will be the first edited collection to consider the diverse ways that the macabre operates within live performance. We move from an understanding of macabre theatre as one that disturbs, horrifies, or provokes because of its involvement with or depiction of death and injury, the gruesome and the grotesque, the dark and the fearful. The macabre in performance is evocative, adaptable, and at times elusive; this volume seeks to elucidate how texts, bodies, atmospheres, choreographies, sounds, and stage effects work (independently or collaboratively) to convey the macabre to audiences.

Because the macabre is neither time-bound nor limited to a specific culture or cultures, we hope that the collection’s chapters will range across periods, geographic boundaries, and sites of entertainment in deliberate and productive ways. We are particularly intent on securing contributions from scholars of color and those working in disability studies; horror (as a genre that often employs the macabre) has problematic and fascinating relationships with race, ethnicity, gender, sexuality, and disability, and we are interested in interrogating these relationships within Theatre and the Macabre. Similarly, because macabre theatre also exists outside of playhouses and concert halls, contributors are encouraged to apply expansive notions of theatre and performance in crafting their abstracts.

Theatre and the Macabre is currently being considered for a contract with an academic press.

Possible topics for chapters include but are not limited to:

  • Theatre’s performative/narrative hauntings and ghostings
  • The supernatural and spiritualism onstage
  • Figures of the macabre (murderers, ghosts, monsters, spirits, mad doctors, victims and innocents, etc.)
  • Notions of identity and the macabre (gender, race, class, nationality, ability, religion, sexuality, etc.)
  • Monstrosity, freakery, and the “horrification” of difference
  • The intersection of theatrical spectatorship and theories of fear, horror, terror, trauma, and disgust
  • Representations of dying and death in performance (secular or religious)
  • Choreographies of horror/the macabre in movement
  • Horror theatre (Le Grand Guignol, gothic dramas, McDonagh's The Pillowman, National Theatre of Scotland's Let the Right One In, Frances Ya-Chu Cowhig's The Snow in Midsummer, etc.)
  • Theatrical adaptations of literary and filmic horror and how it emphasizes the macabre (Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde, Sweeney Todd, Carrie, etc.)
  • Global styles and genres of horror (symbolism, surrealism, naturalism, medieval theatre, gothicism, Roman tragedies, German sturm-und-drang, British In-Yer-Face theatre, Iranian ta’ziyeh, Japanese kaidan, etc.)
  • Medical theatre and medicalized bodies
  • Dark designs and technologies (mise en scenes, soundscapes and smellscapes, extreme stage effects, and theatrical makeup)
  • Immersive spectacles (hell houses, Halloween attractions, ghost tours, haunted tourism)
  • Staging the unthinkable (graphic simulations of violence, horror, and torture onstage)

Please contact the editors at and with any questions. We look forward to receiving your submissions!