MATC Practice/Production Symposium—Call for Papers, Workshops & Performances

deadline for submissions: 
October 15, 2019
full name / name of organization: 
41st Annual Mid-America Theatre Conference (MATC)

The 41st Annual Mid-America Theatre Conference

Embassy Suites Downtown Magnificent Mile, Chicago, IL

March 5 – 8, 2020

The Practice/Production Symposium of the Mid-America Theatre Conference (MATC) is seeking proposals for paper and co-paper presentations, round-table discussions, organized panels, workshops, performances, and hybrid presentations that can be linked to the theme “CHARACTER” broadly construed, from the perspective of directors, actors, choreographers, technicians, designers, playwrights, dramaturgs, stage managers, and spectators. As co-chairs we seek to examine current and emerging challenges/opportunities/successes and failures across production disciplines. Papers and presentations may be critical analysis or evaluative responses or theoretical explorations of a specific theatrical event(s), the work of significant practitioner(s) or company. We especially encourage non-traditional formats that include active involvement of both presenters and auditors.

Possible investigations of “CHARACTER” might include:

  • Invention/creation of character: How is character created? What ways/methods/strategies exist to create character? How has character been created across geography/time? How does creating a new character differ from re-creating an established one? How do you chart a radical new take on a beloved character?
  • Identity and character: How does character interact with our “real” identities as theatre-makers? What are successful strategies for “letting go” of a character? As various forms of theatre blur and blend the lines between character and actor what are the risks and the rewards? What about the Actor’s Paradox?
  • Character and design: How are characters designed? What processes do designers use to create (or support) character? How do designers/theatre technicians (and others) help to inform character?
  • Iconic characters: Who are the defining “characters” (real or fictional) of theatre? What production(s) have given us memorable characters? What makes an iconic character iconic?
  • Breaking character: What are the limits of character? What is “out of character”? When is character used as an excuse for behavior? Are there times when it is necessary to “break” character?
  • How is character created/curated when it intersects with technology/online performance? What about experiences creating characters for non-theatrical elements (cartoons, puppetry, online gaming, etc.)?
  • How does character interact with the moral and ethical aspects of creating theatre? What does it mean to “have character” in the theatre? Have recent social movements—like #metoo or Chicago’s own #notinourhouse—affected notions or understandings of character (real or fictional)?
  • How do theatre companies use character to interact with audiences?

All presenters will have the opportunity to submit their work to Theatre/Practice, a peer-reviewed, open-access online journal created to encourage, recognize, and disseminate rigorous and high-quality scholarship on the practice and theory of theatrical production and reception. Submissions to Theatre/Practice are limited to work presented as part of the conference’s Practice/Production, Pedagogy, and Playwriting Symposia.

Please submit proposals via the online form available at and the MATC website

150-200 word abstract that include the applicant’s name, rank, academic affiliation, address, telephone, email, presentation format (single paper or co-paper presentation, panel presentation, roundtable discussion, workshop, or performance), title of presentation, and a 2-3 paragraph description of the presentation. Please include any audio/visual or other technology needs in your abstract—A/V services are limited. Paper presentations will be limited to a 15-minute maximum. Other formats will be limited to a 20-25 minute presentation period followed by a 10-15 minute audience discussion and question period.

No individual may submit to more than two symposia. This limit is put in place to avoid scheduling conflicts and to provide more individuals the opportunity to present.

Deadline for submissions: October 15, 2019

Questions can be directed to Practice/Production Co-Chairs Wes Pearce (University of Regina) and Cason Murphy (Iowa State University) at