Rebels and Revels: An Exhibit and Symposium on the Theatre of the Middle East

deadline for submissions: 
March 3, 2020
full name / name of organization: 
University of Maryland, College Park

Call for Papers:

Rebels and Revels: An Exhibit and Symposium on the Theatre of the Middle East


A one-day Symposium:

Sponsored by The International Program for Creative Collaboration and Research of the School of Theatre, Dance, and Performance Studies at the University of Maryland

In collaboration with the Centre for Drama, Theatre and Performance Studies at the University of Toronto


Friday, April 3, 2020

University of Maryland, College Park

The Clarice Smith Performing Arts Center

Cafritz Theatre


Deadline for submission of 350 word abstracts and proposals March 3, 2020

Rebels and Revels: An Exhibit and Symposium on the Theatre of the Middle East aims to foster a dialogue about Middle Eastern theatre in North America. Due to the dominant political narratives of the region and assumptions about representational art in Islam, Middle Eastern theatre has been negated all together from discussions in US academia. Rebels and Revels: An Exhibit and Symposium on the Theatre of the Middle East will facilitate a dialogue to reengage those neglected topics by pioneering a conversation on the presence of Middle Eastern theatre in the diaspora. Consequently, the symposium will address questions such as: Is there a collective Middle Eastern Diaspora? How is it aesthetically realized? How are Middle Eastern American artists addressing and approaching their history?

A keynote speech will be given by Dr. Edward Zitar, Professor of Theatre at New York University. Dr. Zitar is a theatre historian with particular interest in the intersections between European and Arab performance traditions. His most recent book, Political Performance in Syria: From the Six-Day War to the Syrian Uprising (2014), was co-winner of the Joe A. Calloway Prize for the Best Book on Drama or Theater. His current research focuses on nationalist performance during the Arab Renaissance (the late nineteenth to early twentieth centuries), focusing on Arabizations of Romantic dramas and Shakespeare.

The symposium is accompanied by a photo exhibition curated by Dr. Marjan Moosavi of the University of Toronto that focuses on the history of Middle Eastern traditional performance, adaptations, and original work between 1950-1970. Together, both events audiences to the here and now, thinking through the ways in which theatre in the Middle Eastern diaspora in North America has been shaped, and how the artists navigate Middle Eastern theatre history and the theatrical creative process. The symposium will end with a short performance.

The symposium is convened by Q-Mars Haeri and Kelley Holley, PhD candidates at the University of Maryland, College Park.


We are seeking proposals of 350 max that examine a variety of topics including:


  1. What are the challenges of gathering and representing a diverse region?

  2. What is the relationship between historical aesthetics and contemporary practice?

  3. How does Middle Eastern theatre relate to other forms of performance in the diaspora?

  4. How can the scholarship of Middle Eastern theatre continue or challenge traditions within the Western academy?

Please submit proposals (350 words max) and a short bio (150 words max) via our web portal: If you are interested in the possibility of presenting remotely via WebEx, please include this in your submission.

For any specific questions, please contact Q-mars Haeri ( or Kelley Holley (