Call for contributions, ideas, proposals and dialogue with the editors
Jonathan Pitches ([email protected])
Libby Worth ([email protected])
Training Grounds Editor: Maria Kapsali [email protected]
Green Trainings (Issue 15.3)
If not now, when?
We are living in a time of an unprecedented global environmental crisis. Scientists have developed a sophisticated understanding of the Earth’s climate system and we know with high confidence that climate change is happening today as a result of greenhouse gas emissions caused by human activity. Negative impacts from climate change, including extreme weather events, the acidification of the oceans, declining glaciers and sea ice, and rising sea temperatures are already being felt and will continue to increase into the future. Radical action to limit future global greenhouse gas emissions is essential if we are to restrict future changes in the climate system. A key target emerging from COP27 (November 2022) is the pressing need to effect the shift from pledging to implementation. In this time of climate emergency we must collectively accelerate, scale up, replicate success stories and bring about transformative action. Conscious of the ubiquitous, and iniquitous acts of greenwashing and virtue signaling, this call for transformative activism must at the same time be expressed honestly with open acknowledgment of the barriers to change, the impediments, and potential failures and the need for persistence – to try and then to try again.
In the last 20 years, there has been an increase in arts-based training for environmental awareness, and a rich history of practitioners working outside, drawing for instance from paratheatre, somatics and bodyweather. There has been a concomitant process in Fine Art – Suzi Gablik’s The Re-enchantment of Art (1991) is a key frame of reference and Natalie Loveless’s How to make Art at the End of the World (2019), has also been very influential more recently. Their focus on pedagogy, responsibility and ethics is instructive for thinking across disciplines. In parallel with this movement there has been a too-late acknowledgement of indigenous/first peoples’ training methods, and the capacity they have to spark new thinking about old training methods, and thus to decolonise the training studio – Te Rākau’s Theatre Marae for instance in Aotearoa/NewZealand (Pearse-Otene, TDPT 12.1) or Cricri Bellerose’s ecosomatic attentiveness through which she becomes an ‘apprentice to the land’ (TDPT 13.2).
In the UK and the US, there have been logistical and industrial responses to the crisis, with a focus on finding ways of operating more sustainably and with less waste. The emergence of the Theatre Green Book, now complete at 3 Volumes, provides free guidance for theatre-makers on what everyone can and should be doing to change their practice, and is evidence of the UK theatre sector’s commitment to creating a common standard for sustainable theatre. Similarly, in the US, the Broadway Green Alliance has paved the way for an initiative dedicated to educating and inspiring producing theatres to implement environmentally friendlier practices, with their Green Captain programme providing advocacy and support for professional theatres and college theatre departments. In the UK, some institutions have adopted Green Captains, highlighting their commitment to future sustainable practices. These programmes are, however, almost exclusively focused on theatre production, buildings and operations. If we look to the training methods of performers employed in these contexts, there is scant (published) evidence of sustainable, or ‘green training’ practices.
Cognisant of the urgent need to address the often problematic issues around responsibility for engagement and action, our discipline is provoking ways to respond. For example, the 9th edition of the International Platform for Performer Training (Chiusi, Italy, January 2023), where this Call for Papers was first developed, included New Creative Ecologies: Non-anthropocentric Spaces, Geopoetics and Climate Change in Performer Training as one of its four key themes for exploration, while RiDE’s forthcoming Special Issue, Confronting the Global Climate Crisis: Responsibility, Agency, and Action, seeks to ‘confront the climate crisis with a revived interest in the diverse pedagogical, ethical, aesthetic, and sensory qualities’ of applied theatre research and practice.
In this Special Issue of TDPT we seek to discover green trainings’ roots, to document forms of green training which already exist, and to debate what new forms might emerge. As such, our questions for this special issue may be conceived in three interrelated parts – sources, contemporary practices and imagined futures:
- How have training regimes and their articulation contributed to the discourse of eco criticism?
- What historic practices of performance training can we draw on as inspiration for green training today?
- How have historical training approaches differed in their approach to green training, cross culturally?
- Which trainers, institutions, networks, models should we be looking to for help in shaping green trainings?
- What is the relationship between indigenous and first peoples’ practices and environmentally aware training practice in other cultural contexts today?
- How have recent statements on the climate crisis (IPCC, COP 26/7) impacted upon approaches to performer training?
- Given the known disparity between richer nations that emit the most carbon and poorer nations that suffer the greatest climate change impacts, how does geography impact on training’s reaction to rising temperatures?
- In work outside of theatres, in site-based practice for instance, how is the training congruent with the performance’s ethics and politics?
- How are performance-based activists trained and what might be learned from such approaches?
- What value and impact might interdisciplinary connections and research have for green trainings?
- What would a carbon literate curriculum for training include?
- What are the opportunities and threats associated with digital green trainings?
- How will training be shaped by factors of climate change in the future? What will rising sea levels, extreme weather, biodiversity reduction, new energy sources mean for performance training?
- What can performer training do to play its part in global adaptation? What small acts can be taken that might excite and motivate others?
- What training initiatives might be taken to lower our carbon footprint?
We welcome submissions from authors both inside and outside academic institutions, from professional practitioners and those who are currently undergoing training or who have experiences to tell from their training histories.
To signal your intention to make a contribution to this special issue in any one of the ways identified above please email an abstract (max 250 words) to Jonathan Pitches, University of Leeds ([email protected]) and Libby Worth, Royal Holloway, University of London ([email protected]). Training Grounds proposals are to be made to Maria Kapsali [email protected] copied to Jonathan and Libby. Please state clearly which type of Training Grounds submission you wish to offer.
Our deadline for these abstracts is June 30th 2023.
Theatre, Dance and Performance Training has three sections:
- ‘Articles’ features contributions in a range of critical and scholarly formats (approx. 5,000-6,500 words)
- ‘Sources’ provides an outlet for the documentation and analysis of primary materials of performer training. We are particularly keen to receive material that documents the histories and contemporary practices associated with the issue’s theme.
- ‘Training Grounds’ hosts shorter pieces, which are not peer reviewed, including essais (more speculative pieces 750-1250 words); postcards (up to 100 words); visual essays and scores; Speaking Images (short texts responding to a photo, drawing, visual score, etc.); and book or event reviews. We welcome a wide range of different proposals for contributions including edited interviews and previously unpublished archive or source material. We also welcome suggestions for recent books on the theme to be reviewed; or for foundational texts to be re-reviewed.
Innovative cross-over print/digital formats are possible, including the submission of audiovisual training materials, which can be housed on the online interactive Theatre, Dance and Performance Training journal blog: https://theatredanceperformancetraining.org/.
About Theatre, Dance and Performance Training (TDPT)
Special Issues of Theatre, Dance and Performance Training (TDPT) are an essential part of its offer and complement the open issues in each volume. TDPT is an international academic journal devoted to all aspects of ‘training’ (broadly defined) within the performing arts. It was founded in 2010 and launched its own blog in 2015. In 2022 we reached the landmark of 50,000 downloads in one year. Our target readership comprises scholars and the many varieties of professional performers, makers, choreographers, directors, dramaturgs and composers working in theatre, dance, performance and live art who have an interest in the practices of training. TDPT’s co-editors are Jonathan Pitches (University of Leeds) and Libby Worth (Royal Holloway, University of London).
- 30 June 2023: proposals to be submitted.
- Early July 2023: Response from editors and, if successful, invitation to submit contribution
- Early July to end October 2023: writing/preparation period
- End October to end December 2023: peer review period
- January 2024: author revisions post peer review
- September 2024: publication as Issue 15.3
We look forward to hearing from you.
Climate Change Committee. 2023. News and Insights. [Online]. [Accessed 16 January 2023]. Available from: https://www.theccc.org.uk/
COP27. 2023. Vision and Mission. [Online]. [Accessed 16 January 2023]. Available from: https://cop27.eg/#/vision#goals
University of Surrey. 2023. Guildford School of Acting (GSA) and its green captains pioneer sustainable theatre production. [Online]. 9 November 2021. [Accessed 16 January 2023]. Available from: https://www.surrey.ac.uk/news/guildford-school-acting-gsa-and-its-green-captains-pioneer-sustainable-theatre-production