Memory and Performance: Classical Reception in Early Modern Festivals (15th-18th Century)

Thursday, October 13, 2022 - 10:00am
13-14 October 2022 University of Parma ; 23-24 February 2023 University College London

Key Dates:

13-14 October 2022, University of Parma

23-24 February 2023, University College London

Abstracts submission: 13th April 2022

Organisers:

Francesca Bortoletti (UNIPR), Giovanna Di Martino (UCL & APGRD)

Scientific Committee:

Mariella Bonvicini (UNIPR), Francesca Bortoletti (UNIPR), Nicola Catelli (UNIPR), Giovanna Di Martino (UCL & APGRD), Giorgio Ieranò (UNITN), Fiona Macintosh (OXFORD), Massimo Magnani (UNIPR), Eckart Marchand (WARBURG), Lucy Jackson (DURHAM), Eugenio Refini (NYU); Paolo Russo (UNIPR), Carlo Varotti (UNIPR), Erika Valdivieso (YALE), Federica Veratelli (UNIPR).

Sponsors and Partners:

Supported by the University of Parma, the Centro per le Attività e le Professioni delle Arti e dello Spettacolo (CAPAS, UNIPR), UCL, the Centre for Early Modern Exchanges (UCL), the Archive of Performances of Greek and Roman Drama (Oxford), and the Leventis Foundation; in collaboration with the Centro Interateneo sulla Memoria delle Arti Performative (MAP – Roma, Parma, Genova), the Centro Interuniversitario di ricerca di ‘Studi sulla Tradizione’ (Bari, San Marino, Padova, Trento), the Laboratorio Dionysos (Trento), and The Warburg Institute (London).

Keynote Speakers:

Erika Lin (CUNY); Eugenio Refini (NYU); Erika Valdivieso (Yale); Paola Ventrone (UNICATT).

Call for Papers:

Recent publications and research projects on early modern theatre have argued for a need to move away from strict definitions of theatrical endeavours as intrinsically linked to dramatic theatre to including as well as exploring the multiple forms of performance in early modern contexts. These were often explicitly tied with festive occasions and political celebrations, as well as cultural practices, and presented intangible, yet crucial, aspects of early modern life and memory. These transitory events – festivals – should be seen as the product of a highly performative context that extended beyond the vernacular dramatic traditions that were being formed between the 15th and 18th centuries in some parts of the European and American continents. By means of music, poetry and drama, as well as the visual arts, these festive events and performances appropriated, reacted to, and enmeshed Greek and Roman mythologies as well as theatrical and textual material into local, national and new experimental practices, through which they gave voice to political tensions as well as documented transcultural exchanges across Europe, the Mediterranean and the Atlantic.

Similarly, recent research into the reception of Greek and Roman material in the early modern period has urged a reformulation of modern concepts encapsulating, and often limiting, possible methods of engagement with the ancient material. Peter Burke and Ronnie Po-Chia Hsia’s application of ‘cultural translation’ to early modern translating endeavours in Europe, for example, underscores the practical and conceptual importance of the receiving context in the translating process whilst moving away from a binary and uncreative understanding of this transaction between texts and cultures. 

We believe the term ‘memory’ frees this transaction between cultures from superimposed prescriptions even further; in colonial contexts especially, the term ‘memory’ also allows an exploration of (un)conscious acts of (mis)remembering that undercut the cultural prestige of the Greek and Roman material that was being adapted. 

But ‘memory’ is also apt for describing the very nature of theatrical performance; the effectiveness of thinking about theatrical endeavours in terms of their memorable-ness has evolved over the course of history, from antiquity to contemporary times. Exploring the conceptual and practical translations of ‘memory’ works particularly well in the early modern context, where the thick web of citations and re-elaborations of other cultures’ texts and material functioned as a basis for the creation of new collective, national or transnational memories. 

Finally, ‘memory’ refers to another thematic strand which we aim at investigating in this conference: namely, the construction of these performance events as memories – i.e., the documentation and archiving of such memories by contemporary and future ‘archivists’, by past and present memory-holders. 

The time frame chosen for this conference is from the 15th to the end of the 18th century. The geographical scope of the conference includes the European and American continents; however, proposals that reach beyond this geographical scope are also very welcome.

Potential topics may include, but need not be limited to: 

  • Performance culture in the early modern period and its associations with Greek and Roman material 

  • Traces of performance in the translation of Greek and Roman material 

  • Traces of translation of Greek and Roman material in performance scripts 

  • Courtly, commercial, and academic theatre and how it reshapes and/or is connected with Greek and Roman material

  • Greek, Roman and early modern mythologies in music festivals 

  • The relationship between and/or blending of Greek and Roman theatrical conventions and early modern forms of theatre and performance 

  • Performance of Greek and Roman material in order to form/validate/subvert new/old canons 

  • The presence of Aristotle in early modern performance and in theatre theories and practises

  • The influence of Greek and Roman material on the creation of theatrical genres and/or the influence of early modern local/national/popular performance practises in the reshaping of Greek and Roman material 

  • Traces of Greek and Roman material in the early modern material and immaterial cultural heritage

  • The archiving and documenting of performance events in the early modern period and now

  • The construction/deconstruction of collective/national memories, past and present, through the archiving of performance events 

All submissions should include: a 350-word abstract, a brief bio, and an email address. Please also specify whether you have a preference for the first stage of the conference, in Parma (13-14 October 2022), or the second one, in London (23-24 February 2023). Accepted languages for Parma: Italian and English; accepted language for London: English. Submissions should be made by 13th April 2022 at earlymodernfestival@outlook.com. For more information, visit the website here >.

Both conferences will be preceded by three days of theatre workshops (10-12 October 2022; 20-22 February 2023), organised as part of the W.I.D.E. program, promoted and supported by the University of Parma and the EU. These will be directed by the playwright and director Marco Martinelli (Teatro delle Albe) and by Giovanna Di Martino (UCL, APGRD), and will investigate the performability and intricate web of citations embedded within early modern dramatic scripts. The results of these workshops will be presented at both conferences. 

Any questions, please email   or  .