Theatre and Materiality



Nordic Theatre Studies Vol. 35 No. 1 (2023)

Theatre and Materiality

edited by Petra Dotlačilová and Martynas Petrikas

Since theatre is inevitably material practice, the material turn, which is still underway in the humanities and social sciences, certainly did not miss to affect the studies in theatre and performance.[1] This approach has been explored already in 2004 by Ric Knowles in his Reading Material Theatre and later in the 2012 special edition of Theatre Journal on Theatre and Material Culture, the 59th Volume of The Drama Review or the 2017 anthology New Media Dramaturgy.[2] Since then, the issue of materiality expanded in the field of theatre and performance studies considerably, but the theoretical perspectives also changed. In the last decade, at least, costume studies gained an increased presence in academia, producing exciting new research in theory, history and artistic research.[3] The theories of new materialism, analyzing the entanglements of the human and non-human, spread across the humanities and social sciences with considerable speed, as they are highly relevant in the age of the Anthropocene.[4] At the same time, historical materialism developed by Karl Marx remains pertinent within the cultural studies, including theatre and performance.

Therefore, it seems urgent for Nordic theatre scholars to descent from the heights of Utopia down to Earth, and reconsider the materiality of theatrical practice, the agency of things and bodies within performance, the relationships between technology, culture and nature, the human and non-human.

For the next issue of Nordic Theatre Studies, we invite contributions that would address theatre, dance and performance from the perspective of materiality or materialism, historical or new. These relations can be observed in the present as well as in the past, along the following themes:

  • Agency of theatre materialities, from scenography to digital tools
  • Interplays between things and bodies on stage, and their relation to the audience
  • Materiality of performance space, in the theatre and public space
  • Material conditions, including the economic aspects, that shape the theatrical creation
  • Cultural, social, political and religious contexts of materiality and performance


The open section of the journal

Additionally, we invite theatre researchers in the Nordic and Baltic countries and all scholars writing about theatre and performance related to these countries to send proposals for the journal's open section.



28 February 2023 – Deadline for abstracts

10 March 2023 – Decision on abstracts

15 June 2023 – Deadline for articles

15 August 2023 – Reply from peer-reviewers transmitted to authors

15 October 2023 – Deadline for final revision

December 2023 – Publication of Journal


Please send your abstract submission (300 words) and a short bio (100 words) to the email address by 28 February 2023.


[1] Ann Smart Martin and J. Ritchie Garrison (eds.), American Material Culture: The Shape of the Field (Winterthur Museum, 1997); Daniel Miller (ed.), Materiality (Duke University Press, 2005); Tim Ingold, Making: Anthropology, Archaeology, Art and Architecture (Routledge, (2013); etc.

[2] Ric Knowles, Reading Material Theatre (Cambridge University Press, 2004); Theatre Journal, Vol. 64, No. 3, Special Edition, Theatre and Material Culture (October 2012); The Drama Review, Vol. 59, No. 4 (Winter 2015); Peter Eckersall, Helena Grehan, Edward Scheer (eds.), New Media Dramaturgy (Palgrave Macmillan, 2017).

[3] Aoife Monks, The Actor in Costume (Red Globe Press, 2010); the foundation of the platform Critical Costume in2013; the foundation of Journal of Studies in Costume and Performance in 2016; Donatella Barbieri Costume in Performance: Materiality, Costume and the Body (London: Bloomsbury Academic, 2017), Sofia Pantouvaki, Peter McNeil (eds.), Performance Costumes: New Perspectives and Methods (2020), etc.

[4] Sarah Ahmed, Queer Phenomenology – Orientations, Objects, Others (Duke University Press, 2007); Karen Barad, Meeting The Universe Halfway – Quantum Physics And The Entanglement Of Matter And Meaning (Duke University Press, 2007); Jane Bennett, Vibrant Matter: A Political Ecology of Things (Duke University Press, 2010); Coole D. & Frost S. (eds.), New Materialism – Ontology, Agency, And Politics (Duke University Press, 2010); etc.