Join us for ATHE 2020!

The Women and Theatre Program (WTP) invites panel proposals for the 2020 Association for Theatre in Higher Education (ATHE) Conference



Combustion ⇔ Energy ⇔ Resilience ⇔ Drive ⇔
Resilience ⇔ Energy ⇔ Combustion

July 29-August 2, 2020

Detroit, MI

Drama Performance

If you would like to present at ATHE 2020 and...

...have a complete panel of three or more presenters ​whose work fits together, fits the larger theme of the conference, and examines issues through the lens of WTP (in other words not co-sponsored with another focus group) submit these directly ​to ATHE on their website (​ ATHE highly recommends that the Session Coordinator contact WTP in advance to verify sponsorship. While this is recommended, it is not required for single focus group panels. To list WTP as your session sponsor, simply select WTP in the “Session Sponsor” field of the online proposal form. The deadline for proposals is Thursday, November 1, 2019.

...have a complete panel of three or more presenters ​whose work fits together and addresses the larger themes of the conference from multiple or multidisciplinary standpoints, consider submitting a multidisciplinary panel sponsored by two focus groups. Contact the conference planners for ​both ​focus groups involved to confirm approval of a multidisciplinary session before submitting the panel proposal directly to ATHE on their website ( by Thursday, November 1, 2019.


...have an individual paper or presentation idea and are seeking help in assembling a panel​, please feel free to communicate with WTP members on our focus group web page which is linked under “Groups” on the main page. Alternatively, you may also use the WTP listserv to introduce your idea and find other members for your panel. You may also contact WTP’s conference planners, ​Jessica Brater and Erin Kaplan (​​ and​. Whenever possible, efforts will be made to connect you with other potential session members.

The 2020 Conference Theme

From ATHE’s Conference Site:

Motor City: for over 100 years, “Detroit” has been synonymous with the car industry: The industry and the city have had a reciprocal relationship, an exchange of energy. But this power dynamic has been woefully unequal. The 2009 bailout of “Detroit” awarded federal emergency relief to a handful of corporations that have more of a presence outside of the city than within it. Conversely, when the city itself faced the largest municipal bankruptcy in history just four years later, it was pensions, schools, and cultural institutions on the negotiating table. There was no bailout for the people of Detroit.

Our conference theme invites you to explore and interrogate the cycles of reciprocity that take place in our scholarship, teaching, and creative work. In classrooms and studios, on stages and screens, images and language of creation and destruction—building, running, striking—guide our generative practices. We invite you to consider how various technologies—theatrical, automotive, political— work to keep our work going, keep our field driving (somewhere). Keeping in mind that the same technologies that can aid generative work can also destroy, we also invite you to consider how technologies impede progress, foreclose the possibility of sustainable practices, even endanger our ecological health.

What if we take the very elements that drive the fields of theatre and performance and blow them up, explore their greatest consequences and their greatest (as of yet unrealized) potentialities?

Possible WTP topics include but are not limited to:

  • Drive to perform, organize, and direct combustion of traditional/conventional/patriarchal structures of performance and scholarship and performance pedagogy.

  • Combustion as resistance

  • Resilience and energy of labor, acknowledgment of unseen labor, and the gendering of labor in theatre practice

  • Connections between drive, energy, combustion and/or resilience and trans identity and trans experience and trans rights

  • Pivotal moments of combustion that drive women and non-binary artists, scholars and laborers forward in theatre practice, theory, pedagogy

  • Women’s work outside the boundaries of traditional “scenes” of theatre

  • Feminist approaches to play structure that combust concepts of well-made, Aristotelian plays and scenes

  • Combustion, energy, resilience, drive of the body

  • Resilience to drive histories of feminist theatre

  • Feminist combustion in methodology, pedagogy, or praxis

  • Women and non-binary artists and technologies

  • Mirroring and/or metonymy in feminist staging practice

  • What women and non-binary artists inhabit our contemporary stages? Who was here before they were? Who is (still) missing? How does resilience shape legacy and presence?

  • Combustion as the spark for creation. What are the moments that spark feminist performance and the resilience of creation?


Instructions for Submitting a Proposal

  • Please consult the ATHE website,; it offers a user-friendly, step-by- step guide to submitting your proposal, which must be entered through the site by Friday, November, 1 2019. (the online module for submitting proposals is available)

  • Note that your on-line proposal should include all special requests, such as audio-visual support (see proposal site on what is available) or grant applications.

  • Multidisciplinary sessions are those that are sponsored by two or more focus groups. Contact the ATHE conference planner for all intended sponsors before proposing your session. (For WTP approval, contact Jessica Brater and Erin Kaplan: ​​;​. A list of other focus groups and their contacts is available on the ATHE website.

  • Incomplete proposals will not be accepted. Be sure to enter information on all required fields (including names of all session members).

  • The inclusive dates of the conference are July 29-August 2, 2020; unfortunately, specific time-slot requests cannot be granted, so session participants must be available through that time period. (Please let WTP know if this stipulation hampers your ability to participate and we will work with ATHE to see if accommodations can be made for issues such as caregiving, disability, etc.)

  • You will receive confirmation of your proposal directly from ATHE shortly after submission; you will receive notification regarding acceptance to the conference in early March 2020.

  • If you have questions regarding the process that cannot be answered through ATHE’s website, please feel free to contact WTP’s ATHEConferencePlanners,​ Jessica Brater and Erin Kaplan (​and

Live Punk Band

2020 Pre-Conference