Estonian Theatre Festival 2014. The Art of Presence.

Conference “Emergent Identities in Contemporary Theatre”

Programme of the conference “Emerging Identities in Contemporary Theatre”
University of Tartu, Ülikooli 16, room 212

Thursday, 4th of September


Marina Grišakova (Tartu Ülikool) “Jutustaja metamorfoosid”

Anneli Saro (Tartu Ülikool) “Identiteedi kollektiivne tähendusloome teatris” Madis Kolk (Tartu Ülikool) “Religioosne identiteet metamodernistlikus performatiivsuses”

10.40-11.00 coffee break


Liisa Ojakõiv (Tartu Ülikool) “Naine kutsumuse teel”

Luule Epner (Tallinna Ülikool, Tartu Ülikool) “Eestlase aeg ja ruum: rahvuslikust identiteedist nüüdisteatris”

Riina Oruaas (Tartu Ülikool) “Identiteetide konstrueerimine: Euroopa ja Eesti lavastuses „Kolm kuningriiki“”

Eva-Liisa Linder (Eesti Muusika- ja Teatriakadeemia) “Rahvusidentiteedi erinevad mudelid Eesti nüüdisteatris”

Friday, 5th of September

Anneli Saro “Conclusions of the first day of the conference”

Magnus Thor Thorbergsson (Iceland Academy of the Arts) “Where do we go from here? Re-defining national identity in post-2008 Iceland”

Szabó Attila (Hungarian Theatre Museum and Institute) “Theatre as a Challenger of Traditional Constructions of Ethnic Identity in Transylvania”

10.20-10.40 coffee break

Steve Wilmer (Trinity College Dublin) “Angels’ Plots”

Beate Schappach (University of Bern) „Choirs of Melancholy. Collective Identities in Christoph Marthaler’s Theatre Projects“

Maja Šorli (UL AGRFT, Ljubljana) “The Hybrid Identities of Maja Delak and Luka Prinčič”

12.10-12.30 coffee break

Maria-Elisabeth Heinzer (University of Bern) “Identities of Contemporary Theatre”

Concluding discussion 


Conference “Emergent Identities in Contemporary Theatre” University of Tartu, 4-5 September 2014

In the 21st century, identity questions have become more important again because of the new waves of immigration and the current political-economic crises. At the same time theatre is also changing: the identity of characters and performers is being questioned and theatre practitioners are searching for new ways of depicting the world.

In her book Identity, Narrative and Politics (2001) Maureen Whitebrook argues, “Identity is, primarily, a matter of the stories persons tell others about themselves, plus the stories others tell about those persons and/or other stories in which those persons are included. [...] Then inasmuch as identity means something like ‘what the self shows the world’ or ‘what of the self is shown to the world’, together with ‘what of the self is recognized by the world’, the construction of identity – narrating identity – entails placing the self in the public sphere, and thus a capacity for taking on a political role. The political aspect of identity rests on an understanding of the self as social, ‘situated’, and narratives of identity as embedded in other stories, including the wider stories of social and cultural settings.”

She stresses that the construction of identity is a collective act, which relies on performing identity and the approval or rejection of that performance. As a medium that creates direct, collective and multimodal communication between people, theatre deserves special attention in the discourse of identity building. In postmodernism we became used to fragmented and fluid identities. But does this mean that in post-post-modernism (meta-modernism) the arts seem to suggest a move towards coherent identities again?

The conference is held in Estonian and in English. In September 4th, Estonian theatre scholars discuss different aspects of identity in contemporary Estonian theatre. In September 5th, research results of international working group STEP (Project on European Theatre Systems) are presented.

Conference venue: University of Tartu, Institute of Cultural research and Fine Arts, 16 Ülikooli Street, room 212.

Conference is organized by Institute of Cultural Research and Fine Arts, University of Tartu, Estonian Association of Theatre Researchers and Theatre Critics; supported by Estonian Reseach Council (Project “Emergent Stories: Storytelling and Joint Sensemaking in Narrative Environments”, PUT 192), and Estonian Cultural Endowment.