Theatre Symposium Brno

Tendencies in Contemporary Theatre Directing 
and Theatre-directing Education

in memoriam prof. PhDr. Josef Kovalčuk

Registration for Speakers

Call for Proposals

In the 21st century, theatrical forms are undergoing profound transformations, which are posing questions about the direction of contemporary theatrical art. The term directing immediately associates power and responsibility. The increasing number of information and stimuli one encounters daily, radically challenges the established, considerably hierarchical models of theatre practice and questions their adequacy. Being fundamentally collective and collaborative, performance art has always been thriving on dialogue. The intensity of the current digital era, however, forces us to reconsider the possibilities of dialogue with the others. Considering theatre directing as living art with significant transformative potential and undeniable ambition to reflect on important current issues and sociopolitical situation, it has become evident that our close attention must focus on directing as a craft of contextualizing the reality and mobilizing the audiences. In this regard, it is necessary to contemplate the nature of instructing young directors, who should not only be taught how to master the techniques of directing, they should also be educated in how to take responsibility for holding the power to influence the spectator, how to be thought-provoking creators.

The aim of the symposium is to enable an interdisciplinary dialogue between directors and theatre practitioners, as well as theorists and teachers of theatre directing, and to mediate their joint discussion of contemporary forms of theatre directing and of various approaches to teaching theatre directing at performing arts academies and universities. To facilitate the exchange of ideas roundtable-discussions will constitute an integral part of the symposium. The symposium continues the tradition of biennial symposia of theatre anthropology and conferences hosted by the Theatre Faculty of Janáček Academy of Music and Performing Arts in Brno.


Possible topics include but are not limited to:


  • What are the possible innovative methods to be developed when aiming towards justifying a non-totalitarian and non-autocratic dimension of the profession;
  • In what respects may we regard the impact of a conceptualized performance as more socially responsible compared to a directed production?
  • To what extent is the director “a demiurge” responsible for the inner and outer attributes of a production;
  • Progressive tendencies in contemporary theatre directing (e.g. intermediality, political theatre, documentary theatre, anthropological or community theatre, participatory theatre);
  • The work of a director: a dialogue with partners or an act of power;
  • Current social trends as reflected in the work of major directors;
  • Portraits of distinguished directors, who have influenced the development of contemporary theatre directing;
  • Presentation of individual work methods and techniques;


  • How to educate directors in terms of their readiness to reflect current global changes and how to turn them into creative authors and responsible citizens;
  • How to embody innovative approach when transmitting knowledge to the next generation of theatre practitioners;
  • What norms may be set to define the relationship between teaching and preaching;
  • Are there any specific measures for avoiding the danger of self-replicating, and producing epigones of oneself in terms of pedagogical practice;
  • How to shape a theatre-directing curriculum in order to enable the reflection of emerging tendencies in theatre practice;
  • Experience with education of the upcoming generation of directors; concepts and philosophies of theatre-directing curricula (i.e. opportunities for students to work with professional actors or in professional theaters);
  • The future of educating theatre directors;


Possible ways of presenting at the symposium:

  • Presentation (20 min)
  • Performative lecture (20 min)
  • Work demonstration (up to 60 min)


Please submit your proposal of no more than 300 words and your brief CV before 10th June 2018. If you choose to demonstrate your work, please state its estimated length. You can register here. The applicants will be notified regarding the acceptance of their proposals by 26th June 2017. Abstracts and CVs will be posted on the symposium website prior to the event.

Theatre Faculty of Janáček Academy of Music and Performing Arts can provide the speakers with funding for accommodation for a maximum of three nights.

The symposium will be held in English, simultaneous interpretation into Czech will be arranged by the organizers. Please note that all participants are expected to provide full texts of their papers, performative lectures or scenarios of their work demonstrations for the organizers in advance – by 21st October 2018 – to be used as preparatory materials for the interpreters.

Selected papers/lectures will be peer-reviewed and published by JAMU in a collective monograph reflecting the topics of the symposium. The authors will be notified regarding their eligibility by 17th December 2018. The selected papers should be submitted for the peer-reviewing process by 20th January 2019.