Columbia College Chicago Theatre Department to Co-Host Network of Ensemble Theatres Symposium in May; Proposals for Presentations Due March 1


The 2016 symposium of the Network of Ensemble Theatres will take place in Chicago May 20-22, 2016. Titled “Intersection: Ensembles + Universities,” the event will be presented in partnership with the Columbia College Chicago Theatre Department and the League of Chicago Theatres.

The Network of Ensemble Theatres has issued a call for papers, presentations, and performances for the symposium. The deadline to submit proposals is MARCH 1, 2016.

Preference will given to proposals that involve the participation of (and/or focus on work by) local Chicago-area artists, scholars, and practitioners where possible. Instructions for how to submit proposals are given below.

A national coalition of ensembles created by and for artists, the Network of Ensemble Theaters (NET) exists to propel ensemble theatre practice to the forefront of American culture and society. NET is committed to the advancement of the ensemble form and strives to bring about change in the world through the transformative power of collaborative theatre.

NET is soliciting a wide range of presentation formats and modes for the symposium, including performative papers, interactive lectures/demos, curated panels, performance-based events, participatory workshops, roundtables, working sessions, and collaborative skill-shares. NET encourages hybrid and boundary-breaking presentation forms that blend and/or move between theory and practice in creative ways.

Proposed presentations should investigate the broadly construed field of Ensemble Pedagogy (focusing on co-creation/collective creation and collaborative practice in any performance discipline, not limited to theatre), and should fit within one or more of the symposium’s three thematic program tracks:

  • Art + University + Community — Topics might include, but are not limited to: applied theatre; civic and social practice; collaborations and partnerships (between departments, artists/arts organizations, non-arts-based partners, or other community organizations); community engagement; creative placemaking; devising; site-specific work; theatre for social change.
  • Movement + Physical Theater Approaches — Topics might include, but are not limited to: contemporary circus; collaboration and partnerships (cross-departmental, etc.); dance; devising; movement; interdisciplinary performance; physical theatre.
  • Navigating the Academy/Industry Relationship — Topics might include, but are not limited to: building and gathering institutional support for a new university-based ensemble program; collaborations and partnerships (between departments and with non-affiliated artists or arts organizations); ensembles as university-based artists-in-residence or guest artists; industry-focused field research; internships/fellowships; ongoing professional development; support for new graduates/young professionals; techniques for teaching devised work; touring to/presenting by universities.

As an organization that champions ensemble practice and collaborative creation, NET is committed to the equitable access, inclusion, and full participation of a community made up of multiple and diverse voices. NET celebrates a holistic vision of equity and of cultural pluralism that honors diversity of place, race, ethnicity, gender, gender identity, sexuality, physical/mental/sensory dis/ability, age of individuals and ensembles, artistic form, aesthetic orientation, class, national origin, religion, language, and cultural heritage. Proposals that share this prioritization will be given preference.

NET is interested in presentations that share and explore ways that new technologies and innovative tools impact and are integrated into ensemble training, design, performance, audience/community engagement, and access. Possible topics (among many others) might include the rise of university-based interactive media programs; virtual reality; gaming; use of phone texting or other mobile/cloud technologies; the future of design; technology-enabled virtual collaborations in devising/rehearsing/performing across distance; web-based teaching/learning; digital archiving and livestreaming; etc.

PROPOSAL SUBMISSION INSTRUCTIONS — HOW TO APPLY: Please email proposals containing the following information in .doc or .docx file format to by Tuesday, March 1, 2016:

  • Presentation title
  • Relevant thematic program track (list all that apply):
    1.  Art + University + Community
    2. Movement + Physical Theatre Approaches
    3. Navigating the Academy/Industry Relationship
  • Relevant lens (list all that apply):
    1. Place
    2. Cultural Pluralism, Equity, Access, and Inclusion
    3. Technology and Innovation
  • Presentation format/mode
    • Indicate whether this is a performative paper, interactive lecture/demo, curated panel, performance-based event, participatory workshop, roundtable, working session, collaborative skill-share, or other type of session (please identify). 
    • NOTE: Most sessions will be scheduled for 90 minutes.  If your proposed session would require a different length of time, please indicate this preferred length in your proposal.
  • 250-word abstract/rationale/proposal description
  • Names, titles, and organizational affiliations of all involved presenter(s)
  • Presenter(s)’ biographical information (no more than 100 words per presenter)
  • Anticipated media, setup, or space needs (please note that support available for these elements will be minimal)

Those submitting selected proposals will be notified BY MARCH 15, 2016, to discuss subsequent planning and steps toward realization.

For a downloadable PDF version of the Request for Proposals, click here.