Volume 3: Designers & Crafters


Call for Proposals: Women’s Innovations in Theatre, Dance, and Performance

Volume 3: Designers & Crafters

Co-edited by Greer Crawley and Carolina E. Santo

This volume will focus on the contributions of women to design and stagecraft in general, and in particular to their innovations in the areas of theatrical costume, scenic, sound, lighting, scenography, and media design. Contributors will be encouraged to define the role of designer and stagecrafter expansively and to include innovations by women from eras and contexts in which design specialization had not yet occurred (e.g., contributions and innovations by performers, managers, directors, dramaturgs, writers, or choreographers to stagecraft and design).

Questions that contributors to this volume should explore include:

  • Who are the women who made significant innovations and contributions as designers and stagecrafters, and what were those innovations? What were the social/political/economic conditions under which they worked? How did their status as women affect their ability to define their status in the field and exercise autonomy as artists? What creative endeavors required the naming/claiming and consolidation of the status of designer?

  • How have design and innovation intersected in women’s stage or performance work, particularly in historical eras or in cultures/theatrical practices in which design, as a subspecialization, did or does not exist? What role have women played in defining design subspecialties or in challenging and changing established conventions? Are there other ways to consider female stagecraft practice beyond the limited constraints on the word and process of creation that upholds a singular, genius model of innovation?

  • How did their work help to shape or change the future of theatre or dance as an art form? Why is the recuperation of their legacies important?

The Designers & Crafters volume aims to identify voices that are not usually included and to shed light on their unacknowledged contributions to the aesthetics and technologies of design and stagecraft. This recuperation will require the re-examination of the anecdotal and incomplete documentation of the women artists, makers and designers who often work(ed) outside the mainstream theatre industry. A central goal of this volume is to revisit archival materials of theatre history—including sets, costumes, props, workbooks, drawings, models, etc.—so that new and original evidence can be discovered to re-write the historiography of stagecraft from an alternative, feminist point of view.

Aspects to be considered might include:

  • The marginalization of women’s craftmanship and aesthetic processes

  • The importance of women as stagecraft educators and mentors

  • The spaces of innovation: the workshop, the studio, the rehearsal room, the home, the classroom

  • Representations of theatre designers and crafters in literature, visual art, film, and photography

  • Innovations in the exhibition of stagecraft

  • Stagecraft and cultural identity

We seek contributors who can speak to these recurring themes across multiple languages, geographies, cultures, and time periods. We are particularly interested in centering the voices of IBPOC scholars and contributors across career stages.

We invite critical and creative papers as well as those that present case-studies or deliver in more collaborative formats. Contributions may focus on, but are not limited to, women’s involvement and innovations in the development of design and stagecraft technologies, processes and practices, and design methodologies.

The following is an indicative (and by no means exhaustive) list of possible topics:

  • Innovations in artistic practices and design methodologies

  • Innovations in labor and production

  • Innovations in craft knowledge

  • Innovations in sustainability and stagecraft

  • Innovations in digital technologies

  • Innovations in interdisciplinary practices

  • Innovations in theatre technology

  • Innovations in scenic vocabularies and strategies

  • Innovations in making and materiality

  • Innovation in working environments

  • Innovations in experimental practices

  • Innovations in pedagogies

  • Innovations in exhibiting stagecraft

Contact Greer Crawley (Greer.Crawley@rhul.ac.uk) and Carolina E. Santo (ca.espirito@gmail.com) if you have questions.

Abstracts submitted should be 250 words, and include a working title and a description of the methodological approach. Potential contributors should also include a brief (150 word) bio. These should be combined into one MS Word document (Times New Roman, 12-pt, single-spaced) for submission.

Deadline for submission of abstracts is February 1, 2023. Abstracts should be submitted online HERE.