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Performing the Fantastic in Contemporary Culture 2023

Logo of Performing the Fantastic in Contemporary Culture

Thursday, 25th May 2023 - held online via Microsoft Teams. Schedule and registration info below

Keynote speaker: Professor Siân Adiseshiah

Intruding upon and departing from normative depictions of reality, images of the fantastic challenge dominant socio-political hegemony by proposing alternative forms of agency and subjectivity. Embedded throughout popular culture, the fantastic encompasses a variety of forms including fantasy, horror, science fiction, the gothic, dystopia and utopia, magical realism, alternate histories, and the supernatural. Yet while scholarship dedicated to these narratives in literature, cinema and television continues to accumulate, the fantastic as performance remains both underexamined and isolated from cognate disciplines. This historical disinterest is sharply contested by a wealth of recent performance works – including Alistair McDowall’s Lovecraftian Pomona (2014), COLAB Factory’s immersive spaceship experience Bridge Command (2019) and Requardt & Rosenberg’s science-fictional dance piece Future Cargo (2021) – which have yet to be meaningfully examined as (or alongside other) fantastic narratives.

Performing the Fantastic in Contemporary Culture offers opportunities for restitution by making space for such works within fantastic scholarship. Crucially, however, this conference also recognises that “performance more broadly constitutes an essential part of human behaviour and social dynamics, reaching beyond the carefully curated events we might see in a theatre” (Micu 2021: 3). To this end, Performing the Fantastic aims to recognise the unique contributions of performance practitioners to fantastic media, while providing an occasion to re-examine our social, political and cultural outputs through a fantastic performance lens.

To register for the conference, please click here. You will be emailed an invitation to join via Microsoft Teams.


(Please note, all times are in BST)

Programme - for an accessible version, please see the plain-text file below

Plain-text programmeLink opens in a new window