Theater and drama in prison. Prison in theater and drama

Країна: Польща

Місто: Warsaw

Тези до: 20.09.2018

Дати: 22.11.18 — 23.11.18

Е-мейл Оргкомітету:

Організатори: Department of History and Theory of Theatre, Institute of Art, Polish Academy of Sciences


The international interdisciplinary conference entitled "Theatre and drama in prison. Prison in theatre and drama" will be held in Warsaw on 22nd-23rd November 2018. The conference is to be organized by the Department of History and Theory of Theatre of the Institute of Art at the Polish Academy of Sciences.

The purpose of the conference is to bring together scholars and practitioners to explore a worldwide growing presence of theatre and performing arts in prisons/total institutions and to provide a reflection on the relationship between theatre and prison, as well as to examine depictions of prison/total institutions in theatre and drama.

Attendees shall be encouraged to reflect on the specificity of theatre activities in prison, their social/political functions, various artistic techniques and the intrinsic contribution of such activites to the rehabilitation and reintegration of the incarcerated. The conference aims to study what limitations are imposed whilst establishing theatre in prison and the root cause of these limitations. We will attempt to verify the effectiveness of theatre practice in prison, as well as the role, tasks, and potential of art to influence working practices used with the socially excluded, It is the hope of the organisers that the presented areas of research will open new discussions into the functioning of modern society and on ways of introducing social change.

We encourage attendance from prison theatre practitioners, theatre and performance researchers, specialists in resocialization, cultural anthropologists, sociologists, pedagogues, lawyers. The keynote speaker of the conference will be John Bergman - drama therapist, lecturer (associated with the University of Iowa, Lesley University and Hollins University), theatre practitioner, drama therapy instructor specializing in working with inmates as well as detention ward and penitentiary staff (Stonewall Arts Project/Geese Theater Company). His original methods of working with violent offenders have been put into practice in 15 countries around the world.
The conference language is English and Polish.

We would like to call your attention to the following issues:

  • (un)presence of theater and performance activities in Polish prisons – reasons, threats, challenges;
  • does theatre change prisons? Theatre in prison in individual, institutional and social perspective; ways, forms and effectiveness of social rehabilitation through theatre;
  • prison theatre as a place for intensifying awareness and learning/encouraging dialogue;
  • creative resocialization and theatre;
  • repertoire and artistic forms of the prison-based theatre;
  • creators of "theaters behind the bars";
  • can features of prison acting be distinguished?
  • prison art and urban space;
  • links between theatre/drama and prison (what do we mean when we talk about prison in theatre and drama);
  • depictions of prison/total institution in theatre/drama and its cultural conditioning;
  • representations of the experience of limitation of freedom in drama/theatre/performance;
  • relation between representations of a prison/total institution and representations of social reality in art.


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