Call for Papers: Amfiteater’s symposium on Amateur Theatre

Lokacija: Slovenski gledališki inštitut, Mestni trg 17, Ljubljana
Termin: 15. 04. 2019 – 10. 06. 2019

Amfiteater’s symposium on Amateur Theatre

Where: SLOGI – Slovenian Theatre Institute (Mestni trg 17, Ljubljana)
When: 8 – 9 November 2019

In cooperation with Amfiteater Journal, AGRFT Research Group, Public Fund for Cultural Activities, Slovenian Theatre Institute, and the international research group STEP



The field of amateur theatre can be explored in various contexts. It is commonly weighed against professional theatre; the main differences between them, however, lie in the areas of funding, performers’ education, and time invested in creation. Drawing on comparative research on amateur theatre carried out by the international research group STEP (Project on European Theatre Systems), we will look at systemic organisation of the field in different European countries and try to identify the values (economic, social, ethical, aesthetic, etc.) prevailing in this type of theatre.

But in attempting this, we must bear in mind that the understanding of “amateurism” in the 21st century is changing parallel to the emergence of new cultural practices. It is important to see and question the distinctions between amateur and professional theatre from a historical perspective (e.g. Workers’ Stage, Pekarna Theatre, Pupilija Ferkeverk Theatre, etc.) as well as examine the roles of different types of theatre today, when new media and technologies make it remarkably easy to get around the guardians of professional performing arts (e.g. city and state theatres, educational institutions, etc.). New forms of commercial theatre (stand-up comedy, improvisation theatre, etc.) should be mentioned in this context as well, although in these cases we are no longer dealing with formally trained theatre makers. The idea that professional culture always starts as amateur activity is also quite common, and we think it is a relevant context for exploring amateur theatre offer in relation to education and professional production available in a specific environment.

The papers could respond to any of the following themes:

– The social roles of amateur theatre today

– Transitioning from amateur theatre to professional and/or commercial theatre and back

– Amateur theatre aesthetics

– The values of and the evaluation criteria for amateur theatre

– Contemporary folk theatre and/or performing cultural heritage

– Authenticity in amateur theatre vs. actor’s presence in professional theatre

– Amateur theatre and cultural politics

– Amateur theatre involving younger and older generations

– Amateur theatre and political or social activism (e.g. theatre of the oppressed)

– Amateur theatre in education, social work, and therapy (e.g. Kamishibai, psychodrama, etc.)

– Amateur site-specific theatre

– The roles and the relationships between professionals and amateurs in amateur theatre

– The role of education in the field of amateur theatre

– The significance of amateur theatre festivals

– Amateur theatre and their audiences


The symposium is free of charge to attend and will be held in Slovenian and English. The paper should not exceed 20 minutes. The number of participants is limited.

Send the paper’s title and abstract (400 words) and a short CV (100 words) to The selected contributions will be reviewed and published in the Amfiteater Journal.



Head of symposium: Maja Šorli

International preparatory committee: Maja Šorli, Gašper Troha, Nika Leskovšek, Anneli Saro, Joshua Edelman, Vicki Ann Cremona