CFP: ISTR 2023 ‘Balancing Acts’

5-6 May, University of Galway 

Sponsored by the University of Galway and Irish Theatre Institute in association with Dundalk Institute of Technology 


  • Dr Danielle Bainbridge, Northwestern University 
  • Prof. David O’Shaughnessy, University of Galway
  • Safe to Create/Irish Theatre Institute Panel Keynote
  • Artist Interview Keynote: Ursula Rani Sarma  


Cultural Programme in association with Galway Theatre Festival 

ECR Workshops: Funding, Publications, Job Interviews 


This conference invites scholars, arts workers, and policy makers to consider the concept, act, and symbol of ‘balance’ in theatre, performance and the arts in contemporary and historical contexts, drawing on national and international research, practice, and policy. Moments of transition and transformation currently confront the theatre and arts sector, with recent studies and reports demonstrating that deeply embedded inequalities and constraints limit how the arts sector operates. The consequences of this antagonise not only the personal and professional lives of artists and researchers but result in limitations for our collective imagining and expression. ISTR 2023 will feature academic, artist and policy keynotes, and, specialist workshops aimed at ECRs to support their research development. In this way, the conference strives for balance across our scholarly and artistic communities, supporting the interconnections and sustainability of our networks. 

‘ISTR 2023: Balancing Acts’ will promote, examine, and engage with a diverse range of national and international arts practice and policy, creating connections and collaborations across international research and arts communities. During the pandemic theatre and performance practice turned towards creative technologies as a means to ensure its survival. ISTR 2023 will call for contributions that address the balance between liveness and the digital to address these recent interventions and consider future iterations. The theme ‘balancing acts’ also suggests that we review our work-life balance in theatre and arts sectors, where night work and touring are essential elements of work which can have a range of impacts on its communities, particularly in terms of the relationship between the personal and the professional, and the private and public. The Irish Theatre Institute Keynote Panel will focus on their current ‘Safe to Create’ project, aiming to improve the workplace for artists and arts workers, drawing from a panel of international experts on bystander training, inclusive policy, and identity-based research (  

In summary, the theme ‘Balancing Acts’ is directly motivated by our shared need to consider how we make theatre and performance, how we conduct research and teach, and how we live and play, identifying that ‘balance’ is essential for health, creativity, safety, and sustainability. 

We invite 20-minute proposals, which may be practice-led or include practice, that address ‘balancing acts’ in case studies of: 

  • Irish theatre, performance and multidisciplinary arts 
  • International theatre, performance and multidisciplinary arts 
  • Theatre, performance and arts policy 
  • Balancing the books: theatre economics, funding, and sponsorship 
  • Balance and Representation: ability, ethnicity, gender, race, and LGBTQ+ 
  • Balancing liveness with the digital 
  • Theatre, performance, and caring roles/responsibilities 
  • Theatre, performance and health 

Please email abstracts of max 300 words, with brief biographical note of 150 words, to both conference co-organisers: Dr Miriam Haughton (UoG)  and Dr Ciara L. Murphy (DkIT) by 5pm, Friday 24th February 2023.  


Waged with ISTR membership renewal: 

€100/2 days 

€50/1 day 

Waged (membership already paid): 

€80/2 days 

€40/1 day 

Student/Unwaged with ISTR membership renewal: 

€40/2 days 

€20/1 day 

Student/Unwaged (membership already paid)” 

€30/2 days 

€15/1 day 

Registration must be paid via Eventbrite link by Friday 31 March 2023.