Call for papers: Theatre and Ecology

Critical Stages/Scènes critiques Issue 26 (December 2022)

Guest Editors
Elizabeth Sakellaridou and Vicky Angelaki

This issue addresses the various ways in which contemporary theatre and performance have engaged with the environmental crisis that has made radical action on the part of both state and society more than an urgent imperative. From playwrights sensitive to ecological issues to theatre practitioners putting up ecologically-motivated performances and eco-events and environment-inspired theorists and critics, one can notice a remarkable cultural production actively involved in issues concerning the preservation of the planet from an imminent irreversible catastrophe.

When Caryl Churchill wrote her prophetic one-act play Not Not Not Not Not Enough Oxygen in 1971, projecting her fears well into the 21st century, she was not in much company within the theatre community. Very few would anticipate then that the dystopian future she envisaged for the world (London in particular) was not the mere fruit of an unharnessed imagination. Rereading the play today renders it more topical and urgent than ever before.  In the fifty years that followed, Churchill has been constantly aware, in her recent work in particular, of an alarmingly deteriorating situation, which she has now presented  as a stark reality of doom but always in an amazingly versatile, experimental style. Today, however, a whole chorus of new theatre voices follow in her steps. Not only new dramatists but also socially/politically engaged directors, companies and performers have placed the climate emergency, overpopulation, pollution, resource drain and other related environmental issues as a priority in their activist agendas. Relevant scholarly work is also flowering, with new books being published in numbers, especially in the second decade of our century, and many journals launching special issues on this burning subject.

Although the present focus on ecology has its origins in the scientific investigation of the second half of the 19th century, it is only now that it has become an emergency for governments and scientists alike and a massive movement promoted by social and artistic groups. The new popularity of Ibsen’s An Enemy of the People on the contemporary stage is a tribute to the Norwegian dramatist as a pioneer of the theatre’s ecological concerns.

Starting with Ibsen’s emblematic position, we would like to invite new research embracing all aspects of modern and contemporary theatre and performance activities worldwide in the area of changing policies for the prevention of catastrophe and the improvement of non-human and human life on our planet.

Among the numerous relevant publications we will indicatively mention two eloquent titles, Carl Lavery’s Performance and Ecology: What Can Theatre Do? (2018) and Dillon Slagle’s “The Aesthetic Evolution of Eco Theater” (2013) which point to the two primary directions that we would like to cover in this special issue:

  • The political agenda of ecotheatre
  • The form of ecologically-oriented play texts and the aesthetics of ecologically- driven performance

Potential topics that might be addressed in this special issue are indicated below. This list is certainly not an exhaustive one but one that we hope and expect to be enriched further:

  • Prophetic theatre
  • Theatres of doom and catastrophe
  • Apocalyptic visions at the turn of the century
  • New naturalisms
  • Gender and Ecology
  • Sexuality theatre and ecology
  • Ethnicity and ecology
  • Local and global ecologies
  • Interventionist tactics of ecoperformance
  • Realist and anti-realist approaches to the environmental crisis
  • Cautionary and corrective approaches to the climate crisis
  • Interpretative (re)visions


Please submit 250-300 word proposals for articles to Professor Elizabeth Sakellaridou, esakel@enl.auth.gr and Professor Vicky Angelaki, vicky.angelaki@miun.se by 15 October 2021, accompanied by a brief biographical note (about 50 words).

We shall contact prospective authors in November 2021.
The final version of the articles will be due 1 October 2022.
Publication date: December 2022
NOTE: For full details regarding submission guidelines please click here.

We look forward to hearing from you!

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