Current open calls for submissions

Volume 29, Issue 1 - On Repertoire

Deadline: 26 April 2023


Edited by Mischa Twitchin (Goldsmiths, University of London)


In the field of performance research, the concept of repertoire offers an ambiguous hinge between claims concerning the enduring and the ephemeral. On the one hand, repertoire is typically identified with theatre as opposed to performance, with an investment in rehearsal and repetition distinct from the improvisational and the singular; and, on the other hand, it is conceived of – drawing on Diana Taylor’s famous argument – as distinct from archive, with an investment in the embodied and the performed, or ‘performatic’ (2003: 6), rather than the documented or written (8). The understanding of repertoire is manifold, then, and open to exploration through questions concerning relations between practice and theory, cultural differences and universal possibility, the material and immaterial, embodiment and disembodiment, canon and experiment, the traditional and the commercialized, virtuosity and the everyday. As Taylor already observed, however, these relations are not explained in terms of ‘a binary’ (22). Fundamentally, she argues that ‘we need to rethink our method of analysis’ (27) – not least, perhaps, of the role assigned to repertoire (as if opposed to archive) in the vital analysis of ‘systems [or media] of transmission’ (21), of thinking about ‘acts of transfer, transmitting social knowledge, memory and a sense of identity as requir[ing] both an archival and an embodied dimension’ (ibid.).

Concepts of repertoire in performance are informed by the diverse media and practices of cultural memory, which themselves give meaning to their very contestation, as with the idea of a canon. Besides artistic re-creation, this also involves what one could call ‘pedagogies of repertoire’ within both theatre anthropology and educational curricula, as well as the effects of today’s social media and the temporalities of distraction and contemplation, boredom and surprise, heritage and innovation. Furthermore, how might the sense of repertoire change in the age of generative artificial intelligence (AI) and the Deep Fake, echoing earlier cultural-technological analyses of the medium-as-message? In another context, how might repertoire inform work with people suffering from dementia, where the remaining memory of music often relates to ‘playlists’ that characterize different decades of social life?


Concerning ‘acts of transfer’, then, and their critical analysis: How does repertoire inform anthropological and political interest in the reproduction of, or the challenge to, forms of social and professional habitus? How do the particular requirements of stage management and dramaturgy in theatres offer insight into the conditions of and for maintaining a repertoire? How does repertoire inform employment in acting ensembles, with major and minor roles exchanged during seasons (allowing also for variations of age and gender in casting)? How does repertoire sit between the one-off event and the repeated – or even routine – culture of nightly performances? Or, how and why does repertoire become burdened with such qualifiers as ‘standard’ distinct from ‘new’, ‘traditional’ distinct from ‘innovative’? How does repertoire produce a dynamic between national (or even nationalist) theatre and transgressive performance – or between canons and counter-cultures? How have questions of gender, for example, developed a critical repertoire of their own? Not to mention questions of exile, war and the dislocations of colonialism (as in many places today with the politics of ‘Russian’ repertoire)?

Submissions in the form of essays, manifestos and artists’ pages are welcomed, reflecting on such potential questions as, for example:

How is the idea of repertoire distributed between the ‘signature’ acts of particular performers or artists and the evolving productions of theatre companies or ensembles?


How is repertoire understood in the context of transmission within families (as in Kabuki, where lineages are recognized through the inheritance of stage names), rather than between contracted individuals in Western theatres?


What are the conditions of and for repertoires to exist – and flourish – as concerns, for instance, training in, and the development of, particular performance skills? And how is this undermined by precarity in the neo-liberal war against society?


How does repertoire inform the civic dramaturgy of directors’ theatre, or the idea of an ensemble company?


How does repertoire evoke (and undo) ‘presence’ through forms of participation in religious practice (for instance, through an initiation or in the practice of repeated gestures and verbal formulae)?


What difference do electronic media (whether engaged with ‘live’ or as pre-recorded) make to the idea of repertoire and performance?


How is repertoire explored in curating theatrical seasons, addressing a subscription audience with respect to the ‘contemporary’ interest of ‘classics’, for instance? How is this embedded in an understanding of the civic value of theatre?


How do ideas of repertoire weave through so-called ‘cancel culture’? Or the dynamics of war ‘by other means’? If power means control over narratives of the past, how is repertoire at the heart of the politics of cultural memory?


And many more…



Taylor, Diana (2003) The Archive and the Repertoire, Durham, NC: Duke University Press.



Please send 300- to 400-word abstracts (with a 100-word author bio).


Issue Contacts:

All proposals, submissions and general enquiries should be sent direct to Performance Research at:

Issue-related enquiries should be directed to the issue editors via:



Proposals: April 2023
Decisions: May 2023
First drafts: July 2023
Final drafts: October 2023
Publication: January/February 2024


General Guidelines for Submissions: 

• Before submitting a proposal, we encourage you to visit our website ( ) and familiarize yourself with the journal. 

• Proposals will be accepted by email (Microsoft Word or Rich Text Format (RTF)).

 Proposals should not exceed one A4 side. 

• Please include your surname in the file name of the document you send. 

• Please include the issue title and issue number in the subject line of your email. 

• Submission of images and other visual material is welcome provided that all attachments do not exceed 5 MB, and there is a maximum of five images. 

• Submission of a proposal will be taken to imply that it presents original, unpublished work not under consideration for publication elsewhere. 

• If your proposal is accepted, you will be invited to submit an article in the first draft by the deadline indicated above. On the final acceptance of a completed article, you will be asked to sign an author agreement in order for your work to be published in Performance Research.