Call for papers

The deadline for papers has expired.

In total 27 presentations were accepted to be presented during the conference. The programme will be published in January 2019.

Transnational Influences: Theatrical Interactivity in the Nordic/Baltic Region and Beyond
Conference in Helsinki Finland, 21-23 March 2019 at University of Helsinki

Deadline for abstracts extended until 19 November 2018!

The Association for Nordic Theatre Scholars (ANTS) invites you to participate in the conference “Transnational Influences: Theatrical Interactivity in the Nordic/Baltic Region and Beyond” at the University of Helsinki from Thursday to Saturday 21-23 March 2019. The conference is organised in association with the Finnish Theatre Scholars (TeaTS), research project “Theatre and cultural relationships between Finland and Estonia” (Helsinki and Tartu universities, funded by KONE Foundation), the Theatre Museum and the National Theatre of Finland.

Please send a 250-word abstract of your proposed paper with a brief biography as a PDF attachment to by 19 November 2018. Responses will be given by 3 December 2018.

While theatre activity has always crossed borders, theatre studies have normally been written from local or national standpoints. To break this pattern, the conference will feature transnational connections and interactivity, artistic migrations, and transcultural borrowings across geographical boundaries. It will focus both on individual and collective efforts, artistic touring and exchange, border crossing, transnational connections and the blurring of national and transnational identities.

The conference will consider theatrical exchanges between Nordic and Baltic countries and between Nordic/Baltic countries and abroad. These could be at institutional levels between governments or theatre institutions and companies or between artists or concerning artists abroad and/or in exile. It will also consider exchanges between national subjects and non-national minorities within countries (such as the convergence of Russian-speakers and Latvian-speakers or between Russian-speaking and Estonian-speaking performances in Latvia and Estonia). It will trace and analyze both the push and the pull behind the artistic migrations and theatrical exchanges, the (mis)interpretations of the Other around inter- and transnational performances, and the outcomes of this interaction.

We will welcome papers dealing with current or historical theatrical exchanges, especially ones in which tangible evidence can be adduced showing the effect of these transnational exchanges. These could include transnational migrations of writers, directors, actors, dancers, dramas, performances, and theatre companies, and their ideas and ideologies and their effect on their new environment, e.g. theatrical developments as a result of transnational theatrical exchange. Papers might utilize theoretical approaches to address problems of subjectivity, identity, agency, etc.

Part of the conference will feature presentations of research from a major three-year project focusing on theatrical exchanges between Finland and Estonia. In addition to exchanges between Finland and Estonia, possibilities include, for example, connections between:

  • Finland and Sweden
  • Iceland and Denmark
  • Latvia and Germany or Russia
  • Norway and Denmark
  • Lithuania and Poland
  • Links across the Iron Curtain

The conference will take place on the occasion of the 175th anniversary of Minna Canth, a prominent 19th century Finnish dramatist, whose work has featured in Estonia and Sweden, and who will be celebrated on 18 to 19 March at the National Theatre and with a Minna Canth exhibition at the Theatre Museum in Helsinki. Influenced by Emile Zola and Henrik Ibsen, Canth’s ground-breaking work at the end of the nineteenth century challenged the inadequate conditions for women and workers and the denial of their human rights. In her plays, she raised social issues, such as women’s legal position in society, the right to own property, to vote, and to take control of their own bodies. Her commemoration gives us the opportunity to reflect on how theatre and artistic practice have influenced social change over the last centuries, especially in the transmission of ideas, ideologies and practices across borders.

Selected papers given at the conference will be developed as articles to be published in Nordic Theatre Studies, with a special section reserved for the Finnish-Estonian research project.

The conference fee is 80 € and includes panel and workshop sessions, coffee and lunch during breaks.

Please send a 250-word abstract of your proposed paper with a brief biography as a PDF attachment to by 19 November 2018. Responses will be given by 3 December 2018.