Vol.2 No.1 :: March 1999
Vol.2 No.1 :: March 1999
Third World Congress of the International University Theatre Association
Dakar, Senegal - November 16-21, 1999
Université Cheikh Anta Diop
Call for Papers, Demonstrations and Workshops
University Theatre and Professional Training at the Dawn of the Third Millennium
The Dakar Congress is organised by the Department of Modern Letters of Université Cheikh Anta Diop, in technical and practical cooperation with the Université de Liège in Belgium and the Collège de Valleyfield in Québec. The Dakar Congress will provide an opportunity to directly experience the reality and richness of theatre as it is practised and taught in Africa.
Theme of the Congress :
The relationship between university and theatre, and the contribution of university to the theatre, are issues that have been debated ever since theatre found a place in universities, colleges and other institutions of higher learning. However, as practices multiply and become more varied, both within programs and departments (in theatre or other fields) and in less formally defined academic activities, a more focused approach to these issues is required - especially since theatre itself continues to evolve. New needs have appeared, others are seen to be emerging; some have simply disappeared.
The relationship between university and theatre, therefore, is not only plural and polymorphous, but also perpetually changing. Radical shifts and transformations have become more and more frequent over the past decade. In some regions, professional training schools and universities have tended to become closer, with schools in some cases seeking university status and universities trying to adapt their programs to the needs of the theatre market. Elsewhere, there is a determination to share resources and energy, or an effort to redefine boundaries and areas of responsibility. Thus, the relationship between university theatre and professional training and environments is a complex issue. The International University Theatre Association first explored this issue at the Second World Congress in 1997. It was then examined from three specific angles: research, training and creation. At the Third Congress, the IUTA intends to pursue its process of investigation with an even more specific focus on universities and professional training.
Universities have contributed and are still contributing to the training of professional theatre practitioners. What has this contribution been in the past ? What forms has it taken, and what results have been achieved ? Today, what resources are available to universities to maintain this contribution ? What practices are provided by universities ? How does the training provided by universities differ from that of professional schools ? Should it be different ? complementary ? Can and should universities replace these schools, merge with them, or incorporate them ?
In today’s context, how can universities best contribute to professional training ? What form should this contribution take in the future ? These are the questions that Dakar participants will attempt to answer. There are no simple answers, of course. Recognised professional schools exist in some countries, but not in all; as for university theatre, it may be the product of spontaneous initiatives or an element of a rigorously structured training program.
The Dakar Congress will provide an excellent opportunity to draw a detailed picture of university theatre and its past and current relationship with professional training. Teachers, theorists, students, workshop leaders and practitioners will be able to reflect on the specific role of universities in professional theatre training, in interpretation, production, direction, training, research or creation. While focusing on the future and therefore the 21rst century, discussion should initially allow participants to take stock of this specific contribution, assessing its strengths and weaknesses, and then to suggest possible directions for the next century.
The diversity of university practices, the variety of teaching conditions and the weight of tradition are elements that should stimulate reflection in a process that begins today. The Organising Committee naturally hopes to highlight the most successful practices and allow participants to understand the context in which they occurred.
The Organising Committee seeks proposals for interventions that will serve, through both content and form, to increase our knowledge and understanding of the relationship between university theatre and professional training. University theatre, as defined by the IUTA charter, includes all theatrical practices occurring in institutions of higher education.
Interventions may be of three kinds: scholarly papers, demonstrations and workshops.
Scholarly papers last twenty minutes and are followed by a ten-to fifteen-minute period of questions and exchange. The use of visual, audio-visual and other documents is strongly encouraged.
Demonstrations have the same scholarly content as ordinary papers but include a significant practical component (visual or sound support, actual performances, etc.). Demonstrations last an average of thirty minutes and are followed by a ten- to fifteen-minute period of questions and exchange.
Workshops provide practical demonstration of a scholarly argument related to the theme of the Congress. They take place in specially designed premises and call for audience participation. They can last from an hour to a full day.
The Proceedings of the Congress will be published according to criteria that remain to be defined.
Proposals for papers, demonstrations or workshops must not exceed 300 words and must indicate presenters’ practical and technical requirements. They may be written in English, French or Spanish and must be sent to the following address no later than June 6, 1999 :
IUTA Third World Congress - Dakar, Senegal
Collège de Valleyfield
Valleyfield, QC J6T 1X6
For more information, see the IUTA’s Web site at AITU.COM
ROBERT GERMAY’S EXPLORATORY MISSION TO Argentina
October 19-28, 1998
I was invited to visit Argentina by two different colleagues : Carlos Catalano of the University of Tandil and Alejandro Finzi of the University of Neuquen.
Carlos Catalano, eminent veterinarian, is also Professor and Founding Director of the Escuela Superior de Teatro at the University of Tandil. Our first contact occurred in 1994 at the IUTA’s First World Congress. Professor Catalano was elected Vice-President for South America (the IUTA’s Executive Committee includes one Vice-President for each of the world’s nine regions, i.e.: North America, South America, Western Europe, Eastern Europe, North Africa, Sub-Saharan Africa, Middle East, Far East, Oceania; its working languages are French, English and Spanish). I was elected President of the Association and will remain in office for the next four years.
As President of the IUTA, I was invited by Professor Catalano to give a speech marking the tenth anniversary of the Escuela Superior de Teatro. The speech was given on October 21 at the University of Tandil before a select audience consisting of the Rector, faculty members, municipal officials and students, as part of a ceremony that proved both formal and friendly.
On October 20, I attended a performance of Dos mujeres con Federico, a stage production pased on the poems and plays of Federico García Lorca and starring two actresses well-known in Argentina, Maria Rosa Gallo and Alejandra Dapassano. I had lunch with them and administrators of the Escuela on the day I left for Neuquen.
Although my stay in Tandil was short (I left for Neuquen on October 22), I believe it was productive for all concerned, both within the University and in terms of institutional image. My IUTA President’s cap provided visibility, while contacts with professors and students of theatre supplied opportunities to share knowledge and experience.
Neuquen, capital of Neuquen province, is the administrative, economic and cultural capital of Patagonia.
Alejandro Finzi, professor of comparative history at the University of Neuquen, is a playwright who is very well known in Latin America and often produced in Europe (Spain, France, etc.). He is the director of the Rio Vivo Theatre, the University of Neuquen’s professional university theatre.
Finzi also has a strong interest in the sociology of theatre and maintains ongoing exchanges with the Centre belge de sociologie du théâtre at the Université libre de Bruxelles, a centre directed by Professor Roger Deldime. Finzi is a regular visitor to
the Archives and Museum of Literature in Brussels, where he hopes to establish a section devoted to Latin American literature and drama. He is also a connoisseur of Belgian culture in all of its aspects : music, painting, literature, theatre, etc. His theatre company (Rio Vivo) has performed twice, with great success, at the RITU in Liège. Having heard that I would be travelling in South America, Finzi invited me to visit him in Patagonia after my stay in Tandil. An interesting and varied program of activities awaited me there.
First, I had a very productive meeting with Julio Lasalo, Professor of Sociology and Vice-Rector of Neuquen’s Universidad Nacional del Comahue. With a strong interest in the quality of relations between Rio Vivo and the Théâtre Universitaire Liégeois and a desire to maintain or even widen our exchange policy, the Vice-Rector instigated a meeting with administrators and faculty of INSA (the National Institute of Arts) in the nearby town of General Roca (Rio Negro province). The Institute includes a theatre department in addition to its departments of dance, music and creative visual arts. Our long discussion on the morning of the 24th - participants included Vice-Rector Lasalo, the Rector of INSA, Alejandro Finzi, several members of the INSA faculty and myself - focused on possibilities, which seem very real, of cultural exchange between the various partners. INSA’s excellent facilities (theatre, accommodation, conference rooms, etc.) would make it an ideal meeting-place.
On the evening of the 23rd, I was invited to give a lecture forum for students and faculty of the Theatre Studies Department at the Escuela Superior de Bella Artes Manuel Belgrano in Neuquen. The theme, chosen by my hosts, was Current Tendencies of Belgian and European Theatre Compared to Argentinian and Latin American Theatre. The interest of the audience was unflagging and a lively discussion took place.
On the 24th and 25th, in the evening, I attended the first two performances of Rio Vivo Theatre’s most recent creation, El secreto de la Isla Huemul, by Alejandro Finzi. Despite these public performances, the production is still a work in progress. The playwright and director of the theatre company, Alejandro Finzi, organised a meeting between the actors, the director of the production and myself for purposes of critical discussion. The discussion proved highly stimulating for all concerned.
Cultural excursion. I was privileged to meet a local celebrity, known throughout the world and featured in the Book of Records : Gigantonosaurus Carolinii, largest Rex dinosaur in the world, recently discovered in El Chocon (80 km from Neuquen) and currently on display in a brand-new municipal museum specially designed for its colossal remains. This experience has finally awakened my interest in the iguanodons of Bernissart here in Belgium.
Knowing that I was flying out of Buenos Aires on Tuesday the 27th, Alejandro Finzi had the excellent idea of taking advantage of my stay in the capital to organise a meeting with theatre critics and journalists, teachers from the Escuela Nacional de Arte Dramatico (Institut Nacional Universitario de Artes), the founding Director of the University Theatre belonging to the Faculty of Philosophy and Letters at the University of Buenos Aires, and the President of the ITI’s Argentinian centre. All of these people (9 in all) showed a lively interest in the state of Belgian theatre, literally bombarding me with friendly questions for close to four hours. The experience was both exhausting and fascinating.
In conclusion, I found that my Argentinian and Patagonian week was extremely fruitful, productive and well-organised.
Finally, I want to thank my Argentinian hosts for inviting me in the first place, for meeting the expenses of my stay, and for their warm and gracious welcome.
Liège, October 30, 1998
REQUEST FOR ASSISTANCE
In 1983, an article on the impromptu as a genre appeared in French Citizen South Africa, a periodical that is not available in Canada. Anyone who happens to come across this article would be contributing to research presently being carried out at the Université du Québec à Montréal on the institutional status of dramaturgy. Thank you!
HELP US KEEP YOU INFORMED
We like to hear from you! Don’t hesitate to let us know about events, meetings or activities that might interest IUTA members. Tell us about conventions, symposia or university theatre festivals you are attending or organising; don’t forget to indicate the date, location, purpose and nature of the event, along with names and addresses of organisers. We hope to be able to establish, fairly quickly, a directory of such events and to make it as exhaustive as possible. We are also eager for information on your own activities, projects and achievements. The Newsletter is an ideal way of communicating this information to IUTA members.
You can contact us by regular mail, by telephone, by fax (see below) or through our Web site at the following address : http:\\AITU.COM
If you don’t have a list of IUTA members, please feel free to request it.
16TH RITUL (RENCONTRE INTERNATIONALE DE THÉÂTRE UNIVERSITAIRE DE LIÈGE)
Once again, this year, the RITUL will serve as a focal point for university theatre throughout the world. From March 1 to 7, 1999, ten countries will participate in the Festival as such : Argentina, Belgium, England, France, Israel, Jordan, Poland, Spain, Tunisia and the United States. Fifteen productions are scheduled, in Arabic, English, French, German, Hebrew and Spanish. The repertory, as usual, is extremely varied, ranging from Machiavelli to Weiss and Cocteau and including adaptations, creations and playwrights’ works. In addition to foreign theatre troupes, the RITUL will welcome delegates representing university theatre in some twenty countries.
As in past years, the Rencontre will be associated, on March 5 and 6, with a conference on the organisation of university theatre festivals throughout the world and its practical aspects, including :
- selection of participating troupes,
- daily programming,
- criticism of productions and
- organisation of complementary workshops and activities.
The 16th RITUL will close on March 7 with the semi-annual meeting of the IUTA Executive Committee.
The newsletter is published twice yearly by the International University Theatre Association (IUTA/AITU). Its purpose is to keep members and other interested parties informed of the Association’s projects and activities. Reproduction is encouraged, as long as content is clearly identified as coming from the IUTA Newsletter.
Newsletter coordination : André Brassard, Jean-Marc Larrue and Luis Thenon
Collège de Valleyfield,
Valleyfield, QC, Canada, J6T 1X6
Telephone : 1-450-373-9441, extension 211
Fax : 1-450-377-6048
E-mail : http://www.aitu.com