Amfiteater’s symposium on amateur theatre

8 – 9 November 2019 at the Slovenian Theatre Institute, Ljubljana, Slovenia

The field of amateur theatre can be explored in various contexts. It is commonly weighed against professional theatre; the main differences between them, however, lie in the areas of funding, performers’ education, and time invested in creation. Drawing on comparative research on amateur theatre carried out by the international research group STEP (Project on European Theatre Systems), we will look at systemic organisation of the field in different European countries and try to identify the values (economic, social, ethical, aesthetic, etc.) prevailing in this type of theatre.

But in attempting this, we must bear in mind that the understanding of “amateurism” in the 21st century is changing parallel to the emergence of new cultural practices. It is important to see and question the distinctions between amateur and professional theatre from a historical perspective (e.g. Workers’ Stage, Pekarna Theatre, Pupilija Ferkeverk Theatre, etc.) as well as examine the roles of different types of theatre today, when new media and technologies make it remarkably easy to get around the guardians of professional performing arts (e.g. city and state theatres, educational institutions, etc.). New forms of commercial theatre (stand-up comedy, improvisation theatre, etc.) should be mentioned in this context as well, although in these cases we are no longer dealing with formally trained theatre makers. The idea that professional culture always starts as amateur activity is also quite common, and we think it is a relevant context for exploring amateur theatre offer in relation to education and professional production available in a specific environment.

The symposium is organized by the Slovenian Theatre Institute in cooperation with Amfiteater Journal, Academy of Theatre, Radio, Film and Television of the University of Ljubljana Research Group, Public Fund for Cultural Activities, and the international research group STEP.

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