International Federation for Theatre Research Conference and Asian Theatre Working Group Colloquium 2018

The University of the Philippines Diliman, through the Office for Initiatives in Culture and the Arts (OICA), College of Arts and Letters (CAL) and the Asian Center (AC), is hosting the Joint 2018 International Federation for Theatre Research Conference and Asian Theatre Working Group Colloquium 2018 (IFTR-Asia 2018) with the theme, “Bodies in/and Asian Theatres” from 20 to 23 February 2018

Abstract submissions are now open. Deadline of submissions: 15 September 2017.


A growing interest on the body as a starting point of discourse is seen in the past decades. Even theatre studies has been involved on scrutinizing the body as an important performance aspect. In Western theatre practice, physical theatre is a well-articulated practical approach for understanding the body vis-à-vis theatre and performance. However, the increasing number of the most influential theorizations and conceptualizations has primarily, if not exclusively, focused on how the cultures in the West (Europe and the Americas) conceive it.

Taking the cue from Asianists like Bryan Turner, Zheng Yangwen, Rey Ileto, Vincente Rafael and Kuan-Hsing Chen, it is important to note that peoples in Asia experienced colonization, decolonization and now globalization albeit different modalities. These contexts, as these Asianists suggested and implied, are important socio-political and historical factors for understanding the Asian body. With this, “Bodies in/and Asian Theatres” is envisioned to contribute to the study of the body, particularly its functions and placements in the different cultural performances in the Asian region.

The conference seeks papers that answer these general questions: what do we mean when we talk about bodies in Asian theatres and performances? What do we mean when we talk about Asian bodies in different performances outside the region? How does theatre affect the way we think about the bodies of Asians?


Our keynote speakers include Dr. Susan San Kwan (University of California Berkeley), Dr. Julius J. Bautista (Kyoto University) and Ms. Agnes Locsin (Former Artistic Director Ballet Philippines). View more details of our keynote speakers.

For the roundtable plenary, we have invited renowned physical theatre practitioners and dramaturgs: Mr. Pichet Klunchun (Thailand), Dr. Lim How Ngean (Malaysia) and Ms. Eisa Jocson(Philippines).

Dr. Paul Alexander Rae (University of Melbourne) and Dr. Kathy Foley (University of California Santa Cruz) will facilitate the new scholars sessions. Learn more about IFTR-Asia 2018


Abstract submissions on the following subthemes are welcome:

  • The Spectacularization of the Body in Asia 
    • What does it mean when we think of the acrobatics in China, the thaipusam devotees in Malaysia and Singapore, ta’ziyeh devotees in the Middle East, the magdarame or self-flagellants in the Philippines as actors/performers? What is the implication of associating Asian rituals involving bodily spectacles or self-inflicted pains as theatre and performance?
  • Performing Queer Asian Bodies
    • What does it mean to be an Asian Queer vis-à-vis theatre and performance? What is the relationship of the queer and body in Asian performances?
  • Performing Displaced Bodies
    • Issues on representing the Asian immigrant / emigrant in theatre and performance. What is the implication of being Asian in Euro-American theatre?)
  • Gendered Bodies
    • What are the representation and ideologies of the masculine and feminine bodies in Asian Theatre and Performance? What does it mean when the masculine body is performed by a female body or vice versa?
  • Asian Bodies Recuperated 
    • Many theorizations in theatre, performance and cultural studies took inspiration from performing bodies of Asians, issues and implications of such theories in general critical thinking
  • Disembodiments
    • What does it mean when a body is treated as a formless creature in Asian societies?)
  • The Body as Medium 
    • When the body is treated as a medium in theatre and performance, what does it mediate?)
  • Asian Corporeality and/in Choreography
    • Body-centered performance practices in Asia also provide a vital site for exploring the convergence of thought and action
  • The Asian Body as Method
    • Exploring the possibility of the body – the Asian body – in performance as a starting point of philosophizing and intellectualizing


Before submitting your abstract, please note the following:

  1. Please make sure your abstract is related to the major theme Bodies in/and Asian Theatres or one of the sub-themes (see above) of IFTR-Asia 2018.
  2. Please limit your abstract to not more than 300 words. Otherwise, the system will not accept your submission.
  3. Please submit a short bionote of not more than 150 words.
  4. You will receive a confirmation email from the conference conveners as soon as your submission is received.
  5. Submission of abstracts will end on 15 September 2017.
  6. Announcement of successful submissions shall start on 2 October 2017.


Registration fees may be viewed at the conference website. Procedures and instructions on registration will be made available at a later date.


Founded in 1957, IFTR is the oldest and one of the most prestigious federations of performance practitioners and scholars. Its members are from different disciplines in the humanities and the social sciences interested on the study of theatre and performance vis-à-vis culture and society. As a federation, it boasts a membership coming from more than 60 countries. Learn more about the IFTR.


Visit the conference website to learn about the programs, accommodations, etc.  For inquiries, please email or the conveners Sir Anril P. Tiatco at

Posted: August 25, 2017 9:36