CfP: Routledge Companion to Performance and Science

 CFP Routledge Companion to Performance and Science

Editors: Paul Johnson, Simon Parry and Adele Senior

Deadline for Abstracts 29/1/2022

We invite proposals for The Routledge Companion to Performance and Science. 


This extensive volume aims to capture the growing international interest in the intersections between performance and science, both as a body of knowledge and a set of practices. The focus is both on contemporary practice and on the long and varied histories that mark the relationship between performance and science. The collection will chart a wide range of theoretical approaches, as well as both new and well-established attitudes towards science, scientific methods, and scientific knowledge. We welcome a range of perspectives including, but not limited to, postcolonial, decolonial, posthumanist, feminist, queer and eco-critical approaches to the study and practice of performance and science. The definition of ‘practice’ is manifold, including diverse drama, theatre, dance, music, and other performance practices; science communication and interpretation; scientific approaches to performance (such as dance science, performance psychology, or voice science); and the processes for generating and disseminating scientific knowledge. We are interested in receiving chapter contributions (max. 7000 words) from within and outside the academy, including shorter practitioner texts (max. 2000 words) that offer narrative or reflective accounts of case studies of practice.

The collection asks:

· How can scientific knowledges be interrogated by performance practices?

· What are the ways in which performance can explore the human implications of scientific developments?

· How can scientific practices be understood through performance theories?

· How does performance negotiate representations of scientists or scientific practices and ideas?

The questions raised by the Companion to Performance and Science become more urgent as we move through the 21st century, resonating with the immediate challenges of climate change, energy and water security, data science, genetic engineering, pandemics and so on. Such challenges are culturally, historically, and politically situated and we invite contributions from across the world that reflect local, national, international and/or global perspectives. By exploring past, current, and future relationships between performance and science, the collection will offer timely ways of understanding, interrogating, and communicating the implications of the choices that we make for humanity and the planet. We are seeking contributions to the following sections:


1.       Histories of science and performance

This opening section will offer a series of historical and international perspectives on various links between science and performance, illustrating some of the ways that scientific developments have shaped performance and vice versa. Chapters may specifically set out to redress partial and hegemonic historical accounts of science and performance. This might include (but is not limited to):

·         analysis of significant works of performance and their relationships with the science of the time;

·         transhistorical research that traces genealogies of particular scientific concepts;

·         anti-racist, decolonial and feminist histories or historiographies of science and performance.



2.       Disciplined Performance

This section will focus on a range of scientific disciplinary fields addressing their manifestations through theatre and/or performance and their influence on theatre and performance studies. Chapters in this section will provide a guide to key works that engage with scientific disciplines. We welcome contributions that consider how contemporary theatre and performance has engaged with:

·         quantum physics, astronomy, bioscience, medical science, physiology, chemistry, engineering, psychology, cognitive science, earth sciences, material sciences, mathematics, epidemiology, zoology, ecology, climate science, human geography, computer science and so on;

·         interdisciplinary fields that cut across more established disciplines like animal studies, critical plant studies, health humanities, artificial intelligence.



3.       Performance Cultures and Science

This section will chart the wide range of performance forms that have been inspired by science and explore how such forms constitute distinct aesthetics of science.  This could include chapters on:

·         Musical theatre, documentary or verbatim theatre, hip hop performance, dance, popular performance, performance/live art, bioart, digital performance, applied theatre, museum theatre, carnival and comedy;

·         Aesthetics of the science demonstration or public lecture;

·         A particular performer, artist, scientist or company associated with any of the forms listed above;

·         institutional, local, national or international contexts for the production of science in/through performance e.g. festivals, programmes or venues.



4.        The Sciences of Performance

This section will outline the ways in which scientific approaches have been applied to performance, focusing on the (cultural, aesthetic, social, political, ethical, technical/technological) implications of thinking scientifically about training, making, and experiencing performance. This might include:

·         approaches from dance science, voice science, performance psychology;

·         scientific approaches to performance from theatre architects or engineers;

·         sciences of performance/performer training;

·         performance and health;

·         scientific approaches to audience research (e.g. neuroscience, cognitive science).




5.       Science, Performance and Communication

This section will explore the way that theatre and performance might offer alternative or productive ways of understanding and/or communicating science. Authors in this section may come from a wide range of disciplines including scientific and social science domains.

This might include:

·         the use of theatrical metaphors in the philosophy of science, science and technology studies (STS), or the application of concepts such as choreography in sociology of science;

·         the role of performance in the mediatisation of science;

·         the performance of science in a post-truth context; performance, science and misinformation;

·         Amateur/DIY/citizen science in or as performance and the popularisation or democratisation of science;

·         Performance in/of science education; performance and public understanding or public engagement with science;

·         Performance, science and activism/social movements.



We are particularly keen to receive submissions for all sections from research students, early career researchers, and black and global majority heritage scholars. We also welcome contributions from practitioners from the wider arts scene, science, science communication or other fields.

Please submit an abstract of up to 500 words and a brief bio of 200 words, indicating which section your proposed contribution aligns with and the intended length of your piece (see below), by Friday 29 January 2022 to

First draft submissions: 1 June 2022

We would expect draft submissions to be either in the form of research chapters (max. 7000 words) or practitioner texts (max. 2000 words). Please contact us if you would like to propose a contribution in a different format.

Publication date: December 2023