Stage the Future 2: The Second International Conference on Science Fiction Theatre

A black background with the words “Stage The Future,” in 3D font. A cute, children’s book-esque depiction of a silver robot holding a skull is reclining atop the word “Future.”

Sponsored by ASU’s Center for Science and the Imagination and the Herberger Institute for Design and the Arts

Call for papers: submissions due by January 15, 2015 to stagethefuture@gmail.com – see below for submission guidelines

Following a successful first conference in the UK, Stage the Future 2 invites abstract submissions for the second annual international science fiction theatre conference to be hosted at Arizona State University on March 6-7, 2015. We welcome papers, panels, and performances that examine and explore the unique attributes live performance offers to science fiction and those that science fiction offers to live performance.

Science fiction theatre has been steadily emerging and growing into a diverse and global community of artists – from the Science Fiction Theatre Company of Boston, Gideon Productions, OtherWorld and the Vampire Cowboys Theatre in the US to Superbolt, WholeHog, and Stars or Mars in the UK, as well as the annual Sci-Fest theatre festival in Los Angeles – who recognize that the stage has singular qualities, different from literature and film, for engaging the technical and scientific advancements of our modern age.

The stage can offer wholly unique and original experiences of science fiction that move beyond the boundaries of other mediums. As Susan Sontag has suggested, science fiction literature and film are frequently viewed as two halves of a binary, wherein novels are structured around the intellectual intricacies of hard science, while film provides the viewer with the sensory experience of “science.” Theatre, however, is a platform for both intellectual and sensual elaborations that can transcend such binaries. In this spirit, we call for artists, scholars, critics, and scientists to share ideas on how science fiction theatre may better explore the complexities and contradictions of contemporary scientific practice, particularly in the context of STEM education, sustainable innovation, gender and racial equality, and rational engagement with religion and experiences of the metaphysical.

In addition to traditional notions of theatre, we welcome diverse views on not just what is considered science fiction, but also what can be considered theatrical engagement with science fiction. Dancers, digital and social media artists, and musicians are equally encouraged to present material that engages science fiction themes for live audiences that are either physically or tele-present.

The conference welcomes proposals for presentations, roundtables and performances from any discipline and theoretical perspective. Please send a title and a 300 word abstract (as a Word document) for a 20 minute paper or a performance, along with your name, affiliation, and 100 word biography, to stagethefuture@gmail.com by January 15, 2015.

Topics might include but are not limited to:

–Future and alternate histories
–Utopias, dystopias, political SF theatre
–Non-human and post-human characters
–Steampunk, cyberpunk, and other -punks on stage
–Space opera and science fiction opera
–Apocalypse and post-apocalyptic societies
–Genetic engineering, cyborgs, clones, A.I.
–Ecological science fiction
–Science fiction and dance
–Menippean satire
–Planetary romance
–Adapting science fiction
–Contemporary fantasy and horror theatres

Papers presented at the conference will be considered for publication.

The conference is organized by: Christos Callow, PhD candidate, Birkbeck, University of London; Susan Gray, PhD candidate, Royal Holloway, University of London; Boyd Branch, Visiting Assistant Professor, Arizona State University; Carol Stewart, PhD candidate and Instructor, Bellarmine University; Lance Gharavi, Associate Professor, Arizona State University; and Carrie J. Cole, Assistant Professor, Indiana University of Pennsylvania.