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Welcome to [six!]

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Consortium of [six!] - CALL FOR PARTICIPANTS 

Summer School Workshop, Theaterwissenschaftliche Sammlung (TWS), University of Cologne,

3-8 September 2023

What is [six!]?

[six!] is a consortium of six leading institutions that offer higher degrees in theatre and performance: Jawaharlal Nehru University (India), Northwestern University (USA), Pontificia Universidad Católica de Chile (Santiago), University of Cologne (Germany), University of Ghana (Accra), and Tel Aviv University (Israel). [six!] fosters collaboration and cooperation for advanced non-credit study, networking, and research. [six!] continues the tradition of [sic!], the annual summer school project of the University of Cologne and Northwestern University, that took place from 2013-2019. During 2020-21, [six!] held online seminars that culminated in students curating a virtual global theatre festival.

In 2022-23, [six!] conducted two seminar themes—“(Un)translatability in Performance” and “Critical Media History and Performance”—in a series of online workshops open to graduate students of the participating institutions. This is taken forward in an in-person meeting at the University of Cologne’s Theaterwissenschaftliche Sammlung (TWS), one of Europe’s largest theatre archives, in the Schloss Wahn, 3-8 September 2023.


Eligibility for University of Cologne students

Any enrolled Master or PhD (provisional or PhD candidate) student at the University of Cologne.


Interested students should choose one of the seminar themes and submit a Statement of Purpose (maximum 600 words). The SOP need to explain your interest in the seminar theme, how the research questions in the theme are relevant for your own research project, and what you would gain from attending the workshop.

Kindly send the SOP applications to the following email: marxp[at]
If you have any further questions, don’t hestitate to contact Professor Peter W. Marx (email above)


[Seminar Themes]

I. (Un)translatability in Performance

Asiedu Mana Awo, Bishnupriya Dutt, Ekua Ekumah, Milena Grass, Andrés Kalawski, Andrea Pelegrí Kristić

As a site for cultural exchange, translation has played a significant role in Eastern and Western theatre traditions. Plays have circulated and been translated beyond national confines, and theatrical practices have travelled and settled far from their original contexts. Nonetheless, something is always lost when one play or performance practice leaves its source culture, and that “something” is, by definition, untranslatable. More often than not, seemingly untranslatable words and expressions can somehow find other ways to be transferred into the target language through actions or other elements from the stage. But gestures, facial expressions, or even psycho-physical behavior from specific cultural contexts cannot always find target-culture “equivalents” or versions without stripping them from their meaning. How can we deal ethically and aesthetically with these untranslatability issues when translating/importing texts and performance practices are intrinsically different from ours? How does the negotiation process between what is translatable or not affect a performance’s success or failure in local and international contexts? Does the practice of translation in theatre reproduce or destabilize longstanding hierarchies and hegemonies between languages and national artistic practices?

Despite the ubiquity of performance/theatre translation as well as the (un)translatability issues inherent to every transcultural exchange, there has been little interest from Translation Studies and Performance and Theatre Studies in inquiring about how performers, translators, directors, and artists actually come up with solutions for these transcultural issues, beyond specific case studies or performances. As an intersemiotic practice, productions stemming from foreign plays, sometimes distant in time and place to their original context in the source culture, resort to various strategies to achieve linguistic and cultural translatability. Thanks to the transcultural nature of the Consortium of Universities, we aim at searching into these possibilities during the Summer Institute hosted by the University of Cologne in September 2023. During that week, participants will be invited to explore theatre translation and untranslatability issues when various embodied languages meet on stage, working on translated canonical texts from different cultural backgrounds as well as traditions.


II. Critical Media History and Performance

Sharon Aronson-Lehavi, Ruthie Abeliovich, Tracy C. Davis, Peter W. Marx

Taking forward the central arguments put forward in the ‘Introduction’ to the Routledge Companion to Theatre and Performance History, the workshop on Critical Media History and Performance will attempt to resituate the position of theatre/performance by reconceptualising it through the lens of Critical Media History. With the rise of the discipline of Performance Studies, there has been intense discussion around definitions of theatre and performance, their intertwined relationship, as well as critical distinctions and boundaries. Rather than following these tendencies, the workshop will rethink these distinctions posited in the last five decades and the reasons for their historical valence. As Critical Media History, the workshop will explore the place of theatre/performance within a mix of a wider array of media and the historical experiences of and shaped through such encounters, without following the teleology of technological advancement or singular authentic experience. This prompts us to investigate alternative methodologies that move away from instituting singular definitions of theatre and performance. Instead, close attention is paid to theatre/performance ‘media ecologies’: the modes of presentation, economies, and institutionalisation processes fundamental to the formation, transmission, and syncretism of cultures.

The transnational and transcultural context of [six!] workshops will enable us to look at the complex pluralities of historical experiences engendered by theatre/performance. How does theatre/performance history as Critical Media History allow one to problematise and reorient significant and canonical events, movements and practices, and established periodisation within normative histories? Rather than conceptualising theatre/performance as simply ephemeral, how does the study of repertoire, tropes, narratives, etc. offer a history of both short-lived, but momentous as well as lasting theatre/performance phenomena? How might paying attention to materiality, localisation, the unstable and fragmentary nature of evidence, as well as the stress on micro-practices and zooming in and out of different scales that are of vital importance for theatre/performance practices change histories? What kinds of research models and methods can be developed based on theatre/performance historiography? Through the readings, discussion, and exercises that bring into dialogue practices from diverse geographies and times, the workshop will conceptualise a polyphonic perspective to theatre/performance history.