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Howard Barkerís Art of the Theatre Conference     

Howard Barkerís Art of the Theatre Conference Howard Barker is widely acknowledged as a major British dramatist (who has now had staged, broadcast or published over a hundred plays), director, theorist, scenographer and visual artist. In recent years, his reputation has extended to a position of international eminence.

Our principal objective is to bring together as many Barker scholars and practitioners as possible from their different countries, to explore and analyse the full range of his remarkable body of work.

Barker’s own theatre company, The Wrestling School, is now in its third decade, and has increased its annual work from one production a year to two, continuing to explore and present innovative work, uncompromisingly. It is a timely juncture to review Barker’s art of the theatre and both widen and intensify scholarly attention to the unique expanse of his work in the context of international theatre, at Aberystwyth University (where Barker is Honorary Professor, and where there has been an unparalleled tradition of student and professional productions of Barker’s work over the last 23 years). The conference will include a rehearsed reading of Barker’s play A Wounded Knife, unperformed outside of Denmark, and an exhibition of his paintings.

This conference will form an important part of an internationally co-ordinated initiative to prompt the reassessment of Barker as a world dramatist of unique importance. 2009 will see a production of a particularly ambitious work written and directed by Barker for The Wrestling School, Found in the Ground, in London, September-October; this will lead in to the 21 for 21 initiative co-ordinated by Sarah Goldingay, Director of the Howard Barker Research Fund and Exeter University, which involves the staging of 21 productions of Barker works simultaneously and internationally on 21 October 2009. The Aberystwyth conference represents a crucially important summit of academics and practitioners involved in the facets of this orchestrated focus of enquiry spanning many months and countries.

Confirmed Keynote Speakers are as follows:

* Howard Barker - 'The Sunless Garden of the Unconsoled: Some Destinations Beyond Catastrophe'
* Prof Elizabeth Angel-Perez (University of Paris-Sorbonne, Paris IV, editor of Howard Barker et le Theatre de la Catastrophe and translator of Barker’s essays): ‘Reinventing Grand Narratives: Barker’s Challenge to Postmodernism’
* Dr Charles Lamb (University of Winchester, author of The Theatre of Howard Barker): ‘Barker’s Pictorial Landscapes’

Bookings for this conference are now open at:

Should you have any queries about the conference, please contact either Professor David Ian Rabey ( or Dr Karoline Gritzner (
web site

Tuesday, July 7, 2009back



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