TJ will publish two open and two special issues in 2017. The Call for Papers for the two special issues can be found below.

Call for Papers for the Special Issue for September 2017: Theatre and the Museum/Cultures of Display

Histories of presentation and representation naturally align theatres and museums as cultural spaces of display. As museum studies continues to grow as a discipline, these ongoing connections between theatre and museums continue to demand further investigation. From Barbara Kirshenblatt-Gimblett’s early work around “agencies of display” to more recent considerations of living history and performance in museums by a number of scholars, the museum as a theatricalized space and the performances of display raise fundamental questions about changing social notions of “what matters.” As Susan Bennett says in her 2013 Theatre & Museums, “it is surely time to think about theatre and museums together since so many others do: cultural policy makers, urban and regional planners, arts and other marketing agencies, and of course, visitors” (77).

For this special issue essays might explore intersections between museums and theatre that raise further questions about what notions of display tell us about history and culture. From archives and repertoires to objects, performance, and audiences, considerations of museum and theatre spaces employ similar vocabularies. What similarities and difference in the choice and selection of objects and modes of display exist between theatres and museums?  How do histories of private and public ownership—from private collections and cabinets to curiosity to ideas of public buildings and the “public good” to virtual museums reflect on understandings of theatrical practices? How do issues of curatorial practices, changing taxonomic methods, and value theory play across theatres and museums? What do the rise of experiential display and immersive practices share in common? How do issues of gender, race, and culture inflect the intersections of theatres and museums?

This special issue will be edited by Theatre Journal co-editor Jennifer Parker-Starbuck. Submissions (6000-9000 words) should be e-mailed to managing editor Bob Kowkabany ( no later than 5 January 2017.

Call for Papers for a Special Issue for December 2017: Theatre, Performance and Visual Images

The act of seeing remains powerful in discourses of theatre and performance but how images assist in creating, recording, and describing performance continues to be contested. This special issue explores the use—and potential misuse—of images in contemporary theatre practice and in historiographic analysis. Visuality in performance is supported and challenged by the permeability of theatre’s borders, when other forms of visual literacy (cinema, art, pop culture, etc) increasingly intersect with performance, as David Román noted in a special issue of Theatre Journal on Theatre and Visual Culture in 2001. Since then, the prevalence of digitisation has further broadened the visual spectrum underpinning performance.

Maaike Bleeker’s Visuality in the Theatre recalibrates the role of visuality in a process of de-theatricalization, using, among other theorists, Hans-Thies Lehmann and his account of the visual in postdramatic theatre. From a different perspective, Dominic Johnson argues in Theatre & the Visual that “[t]he visible elements of a theatrical production are … ghosted by ideas, identities, and histories that may evade full representation” (6). Theatre historians have long explored the ghosts that lurk behind visual traces of performance from the past. This issue concentrates on what visual images do, what they tell us, and how they might cut across what we ‘see.’ How do images communicate in contemporary performance? How do we evaluate visual evidence, particularly when that evidence is often fragmentary or partial? How do we investigate attempts to evade representation? How does the iconography of theatre imagery affect the discipline? How does the dominance of the tablet/screen world intersect with performance? How does visualisation and/or digitisation affect the visual experience of performance?

This special issue will be edited by Theatre Journal editor Joanne Tompkins. Submissions (6000-9000 words) should be e-mailed to managing editor Bob Kowkabany ( no later than 28 February 2017.

Submissions are always welcome for the journal’s general issues.


1.     How often can I publish an essay in Theatre Journal?

An author may be published in the journal no more frequently than once every two years.

2.     Can I have an essay published in Theatre Topics in the same year as Theatre Journal?

While the two journals are independent, it is best to space submissions to them so that essays by the same person are not appearing in the two journals at the same time.

3.     If my essay is rejected by Theatre Journal when can I try to submit another essay to Theatre Journal?

An author must wait a year before submitting a subsequent essay to Theatre Journal.

4.     My essay is about a single production. Will this affect its chances of being accepted?

Yes: Theatre Journal tends not to publish essays on a single play or production. Exceptions are occasionally made when essays explore a very broad and well-contextualized understanding of a moment or an aspect of performance or when the assessment of a single production is a springboard to a larger argument.

5.     My essay is about a single play. It is a deep and thorough reading of that play. Would Theatre Journal be interested in that?

As with the answer to the question above, Theatre Journal tends not to publish essays on a single play unless they use that exploration to reinterpret the play or the author’s oeuvre, etc. Such an essay would need to demonstrate a very thorough knowledge of the ways in which the play has been read to that point.

6.     My essay doesn’t deal very much with theatricality or performance. Will this be a problem?

Theatre Journal is interested in performance aspects first and foremost so it is very important that essays engage with theatricality.

7.     My essay is very historically focused. Is it true that Theatre Journal privileges contemporary work?

Theatre Journal publishes the best essays relating to theatre and performance, regardless of era. Historical essays that are not accepted may deal with a specific moment in time without any indication of how that moment matters to a broad theatre readership.

8.     Do I need to send in an abstract to get the editors’ approval before submitting an essay?

No, please do not submit an abstract: we prefer to read the full essay and make an assessment on that basis. If your essay is accepted, we will ask for an abstract then.

9.     How many images can I expect to include in an accepted essay?

We can publish roughly five images per essay, but images are not essential. We urge authors to include only high quality images that contribute to the essay’s argument.

In some instances, depending on the topic, more images may be necessary and we deal with such matters on a case by case basis. The online platform can support images that are not able to be included in the print version. This platform can also support other forms of illustration/supporting material. Any images there are in color, while images in the print version are black and white.

As ever, it is the author’s responsibility to secure the high-quality images, the permissions, and to pay any cost for them.

10.  How many images can I expect to include in an accepted performance review?

There is a maximum of two images per performance review, unless the review covers a festival.

As with essays, it may be possible for additional images to be uploaded to the online platform.

11.  How often can I write a performance/book review?

An author can contribute one performance review and one book review per calendar year.

12.  How often do the roles of co-editor, editor, and book/performance review editors turn over?

The Co-Editor has a two year term, followed by two years as Editor (four years total). The Book and Performance Reviews Editors have three year terms. Calls for applications for these positions appear through ATHE approximately 6 months before the previous terms expire.

13.  What is the function of the online platform?

The online platform extends the print journal and provides a space for supplementary material that can’t be contained between the print covers (charts, extra illustrations, video clips, podcasts, etc). It is also a location for the Editors to communicate with readers about news from the team and from the field.

14.  Can I propose to edit or co-edit a special issue of Theatre Journal?

While Theatre Journal has two special issues per year, the Co-Editor and Editor edit these. The journal doesn’t normally bring on guest editors. If you have a topic that you feel the journal should consider, please speak to one of the editors. 

15.  How can I have my say?

There will soon be an opportunity to have your say on the online platform. In the meantime, please speak to one of the editors either at a conference or via email:

Joanne Tompkins:

Jennifer Parker-Starbuck: