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Theatre Noise An international conference

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The Central School of Speech and Drama

University of London

Theatre Noise An international conference

Wednesday 22 - Friday 24 April 2009

Keynote presenters include:
Professor Heiner Goebbels (composer and director, managing director of the Institute for Applied Theatre Studies, Justus Liebig University, Giessen) John Collins (artistic director of the New York-based theatre company Elevator Repair Service, formerly sound designer with The Wooster Group) Theatre Noise describes the acoustic environments and auditory phenomena of theatre and performance. It is concerned, then, with that which is heard. It addresses sound design and ‘undesigned’ noises, music for performance and performance that is both ‘musical’ and ‘unmusical’, voice production and vocal utterance (speaking, shouting, singing, muttering). It proposes that theatre is that which is heard as well as that which is watched – that the theatron is a listening place as well as a seeing place.

Theatre Noise considers aurality. It asks how hearing and listening shape our experience and perception of an event. It concentrates on theatre as a subjective perceptual encounter. It addresses ways in which the noise of theatre works on our senses, and how it positions us within a visceral sphere of acoustic energy.

Theatre Noise is also interested in the inherent noise of the materials of theatre and performance: the rasping of its voices, the sounds in its environment, the interfering consciousness of ‘aural’ corporeal presence within the noisy arena of theatre as a place.

While it proposes a characteristically aural model, Theatre Noise is not confined to the auditory. It describes any atmospheric or environmental distraction, any attention-grabbing dissonance, flaw or mistake, whether sensory or imagined. It might concern any piece of residue or interference that negatively defines theatre.

The conference features examples of innovative performance practices that work in and through sound, music, voice and noise. It explores, through keynotes and paper presentations, developments in thinking and practice in sound design; music; the voice; the notion and presence of noise – all with a bearing on theatre and performance. It develops ideas and principles by way of a series of workshops. Round tables address key issues in the field. Theatre Noise also features a playback room that includes compositions and other aural contributions.

Proposals are invited that address the themes of the conference. The precise meaning of the terms ‘Theatre’ and ‘Noise’ is open to interpretation by contributors. Contributions may, for example, address areas such as:

The noise theatre of the auditory environment
Acoustic ecology
The musicality of theatre
Non-linguistic voice
Sonic arrangements and/or imperfections that help create meaning
Aural encounters that constitute ‘place’
Noise as ‘other’ – the chaotic dark material that negatively defines music, theatre, art, sound design

Proposals are invited for the following (please specify):
20-minute paper presentation
1-hour or 2-hour workshop
3-day practitioner-residency with a work-in-progress outcome
Round table
Contribution to the playback room
Proposals should be 300 words in length, with a 150-word biography of the key presenter(s). Proposals should be submitted to the conference organisers at noise@cssd.ac.uk by 5 December 2008.


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