Inclusive theatre-making: translation, accessibility and beyond

Special issue of inTRAlinea. Guest edited by Elena Di Giovanni and Francesca Raffi

This special issue wishes to gather theoretical, methodological and empirical reflections on the notion of inclusive theatre-making, with ample space for interlingual, intralingual and intersemiotic translation to be discussed from an interdisciplinary perspective. Collaborative papers bringing together different standpoints and competencies are encouraged.

Since the rise of media accessibility studies within audiovisual translation, early into this new millennium, a constant growth of interdisciplinary projects and publications has been recorded, bearing witness to the relevance and potential of such a new research avenue. Many of these publications have focused on the audience(s) of accessible media and highlighted an all-important shift from accessibility for the sensory impaired to accessibility for all.
Theatre translation and accessibility have so far been the object of rather unsystematic research, generally limited to case studies and practice reports. Yet theatre, taken here to include all forms of live performance, is often referred to as been the cradle of accessibility for the sensory impaired (Tolan, 2001). It has welcomed experimental projects and, in many countries, it has anticipated cinema and other media into making access services a stable asset. Differently from other media, studies on theatre require true interdisciplinary competences even if they aim to remain generic: basic notions related to staging a show or an opera, as well as knowledge of the text and its origins, are essential when aiming to approach a theatrical performance from any scientific standpoint.
In recent years, two interesting trends in audiovisual translation and media accessibility research have emerged, in conjunction with the notions of accessible filmmaking and inclusion. As Pablo Romero states (2019), accessible filmmaking aims to raise awareness with film directors and distributors about the need for a film to be conceived of as accessible from the very onset. A film that is produced encompassing translation into multiple languages, audio description, intralingual captions and other such elements is bound to appeal to ever-larger audiences. The practice of accessible filmmaking also brings with itself the wish for an increasingly widespread awareness, on the part of film creators, distributors but also audiences, of the needs of diverse people and their right to inclusion. And it is precisely the notion of inclusion that has been coming to the fore in recent years: inspired by real-life experiences (Di Giovanni, 2018) or philosophical reasoning (Greco, 2019), a few researchers have been promoting a shift from the very notion of accessibility towards a more universal, inclusive conceptual framework, aiming to see all –creators, distributors and audiences – not just as equal consumers but also as active creators of all-accessible texts.
The notion of inclusive theatre-making moves precisely from these ideas and aims to stimulate interdisciplinary research which can lead to new theories, new methodologies and most importantly new practices.
A position paper providing a definition and discussion of the concept of accessible theatre-making will precede all the others.

Contributions can cover the following topics:
• Designing and staging inclusive performances: from theory to practice
• The turn towards diversity: disabled theatre, cultural policy and the translator
• Inclusive design at the service of theatre-making
• Theatre translation as an inclusive strategy
• Theatre and the public sphere
• Bridging the gap between operas and audiences through inclusion
• A bottom-up approach to inclusive theatre-making: designing principles from practice
• The political aesthetic of disabled embodiment
• From end users to producers: persons with sensory impairments and their changing role in inclusive theatre-making
• The role of technologies in enhancing inclusive theatre-making
• Inclusive theatre-making within the framework of human rights.

Please submit a 300 word abstract in English (references included) with a set of  keywords (in English) and a short biosketch of the author(s) by 30 April, 2021. Please send submissions as a Word document to and Notification of acceptance/rejection will be sent to authors via email by 20 May, 2021.

When an abstract is accepted, the full article should be submitted before 30 December, 2021. The final article length should be between 5,500 and 7,000 words, including footnotes and references.

Guidelines for authors:
Stylesheet here.
Citation Style Language (CSL) stylesheet here.

Important dates:
• Deadline for abstracts: 30 April, 2021
• Notification of acceptance of the abstract: 20 May, 2021
• Deadline for submission of full papers: 30 December, 2021
• Reviewers’ report: 30 January, 2021
• Final revised papers due: 15 March 2022
• Expected publication date: Spring 2022

Posted by The Editors on 24th Jan 2021
in Call for Papers

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