School of the Arts, English and Drama

Staff research

Bodily Scenography: The body in 20th-century stage design

Friday 26 January 2018, Loughborough University, UK

This one-day symposium will explore the interplay between stage design and the role and significance of the body. It aims to examine the portrayals and meanings of the body, the ways in which it is performed, and the relationships it builds with other bodies, as crafted through 20th-century scenography, focusing particularly on costume and set design. 

**Booking open NOW until 19 Jan 2018**

The way in which the body of the performer is dressed, as well as the setting (s)he is placed in, speaks volumes about the nature of that body and the identity it conveys to the audience. This is further affected by the other bodies that (s)he comes into contact with during the performance, including that of the audience. This embodied process helps create a more fluid, unfixed approach to bodily identity. Here, we seek to tease out this process in order to explore the impact of 20th-century scenography on how we engage with the body and issues of identity.

Some of the core questions we aim to address include:

  • How is the performer’s body affected by the design of their costume and/or the performance space?
  • How can scenography develop relationships between the bodies of the performers and those of the audience?
  • How might particular issues / concepts regarding the body and/or identity (such as gender, race, class, etc.) be conveyed through costume and set design?
  • What strategies might be used to portray the post-human (hybrid / ambiguous / cyborg) body in performance?
  • In cases where artists double as scenographers, do the bodies they create on stage replicate the bodies they depict in their other work, and what is this impact of this?

Papers are invited for presentation at the conference and may address topics including but not limited to:

  • Costume design which alters / destabilises bodily norms
  • The inter-relationship of the performers’ and audiences’ bodies
  • The body as scenographer
  • The use of technology, puppetry, sound, lighting, or other devices to augment or create bodies on stage
  • Scenographers’ subversive approaches towards to the body, especially women, non-white, and/or non-‘Western’ scenographers and designers
  • Conveying undefined, ambiguous, or changing bodies
  • The use of the body as a symbol

A core aim of this symposium is to help establish a network of academics, professionals, and practitioners united by an interest in scenography and the body.

Please send abstracts of 200-300 words for 20-minute papers and a short CV to by Monday 19 December 2016.

Venue: Martin Hall seminar room, Loughborough University, Epinal Way, Loughborough, LE11 3TU. For a campus map click here.

Travelling by train: Loughborough is approximately a 90-minute train journey from London, an hour from Birmingham, or two hours from Manchester or Leeds. Direct trains to Loughborough depart from London St Pancras, Nottingham, Derby, Sheffield, and York. A shuttle bus service from Loughborough rail station to the university runs throughout the year and departs up to every 10 minutes.

Travelling by air: The nearest airport is East Midlands. The yellow Skylink bus service from the airport to Leicester goes right through the centre of Loughborough. Buses depart every 20-30 minutes during the day from stand D outside the airport arrivals hall.

Travelling by car: Loughborough University is two miles from junction 23 on the M1. The University is clearly signposted on all other main routes. Car parking on campus can be difficult so you may wish to leave your car at your hotel or the station and get public transport to campus.

Accommodation at Loughborough University

Burleigh Court

Accommodation in the town

The Link

Premier Inn


Forest Rise

**Other hotels are available, including links to these hotels does not constitute an endorsement on the part of the organisers

Booking for the conference opens on Monday 16 January 2017 and will close at noon on Friday 19 January 2018

Standard rate £25.00

The delegate rate includes all food and refreshments

Book your place at the event via our online store






The programme for the symposium is available now - Bodily Scenography Programme