Rationale and context

We suggest that genuinely innovative theatre and academic debate have the potential to model change, thoughtfulness, and even a new democracy within our wider political culture. The authority of drama is vested in a plurality of competing voices; the spirit of free enquiry in universities depends on the same thing. 

The Radical Mischief conference invites participants to address the most important issues of our time in an open and exciting, inter-disciplinary and sector-crossing conversation. 

From the financial crash to war in the Middle East; from dizzying technological progress to terrorism across the globe; from popular nationalism to fundamental questions about the value of both art and education: we live in a bewilderingly changing world. By bringing together the resources of the theatre and the University, this conference will explore new ways in which we can work together not only to define but also to respond to its many challenges. 

In the spirit of the new democracy we seek to promote, this event will experiment with the traditional conference form, in order to facilitate and maximise conferring. There will be no uninterrupted, pre-written papers.  Instead, there will be two provocative plenary conversations, between high-profile figures with challenging views, intended to inspire open debate.  The conference will then curate a series of focused conversations in different formats, including active participation and open space technology, led by artists, scholars and conference participants.  

One aim of these conversations will be to actively expose and interrogate the presuppositions and prejudices of established academic and theatrical consensus. Our other central aim is to move swiftly to practical projects and strategies for engaged thinking, learning and theatre-making in changed circumstances.  The conference will close with an attempt to co-formulate a number of provisional ways forward, which will be published on The Other Place website.