Things Unspeakable: Theatre after 1945. An international, interdisciplinary conference on theatre and human rights. 7-9 October 2011

Friday 7 October 2011, 1.00PM

What have theatre and performance brought to our understanding of the unspeakable? To what degree has the realm of the unspeakable gained new currency within established and emerging trends in theatre? What is the relation between enshrined understandings of the unspeakable and the resurgence of plays and performances about torture, war and genocide?

This three-day conference gathers artistic practitioners and academic researchers engaged in reflection upon these questions and in the creation of new approaches to theatre, performance and human rights. The conference features 11 keynote speakers, a platform conversation between Albie Sachs and David Edgar on The Jail Diary of Albie Sachs, a performance of Asylum Monologues by theatre company Ice and Fire, and presentations on theatre and torture; theatre and censorship; discourses of the unspeakable; theatres of the body and silence; theatre, law and the unspeakable; theatres of witness, war and genocide; contemporary political theatre; theatre after 9/11.

A programme summary can be found here:

Participants and speakers include:

  • Ice and Fire Theatre Company (Ice and Fire’s performance of Asylum Monologues is a public event, and tickets for the performance are free. To reserve a seat, please refer to the indications given below)
  • Professor Cathy Caruth, Emory University
  • Professor Catherine Cole, Berkeley
  • David Edgar, playwright
  • Professor Erik Ehn, Brown
  • Dr Mark Fleishman, University of Cape Town
  • Dr Carol Martin, New York University
  • Nighat Rizvi, actress and activist, Pakistan
  • Rt Hon. Albie Sachs, South Africa
  • Professor Carole-Anne Upton, editor of Performing Ethos, University of Ulster 

Conference Directors: 


Professor Mary Luckhurst, Department of Theatre, Film and Television, University of York, UK

Dr Emilie Morin, Department of English and Related Literature, University of York, UK 

Conference Administrators:


Ollie Jones, Department of Theatre, Film and Television, University of York

Virginia Hatton, Department of Theatre, Film and Television, University of York

Directions to the conference location on the Heslington East campus can be found here.

Conference fee: £70 (single rate). The conference fee includes attendance at the conference and at the conference wine reception on Friday as well as tea and coffee, refreshments and sandwich lunches on Saturday and Sunday. Delegates do not need to book a separate ticket for Ice and Fire’s performance of Asylum Monologues.

Single day fee: £50.

Accommodation can be booked through Visit York. Or by contacting Rob Stuckey at +44 (0)1904 554653

Registration for the conference is now closed.

Location: Department of Theatre, Film and Television, University of York

Admission: See above.

Email: thingsunspeakable@gmail.com