Scenic bios, the agency of Acting and Storytelling in Physical Theatre.


23/04/2021 - 24/04/2021    
All Day

Scenic bios, the agency of Acting and Storytelling in Physical Theatre.

Call for papers and teaching demonstrations

Scenic bios, the agency of Acting and Storytelling in Physical Theatre is an International Conference held under the auspices of the University of Winchester and The Makings of the Actor, the Labanarium, the Michael Cacoyiannis Foundation,  and Hellinoekdotiki, organized by Dr. Kiki Selioni, Post-doctoral Researcher Dr Kiki Selioni, Royal Central School of Speech and Drama, University of London, with the support of Dr. Olu Taiwo, the University of Winchester.

This Conference is part of a series of international events under the aegis of The Makings of the Actor. The mission of The Makings of the Actor project is to gather international practitioners and researchers, from diverse fields of performance practice and scholarship, to develop and disseminate (through conferences and workshops) an evolving performance pedagogy that addresses the needs of present and future actors.

Keynote Speakers:

Dr Richard Cuming Senior Lecturer Department of Performing Arts, University of Winchester, UK.

Title:Counter-narratives : Storytelling ‘as’ and ‘in’ Performer Training

BatrekCieniawa Lecturer in Dance and Movement AST National Academy of Theatre Arts in Krakow, Actor and member of the KTO theatre Krakow.

Title: Physical theatre – the Physicality in the Theatre: A return to the beginnings or a new challenge.

 In recognition of both the global reach of this theme and the expansive network of interested practitioners and scholars, as well as the impact of the current pandemic, participants are invited to take part either in person or virtually. Conference proceedings will be live-streamed; papers, and where appropriate workshops and demonstrations, can be presented remotely.

Storytelling has been used by actors and performers from all around the world as a way to communicate myths, legends, ancestral forces, religion and politics; both as a group and as personal expression. With regards to the production of performed spaces, the art of storytelling through physical theatre, provides an actor and performer the ability to symbolize their experiences and narratives of lived and social practice. Storytelling facilitates theuse of physical movement acting as the storyteller; expressing subjects that are: Literal, social, national, religious, mythic, spiritual and liminal, to name but a few. The question has always been, whose stories are we actually telling? Implyinga subsidiary question, whose cultural kinesics are we using?

The concept of Scenic bios was a term first used by Eugenio Barba. It denotes the physical potential for embodied expressivity that communicates a state of readiness; above and beyond the actor and performers mundane daily energy. This kind of embodied knowledge requires an extra daily practice, to increase the actor and performers physical skills and sensorium. This is similar to the original Chinese concept of Kung Fu; which, contrary to the Western translations as a Chinese Martial art, actually means any embodied skills acquired through energy, patience, hard work and practice. The result is to have good Kung Fu in the act of performing their task.

This conference will invite proposals that interrogate the nature of kinesics and performance practices that enhances Scenic Bios. From a Western perspective we have: Artaud, Grotowski, Stanislavsky, Laban, Tanztheatre, Lecoq and Decroux have all drawn from movement asan important part of storytelling. From an Asian perspective we have: Noh theatre, Butoh andKabuki from Japan, Katakali Bharatanatyam and Kathak from Indiaand Peking opera, Cantonese opera and Nanxi from China; which all have a long history of symbolic storytelling. From an African perspective, we have Alarinjo and Egungun from Nigeria: Ingoma (isizingili) and Indlamu from the Zulu Nation in South Africa. This is by no means an exhausted cultural list; however, all these performance styles and techniques require performers who are engaged in an extra-daily practice. This is in order to tell their stories using their kinesics.

Proposals can include:

  • Developing stage presence
  • Examples of Scenic Bios in practice
  • Stanislavsky and the actor prepares
  • Somatic Skills: Balance, posture and expression
  • Laban’s concepts of Eukinetics and Choreutics
  • The relationship between martial arts and performance
  • Corporeal mime and Decroux
  • Butoh and somatic practices
  • Storytelling from around the world
  • Ballet and Opera

For papers please send your abstract of 200 words for your oral presentation in Word doc form, including title, institutional affiliation, your brief CV and email address. The paper presentations will be 20 min, followed by a 10 min discussion with the audience/participants. We accept submissions for online paper presentations.

Submissions of teaching demonstrations must be in English and can be up to 4 pages (including references and figures) in a word doc form, including title, institutional affiliation, your brief cv and email address.
The first 2 pages are expected to describe your approach. The third and fourth pages are expected to be used for images, references, and technical requirements. You can expect wireless network access. 4-6 students will be provided for all accepted demonstrations. The demonstrations allow practitioners/researchers to demonstrate their works in teaching in a dedicated session of 90 min., followed by a 20 min discussion with the audience/participants. We accept submissions for online teaching demonstrations.

 Submission for pre-recorded performance proposals must outline the work accurately in 2 pages in a word doc form and must include title, brief cv, images and video. Performances running times must be 20-90 min., followed by a 20 min discussion with the audience/participants.

 Please send your submission by the 7th April 2021 to:

If an official invitation is required earlier for research funding purposes, please contact and ensure that you submit your abstract as early as possible.

Paper presentations, teaching demonstrations will be held between 23&24 April 2021.

Conference Registration fees:

Paper presentations fees: 120€

Teaching Demonstration fees: 220€

Performance presentation fees: 120-220€


Attendant fees: 75


Student & unwaged fees: 50€



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