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⏰ Deadline: 10 January 2020
🌍 Toronto, CAN
🗓 6 -7 June 2020

Call for Proposals: Children, Youth, and Performance Conference

Connecting Drama and Performance Research to Practice in the Lives of Young People


The Children, Youth, and Performance Conference is accepting proposals for the third annual conference, held at the Young People’s Theatre in partnership with York University. The conference will take place in Toronto, Canada on June 6th and 7th, 2020.

This peer-reviewed conference is an exchange of knowledge between researchers, performers, educators, practitioners and community organizers, from across the country and abroad, putting performance research to work and examining its affects on the lives of young people. Through a range of informative and interactive sessions, participants discuss the future applications and implications of performance work with, by, for, and about children and youth.

The conference is open to a variety of presentation topics and styles focusing on Children, Youth, and Performance. The Young People’s Theatre has focused their 2019-2020 season on the seven ancestral teachings rooted deep within Anishinaabek culture (respect, humility, bravery, honesty, love, wisdom and truth), and we welcome proposals that touch on these teachings, as well as ways of incorporating and discussing indigeneity and decolonization in our field. We invite presenters from a variety of disciplines and sectors, including, but not limited to child and youth studies, performing arts, indigenous studies, social sciences, humanities, education, human rights, and public policy. Following the conference, accepted presenters will be invited to submit articles for a peer-reviewed, open-access special issue of the LEARNing Landscapes journal, focusing on the conference themes.


We welcome proposals based on cutting-edge research, theories, and practices which focus on any of these five themes:

1. Youth Performance for Social and Environmental Justice

2. Performative Research Methods

3. Innovations in Experiential and/or Digital Drama

4. Power and Privilege in Children’s Theatre

5. Drama, Health, and Wellness

Each proposal should outline the presentation’s purpose, method, findings (for case studies and panels), and what will take place during the session. Please clearly indicate which conference stream your proposal best fits into, and which of the following formats your presentation will take:

Case Studies (10-15 minutes): These presentations should discuss case studies and projects relevant to one of the above conference themes. We welcome interactive, innovative presentation approaches, veering away from traditional ‘lecture-style’ paper presentations.

Interactive Workshops (45 minutes): Workshops should be directly relevant to one of the conference themes, and welcoming to participants with varying levels of performance or research experience. Please ensure your workshop carefully adheres to the allotted timeframe (including all required set-up and/ or take-down), as sessions will be back-to-back. Workshop presenters are responsible for their own materials and set-up. Please clearly indicate space needs (empty room, chairs, tables, etc.), and the specific activities that will take place.

Panels (25 or 45 minutes, depending on panel size): We welcome panel proposals of three or more participants, showcasing initiatives and projects relevant to one of the above conference themes. Panels may include any combination of researchers, practitioners, performers, and/or young people, in a collaborative, discussion-style format.

Original Performance Pieces (up to 15 minutes): We welcome short performances, derived from research projects or advocacy initiatives, addressing one of the conference themes. Within the allotted timeframe, each presentation should include a short performance (such as a monologue or scene) followed by a brief talk-back. We strongly encourage proposals that include child and youth presenters. All presentations of this type must fit within the allotted timeframe (including all required set-up and/or take-down). Performances should be flexible for a variety of potential spaces (such as a classroom or studio) and should indicate specific resource needs (chairs, music stands, etc.).

How to submit proposals

Your proposal should be submitted as a 1-2 page word document, including a succinct presentation title (10 words max.), all presenter name(s), affiliations, contact information, and bio(s) (100 words max. for each bio), the appropriate conference theme, the presentation format (workshop, panel etc.), and a presentation summary (300 words max.).

Proposals must be sent directly to Abigail Shabtay, Conference Chair, at no later than January 10th, 2020.

Send your proposals

Inquiries about facilities/accessibility can be directed to Karen Gilodo, Associate Artistic Director of the Young People’s Theatre, at Accepted presenters must register and confirm attendance by the registration deadline to be included in the program schedule (registration details will follow letters of acceptance).

About Young People’s Theatre

YOUNG PEOPLE’S THEATRE (YPT) is the oldest professional theatre company in Toronto and is a national producer and presenter of theatre for young audiences – the first and largest of its kind in Canada. Over the past 54 years YPT has staged many of the most important plays that form the canon of work for youth in the country, as well as providing enriched learning experiences and opportunities for young people, as part of YPT’s Education & Participation Department.

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