Conference: Theatre Sound (as) Collaboration. Distributed Creations, Shared Agencies, 13-15 September 2023, Munich/Hybrid

Call For Papers and Save the Date

Hybrid International Conference of the CAS Research Group “The Sound of Theatre”, Ludwig-Maximilians-Universität München, led by Prof Dr David Roesner

See conference page for programme details!

This conference seeks to maintain the explorative and collaborative spirit of the research group, which was facilitated by the Center for Advanced Studies (CAS) for the academic year 2022/23. The conference is therefore meant to open up questions and start conversations – between different disciplines and practices and different geographical and cultural contexts about theatre sound. In particular, it focuses on the collaborative, relational, and “in-between“ aspects of sonic practices in theatre.

We will thus concentrate on exploring distributed forms of creation, and shared agencies of practitioners and non-human agents such as technologies. We will also consider what kinds of meanings emerge from theatre sound in its many dimensions, and what experiences it holds for theatre audiences. Overarching questions include: How can we describe the “sound” of theatre as the medium and outcome of collaboration? What role does sound play in collective processes of creation and perception in theatre? What forms of shared knowledge are produced here through sounding and listening? What are “cultural differences in the construction of aural experiences”?[1] How do joint sound practices contribute to an “aural identity”[2] of a theatre, the ‘sound signature’ of an ensemble, or a directorial team?

To answer these and other questions, the conference will look at (and listen to) the acoustic, epistemic, performative, musical, phenomenological, technological, and social conditions, effects and meanings of ‘sound’ in past and present theatre practices.

As a team of curators for this conference, we invite scholars and practitioners from theatre cultures all around the globe to discuss sound as a fundamental condition and creative practice of theatre with us and each other. The main programme will consist of four sessions: 

A) Sound in revisited theatre stagings; 

B) Collaboration in sound design and music composition for theatre;

C) Theatre through Sound: From Mega Musicals to Digital Minutiae

D Voice as collaboration

Two of these are open for your proposals:

B) Collaboration in sound design and music composition for theatre: In this session we seek to pay closer attention to the processes and dynamics of the collaborative relationships involved in, and between, sound design and music composition for theatre, past and present. We are not only interested in the creative dialogue between a sound designer and a composer (in those theatre cultures where this pairing conventionally exists), but also between the more abstract “functions” of contributing music and curating a sonic environment for a theatre performance – which often includes interweaving of musical cues, sound effects, acoustic conditions, aesthetics of voice amplification etc. We also wish to discuss how collaboration between “sound“ and “music“ is articulated in teams, in practices where artistic responsibility is more evenly distributed, where traditional roles and job descriptions are suspended in processes of devising, and in institutions with fluid hierarchies.

To present ideas and analyse examples on these topics, we invite 10-12 minute audio papers[3] from scholars and/or practitioners worldwide. These would need to be sent in finished form by 31 July 2023. Please send a written expression of interest beforehand by 31 May 2023. The audio papers may present a particular case study, a selected aspect of sonic collaboration and may employ different methodologies such ethnographic observation, interviews, historic reconstruction, or forms of self-reflection on one’s own practice. Accepted audio papers will be made available to all registered attendees of the conference from 1 September. At the conference itself, a panel will discuss the papers, drawing out points of comparison, connection, and contrast. Authors of the audio papers can either attend the conference in person (self-funded) or join the conversation via Zoom. If you’d prefer to contact us to discuss your idea for an audio paper beforehand, feel free to email

C) Theatre through Sound: From Mega Musicals to Digital Minutiae. This session explores and celebrates the rapid rise of sound making as a collaborative and sometimes corroborative art of theatre production. From the design, recording and production of theatre sound as music, mix, authentic, synthetic, ‘live’ or ‘digital’, this session explores and celebrates the accelerating changes and emerging opportunities between the art of sound design and theatre. From Musical Theatre excess to microscopic digital forms, from the complexities of the live Musical mix to the recording of headphone pandemic-performances, the skills of effects design and production, to the desired affect of atmospheres, soundscapes and noises, we will explore the intrinsic and essential relations between sound-making and theatre.

This session welcomes theatre sound artists, technicians, designers, academics and makers of Musicals, Music Theatre and Sound-led forms to share their concepts, practices and processes of making theatre with, through or as sound. We invite presentations/ papers/demonstrations of 10-12 min, including live provocations, audio papers or videos on any aspect of sound making within theatre. We particularly welcome demonstrations of techniques, technologies, use of kit and mixing processes, recording hacks, and Foley interventions. Please send your proposal or written expression of interest by 31 May 2023. Any pre-recorded submissions will need to be submitted before the conference by 31 July 2023 and will be distributed to all conference participants.

Please send your proposal/expression of interest to including the following information: name, affiliation, title, proposal for session B or C, intended attendance (in person/online), short bio, contact details. Audio or video files can be sent in the usual ways (Dropbox, WeTransfer, iCloud etc.). We intend to publish some of the conference proceedings including selected audio papers etc. as part of the research podcast “Staging Sound”.

A final note: 

While hoping for a global interest in the topic and response to the call, we seek to avoid long distance travel. The conference will therefore be hybrid. Admission to the conference is free, but registration is required both for online and in-person attendance. If you would like to attend, please email by 30 June 2023. Please state if you will attend in person or online and for which day(s) of the conference. 

With many thanks,

The team of curators:

Dr Anna R. Burzyńska, Krakow

Dr Adrian Curtin, Exeter

Dr Lynne Kendrick, London

Prof Dr Ursula Kramer, Mainz

Dr Duška Radosavjlević, London

Prof Dr David Roesner, München

Dr Julia Schröder, Berlin

Prof Dr Millie Taylor, Amsterdam 

Dr Konstatinos Thomaidis, Exeter

Dr Pieter Verstraete, Groningen

[1] Smith, Bruce R., The Acoustic World of Early Modern England: Attending the O-factor. Chicago 1999, 8.

[2] Ibid., 44.

[3] What is an audio paper? “Audio papers resemble the regular essay or the academic text in that they deal with a certain topic of interest, but presented in the form of an audio production. The audio paper is an extension of the written paper through its specific use of media, a sonic awareness of aesthetics and materiality, and creative approach towards communication. The audio paper is a performative format working together with an affective and elaborate understanding of language. It is an experiment embracing intellectual arguments and creative work, papers and performances, written scholarship and sonic aesthetics“ (Groth and Samson 2016).

What we envisage is something that is more than just an academic paper read into a recording device, but is not an elaborate radio play. Rather, the audio paper should offer a brief academic argument or reflective observation, making appropriate and relevant use of voice and sound, which may include sound samples, interviews, music, effects etc. Your audio paper should be accompanied by a title and short abstract (no more than 100 words). Examples can be found here: or here

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David Roesner (2023, 17. April). Conference: Theatre Sound (as) Collaboration. Distributed Creations, Shared Agencies, 13-15 September 2023, Munich/Hybrid. Theatermusik heute. Abgerufen am 19. Juni 2024, von

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Über David Roesner

David Roesner ist Professor für Theaterwissenschaft mit Schwerpunkt Musiktheater an der LMU München. Er forschte und lehrte bisher an den Universitäten Hildesheim, Exeter und Kent. 2003 erschien seine Dissertation Theater als Musik, 2007 wurde er mit dem Thurnauer Preis für Musiktheaterwissenschaft ausgezeichnet. Zuletzt publizierte er die Monographie Musicality in Theatre (Ashgate, 2014) und arbeitet jetzt an einem Buch zur zeitgenössischen Theatermusik.

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