The association’s annual conferences encourage the highest levels of scholarship in the study and practice of African performance and theatre. Scholars and practitioners gather to exchange ideas, knowledge and information on developments in African theatre.
“LMU has been selected as the first North American university to host the African Theatre Association conference,” said Kevin Wetmore, professor of theatre arts at LMU and author of “Athenian Sun in an African Sky: Modern African Adaptation of Classical Greek Tragedy” and “Black Dionysus: Greek Tragedy and African American Theatre,” among other works. “I think our hosting the conference also marks the level of international work being done in the College of Communication and Fine Arts and in the Department of Theatre Arts and Dance.”
The title of the 2015 conference is “Performing Africa in the Motherland and in the Americas.” The call for papers has gone out centering the question of how is “Africa” presented and performed, not just within Africa, but also by those of African descent outside of Africa. The conference will be structured around panels, papers and performed presentations that open up discussions on African and African diaspora identity.
“It is very exciting, because we have had Nigerian Nobel laureate Wole Soyinka on faculty here, and there is an incredible African presence in Los Angeles, which does not always get recognized,” said Wetmore. “We are delighted to bring scholars from all over the world to Westchester to talk about African theatre in Africa and in the world.”
The African Theatre Association is an international nonprofit society open to scholars and practitioners of African performance and theatre. In addition to the annual conferences, the association publishes a journal, African Performance Review, that helps “define and shape African performance and theatre scholarship and pedagogy by liberating them from a bondage to non-African discursive framework,” according to their website.
Past conferences have been held in Cape Town, South Africa, London and in 2014 in Accra, Ghana.