Imagined Theatres asks writers and artists to explore what might be possible and impossible in the theatre, what they would stage if they could stage anything, or to explore what the theatre alone allows us to imagine. The project began as a book, published by Routledge press in the UK and US, and continues to extend outward into an ever-growing archive moving in unexpected directions.
The inaugural issue of imaginedtheatres.com was published in November 2017 with a focus on South Africa. Guest edited by Megan Lewis, the collection featured the work of sixteen artists and scholars. A second issue, co-edited by Peter Eckersall, Helena Grehan, and Nicola Gunn, turns to Australia. Subsequent issues will feature other themes as well as unsolicited submissions.
There are few sites for creative and critical writing about the theatre to share a common place; imaginedtheatres.com represents an opportunity for writers and readers, makers and scholars, to contemplate the give and take between their interrelated identities.
The theatre keeps imagining itself anew. Every time we return to the rehearsal room or settle into our seats, we imagine a difference, however small, however subtle. This need not be a matter of disruption; it may be a gesture of conservation or repair. The theatre looks, listens, feels outward from the immediate to discover what could be. Imagined Theatres will continue beyond these covers, too. Alongside the publication of this book, a website offers bridges farther and further afield.
Imaginedtheatres.com is an open-access online journal with two streams for further development. Beginning in late 2017, new "issues" containing texts by 15-25 authors will be released every four to six months. Under the stewardship of a guest editor or team of editors, each issue focuses on a geographic area overlooked by the book. Later issues will move into translation and may incorporate other themes in time. While these volumes follow the basic structure of the book, guest editors may decide to articulate a slightly different orientation for each subsequent collection.
In addition, the site contains an ever-growing archive of select user-submitted work. In an effort to treat this material with the attention often reserved for more conventional academic production, an editorial board peer-reviews and curates these texts before publication. You are invited to send your own writing for consideration—in glossed or unglossed form—via the links provided on the website. The technologies afforded by the site will allow for new arrangements and constellations to take shape within this archive, discovering how the digital imagines the theatre differently from the book.
Collectively, we hope to foster a second universe of theatrical possibilities, by turns inspiring and responding to the actual production it exists alongside.