Staging Pinter: Networks, Collaborators, Legacies
The inaugural conference of Harold Pinter: Histories and Legacies
A two-day international conference at the University of Birmingham
April 6-7 2018

GUS What town are we in? I’ve forgotten.
BEN I’ve told you. Birmingham.
GUS Go on!
He looks with interest about the room.
That’s in the Midlands. The second biggest city in Great Britain. I’d never have guessed.

Harold Pinter, The Dumb Waiter (1957)

Welcome to the official conference page for ‘Staging Pinter: Networks, Collaborators, Legacies’

Please note that the deadline for proposals for this conference closed on Friday 24th November 2017. Huge thanks to all those who submitted their work for consideration – we’ll be in touch early in 2018!

As the conference approaches, the organising committee will keep this page up to date with announcements concerning Keynote speakers and invited guests, information regarding the schedule and social events, and practical information on the venue, accommodation options, and travel to and from Birmingham. 

While you’re here, please feel free to browse other pages connected to the project and its team of researchers, as well as our expanding collection of blog posts for exciting insights into ongoing primary research, reflections on Pinter’s life, work and some of his closest collaborators, and useful guides to DVD collections, publications, and more.

You can also keep up to date with announcements via Twitter @pinterlegacies or on Facebook 

We look forward to welcoming you to Birmingham in April 2018!

Call for Papers
Please note that the deadline for proposals closed on Friday 24th November 2017

The life and works of Harold Pinter, a pivotal figure in late twentieth-century British theatre, have been widely discussed, debated, and celebrated internationally. This engagement with Pinter has also been reflected in a worldwide ‘Pinter Industry’ in scholarship. In contrast to the focus of much critical work directly on Pinter’s theatrical outputs, ‘Staging Pinter: Networks, Collaborators, Legacies’ invites scholars and practitioners from a range of disciplines to explore a broader series of networks that Pinter produced and engaged with, both as an artist and as a citizen. How do these networks serve to offer us insight into his activity and influence while alive, and how do they continue to reverberate to define his legacy?

‘Networks’ can be understood as an exchange of ideas or practices, or as a system of interconnected people, places, or works. Over five decades, Pinter’s work has traversed various forms and genres across theatre, film, television and radio drama, poetry, prose and political activism. Pinter’s work as an actor and director has also intersected with the work of other writers and artists across a series of venues and within different forms of media. What does an emphasis on the circulation of Pinter’s theatrical work reveal about key productions or texts? How can we better understand Pinter’s practice(s) through the networks of collaboration he established during his lifetime? By tracing the documentation and dissemination of Pinter’s life and work across archival, digital, scholarly, and performance networks, what new perspectives become possible?

This conference is the first in a series of academic and public events in connection with the Harold Pinter: Histories and Legacies project. As such, we anticipate publishing either an edited collection or special issue based on the submissions to this conference. As well as work focused specifically on Pinter, we would welcome submissions exploring the work of other playwrights and theatre makers who may have been influenced by Pinter’s work and encourage submissions from scholars at all stages of their careers.

While this conference focuses primarily on Pinter’s work for the stage and his theatrical legacy, there will be further opportunities to explore Pinter’s work specifically for television, film, and radio at the University of Reading in September in 2018 and later at the University of Leeds in 2019 to mark the conclusion of the project. We therefore look forward to welcoming scholars and practitioners to be a part of an ongoing, international conversation during the course of this project (please see the project description below for more details).

Possible Topics

Drawing on the project’s central research questions and objectives concerning patterns across productions of Pinter’s works, we invite 20 minute papers on all aspects of Pinter’s works for the stage, with an emphasis on the various figures, sites, and institutions involved in their production. Possible topics might include (but are not limited to):

  • Spatial Networks such as key performance sites (the Royal Shakespeare Company or the National Theatre, for example) that Pinter’s work has occupied; touring practices or specific productions on tour
  • Collaborations with other writers, directors, and performers across Pinter’s career
  • Institutional Legacies exploring this impact of Pinter’s work on specific theatres, organisations, theatrical companies, or curriculum(s)
  • Global Networks such as international stagings, reception, or adaptation of Pinter’s work(s); Pinter in translation
  • Media Networks exploring how Pinter’s theatrical work interconnects with his work across film, television, and radio; the role of the media in the consolidation and dissemination of Pinter’s theatrical work and reputation
  • Political Networks and Social Activism exploring instances across Pinter’s career from the political drama of the 1950s and 1960s to contemporary politics
  • Digital/Archival Networks addressing the archiving and documentation of Pinter’s life and work; the online presence and dissemination of Pinter as a cultural figure
  • Stylistic and Aesthetic Legacies in the work of other theatre makers or in theatrical contexts

Confirmed Keynote: Steve Waters

Steve Waters is a playwright. His recent work includes Limehouse (2017), Temple (2015) and World Music (2004) at the Donmar Warehouse. Other works include Why Can’t We Live Together? (Menagerie Theatre Company/UK Tour/Soho Theatre/Theatre 503), Europa co-authored (Birmingham Rep/Dresden Staatspielhouse/Teater Polski/Zagreb Youth Theatre), Ignorance/Jahiliyyah, English Journeys and After the Gods (Hampstead), Capernaum in Sixty-Six BooksLittle Platoons, The Contingency Plan and In a Vulnerable Place (Bush), Amphibians (Bridewell), Out of Your Knowledge (Menagerie Theatre), Fast Labour (Hampstead/West Yorkshire Playhouse) and Habitats (Gate and Tron Theatre Glasgow). For the wireless, Steve has written Scribblers, Bretton Woods and The Contingency Plan for BBC Radio 3 and Deep Swimmer, The Air Gap, Little Platoons, Morning, The Parliament of Rooks and The Moderniser for BBC Radio 4. For the screen, Steve has written The Contingency Plan; Safe House. Steve is the author of The Secret Life of Plays and a Senior Lecturer in Creative Writing, School of Literature, Drama and Creative Writing at the University of East Anglia.