Utopia and Performance

Stockholm 30 September to 2 October 2021.


Conference Rationale

It is nothing like a dream to create the future. Utopia today, flesh and blood tomorrow.
(Victor Hugo)

Utopia is not a kind of free imagination. Utopia is a matter of the innermost urgency. You are forced to imagine it, it is the only way out, and this is what we need today.
(Slavoj Žižek)

The utopia for which I yearn takes place now, in the interstices of present interactions, in glancing moments of possibly better ways to be together as human beings.
(Jill Dolan)

Sensuous Governing Sensuous City by Sisters Hope. Photo. Photo: Diana Lindhardt.

These quotes represent the main accesses to the concept of utopia that are relevant to both performance practices and critical discourse. While Hugo points to an imaginary future, a vision that will be materialized soon, Žižek argues from the point of view of crisis. And Dolan adds aspects of communality to the idea of utopia. Theatre and performance engage in proposing such utopian visions as a remedy, as a critical stance in times of crisis, as an imaginary flight from straight realisms, as practiced performativities potentially materializing different futures. For the 2021 ANTS conference we invite contributions which investigate all utopian aspects that demonstrate the relevance and also the urge to practice, discuss, rethink and envision theatre and performance in manifold ways. The Theatre and Dance Department at Stockholm University celebrates its 75th anniversary in 2021. With the proposed theme, we also celebrate the Utopian spirit of its foundation and its future.

Continue reading the Conference Rationale


The call for papers is closed. It will be possible to attend the entire conference without a paper presentation, provided that you register for the conference.

Registration is open

-       International delegates use IBAN
Bank: Danske Bank, Norrmalmstorg1, 11146 Stockholm, Sweden
Bank account: 12810117756
IBAN: SE1612000000012810117756
Please don’t forget to give the reference:
Reference: 106/5539201

-       Swedish delegates use Bankgiro
Bankgiro 5050-0206 (Danske Bank)
Please don’t forget to give the reference:
Reference: 106/5539201


Regular: €50

Student: €25



Keynote speakers and Invited Artists

  • Sean Metzger (University of California, LA)
  • Susanne Foellmer (Coventry University)
  • Willmar Sauter (Stockholm University)
  • Suzanne Osten (Stockholm)
  • Linn Hilda Lamberg (Stockholm)

Keynote speakers and Invited Artists


Conference Programme

Find the Conference Schedule, Conference Abstracts, and Conference Programme for Utopia and Performance, 30 September – 2 October 2021 here.

Program Utopia and Performance (158 Kb)

Book of Abstracts Utopia and Performance (361 Kb)

Schedule Utopia and Performance (122 Kb)

Social Programme

The conference is planned around the following themes

•    Theatre and performance as utopian spaces
•    Theatre of hope, from the Enlightenment to the present
•    Dystopia as ‘optimism on the sly’
•    Escaping the ‘here and now’ through performance
•    Utopian performativities
•    Utopia/dystopia on Stage
•    The abuse/manipulation of utopias by fascist regimes and movements
•    Utopia and the welfare state
•    Utopia and health
•    Utopia and ecology
•    Utopia and spirituality/religion
•    Utopian communities

Keynote speakers and invited artists are Sean Metzger (University of California, LA), Susanne Foellmer (Coventry University), Willmar Sauter (Stockholm University), Suzanne Osten (Stockholm), Gry Worre Hallberg (Copenhagen).

Conference Output: NTS conference volume

As part of ANTS’ annual publishing activities, the conference will be followed by a special Nordic Theatre Studies volume with selected papers. All contributors to the conference will receive a call for papers. The guest editors of the volume are the conference organizers Professor Meike Wagner and Doctor Kim Skjoldager-Nielsen.


Social Programme

Welcome reception, lunches, and performances

Sensuous Governing Sensuous City by Sisters Hope. Photo. Photo: Diana Lindhardt.

More information

Information about Covid-19 restrictions, transports, and tourist information for participants of the conference Utopia and performance.

We abide by the restrictions and recommendations by the Swedish Health Authorities. Our aim is to hold an on-site conference; should this, however, turn out to be impossible, we have a plan B in place for an on-line zoom-based conference. We monitor the situation and will keep you informed about significant changes.

Map over the Frescati area at Stockholm University. The Department of Culture and Aesthetics is found by the red dot on the map.

Metro and bus

Find travel planners and ticket information at the Stockholm public transport website. (You'll find the travel planner under "Reseplanering".)

Regional and domestic train

Are you travelling to or from Sweden and Stockhom by train? Find all information here: https://www.sj.se/en/about/about-sj/climate-friendly.html


Arlanda and Bromma

Airport coaches
Fast train, Arlanda airport-Stockholm

Visit Stockholm

Find restaurants, exhibitions, historical sites and more at https://www.visitstockholm.com/


Historical theatres


Archives and libraries


Funded by Riksbankens jubileumsfond and Nordisk kulturfond

RJ logo
Nordisk Kulturfond


The conference is organized by Theatre studies at Stockholm University, the Department of Culture and Aesthetics, together with the Association of Nordic Theatre Scholars (ANTS).
Contact us:  ANTS21@teater.su.se

Conference coordination: Meike Wagner and Kim Skjoldager-Nielsen.

Organizing team

Rikard Hoogland, Dirk Gindt, Tiina Rosenberg, Kim Skjoldager-Nielsen, Magnus Tessing Schneider, Meike Wagner.

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