Theater & Community: Poetics, Politics, Performances (CDE 2023)

Event Information

  • Thursday, June 8, 2023 - Sunday, June 11, 2023
  • 9:00 am - 2:00 pm
  • Augustinerstraße 10
  • 99084 Erfurt

Theater & Community: Poetics, Politics, Performances (CDE 2023)

organized by Dr. habil. Johanna Hartmann and Prof. Dr. Ilka Saal

Welcome to the website of the 31st annual conference of the German Society for Contemporary Drama in English. The conference will be held in person in Erfurt from June 8-11, 2023, and also include hybrid elements.

This year’s conference topic builds on the observation that recent political and epidemiological events, social, economic, and environmental developments, and even epistemic trends index an increasing polarization within and between nations, cultures, and people, both regionally and globally. The interdisciplinary conference “Theater & Community: Poetics, Politics, and Performances” takes these crises and the urgency to solve them as a point of departure and enquires about the role theater and drama can play in re/building consensus and negotiating common ground. In other words: In what ways can dramatic performances obtain the basic agreement on a sense of commonality and mutual interest required for social cohesion and collective action?

The conference fosters international and interdisciplinary conversations on this topic by bringing together scholars, artists, and theater practitioners from around the world. The conference’s PhD forum, moreover, fosters cross-generational dialogue between early-career and experienced researchers.

Sponsored by:









For a preliminary program please click here.



Keynote Speakers and Artists



Nassim Winnie Balestrini is Professor of American Studies and Intermediality at Karl Franzens University Graz, Austria, where she also serves as director of the Centre for Intermediality Studies in Graz (CIMIG). Her expertise in the field of contemporary performance cultures includes opera and libretto studies, hip hop cultures, climate theater, indigenous theater, transnational performances, as well as adaptation studies – topics on which she has published widely. Her current research investigates enactments of the performative commons in contemporary North American drama and theater. This will also be the focus of her keynote lecture “Sensing a Twenty-First-Century Commons in the Theater: Relationality in a Climate of Distrust and Destruction.”


Sabrina Mahfouz is an acclaimed British-Egyptian poet, playwright, performer and writer. Her play With a Little Bit of Luck has been performed across the UK, including at the National Theatre and the Roundhouse and was adapted for BBC 1Xtra radio, where it won the 2019 BBC Music & Radio Award for Best Drama. Sabrina is the editor of the critically acclaimed anthology The Things I Would Tell You: British Muslim Women Write (Saqi Books), a Guardian Book of the Year. In her work she explores her mixed heritage and makes it the starting point for more expansive cultural observations. For instance, in her most recent anthologies Smashing It: Working Class Artists on Life, Art and Making It Happen (Westbourne Press); Poems for a Green and Blue Planet (Hachette Children’s) and Sabrina Mahfouz, Plays: 1(Methuen Bloomsbury), she explores the entangled questions of race, religion, immigration, and class.


Mary Kathryn Nagle is a playwright, lawyer, and citizen of the Cherokee Nation. Holding a J.D. from Tulane University, she works at the intersection of law and theater to secure the rights and sovereignty of Native nations. In her plays, she advocates on behalf of tribal sovereignty and self-determination as well as for the rights of Indigenous women.Nagle is a leading voice among indigenous theater artists. Her many plays–among them Katrina Stories (2008), Sliver of a Moon (2013), Sovereignty (2015), Manahatta (2018)–have been produced at prestigious venues across the United States, including the Oregon Shakespeare Festival, Yale Repertory Theatre, Arena Stage, Smithsonian’s Museum of the American Indian, Stanford Law School, and the Church Center of the United Nations. She will contribute to the conference with a reading from her most recent play On the Far End, which thematizes the role of women in Indigenous communities and their work as community activists. The play is scheduled to premiere at the Round House Theater in Washington D.C. in spring 2023. Nagle’s reading from the play will be followed by a moderated Q&A session. 



Tavia Nyong’o is William Lampson Professor of Performance Studies and Professor of American Studies and African American Studies at Yale University. His research is situated at the intersection of performance, race, and queer studies and spans the field of 19th to 21st century Black performance cultures. He is the author of the seminal studies The Amalgamation Waltz: Race, Performance, and the Ruses of Memory (2009) and Afro-Fabulations: The Queer Drama of Black Life (2018). Nyong’o is the recipient of distinguished fellowships from the Alexander von Humboldt Foundation, the American Society for Theatre Research, the Ford Foundation, the Jacob K. Javits Foundation, and the British Marshall Foundation and currently serves as editor-at-large for the journal Social Text. His current research interests include sexual dissidence and racial reckoning in contemporary expressive culture. The latter will be the subject of his keynote address to the conference, entitled “The Racial Reckoning in Art and Performance.”



Martin Middeke is Professor of English Literature at the University of Augsburg and has been aVisting Professor of English at the University of Johannesburg, South Africa, since 2008. He has published extensively in the fields of twentieth- and twenty-first century theatre and drama. His publications include a monograph on British playwright and director Stephen Poliakoff and he co-edited the Methuen Drama Guides to Contemporary Irish, British, American and South African Playwrights (2011–2015). Recent co-edited publications include Theatre, Drama, and Philosophy (2018); Of Precariousness: Vulnerabilities, Responsibilities, Communities in 21st-Century British Drama and Theatre (De Gruyter, 2017); Affects in 21st-Century British Theatre: Exploring Feeling on Page and Stage(Palgrave Macmillan, 2021); Critical Theatre Ecologies, JCDE 10.1 (2022). Current projects include a Handbook of Theatre Philosophyfor Cambridge University Press and an international website on Theatre Philosophy hosted by the Harry Ransom Center at the University of Texas at Austin (with David Kornhaber). He is a member of the research group Contemporary British Theatre Barcelona. He is the founding editor of the Journal of Contemporary Drama in English (JCDE) and has been elected member of the ACADEMIA EUROPAEA since 2013. One of his current projects is titled “The Coming Community in Contemporary Anglophone Drama.





As an organization dedicated to assist and support graduate students working in the area of contemporary theatre and drama in English, CDE annually hosts a graduate colloquium in the days immediately prior to the annual conferences.


During the forum, PhD-candidates are able to introduce and discuss their research projects as well as individual chapters from their dissertations with each other in an informal and relaxed atmosphere.


The forum is currently moderated by Martin Middeke (University of Augsburg) and Clare Wallace (Charles University).















Augustinerkloster Erfurt

The monastery provides lodging and board (“Halbpension”) for the conference participants. The rooms are simple, reflecting the monastery’s spirit and allowing you to find some peace and tranquility after the long conference days. All rooms include en-suite bathrooms and free WiFi.Room bookings do not include parking spaces.

The monastery is conveniently located in the city center and offers perfectly equipped premises and a unique, historic atmosphere. It is more than 700 years old, having once hosted Martin Luther himself. Erfurt Cathedral, the town hall, and many other beautiful historical sights are within walking distance.

The cost for three nights of accommodation and demi-pension (including breakfast, lunch, coffee breaks, and conference reception) vary according to room category:

Single room: € 356,-

Single room (upscale): € 416,-

Double room (per person): € 297,50

In order to book a room please contact the Augustinerkloster directly, either via e-mail ( or via phone (+49 361 576600) by mentioning the conference password “CDE 2023.” We kindly ask participants with permanent positions to book the more expensive room categories.

Rooms within the conference allotment can be booked until the end of April, 2023.

In case of food intolerances, please contact the conference organizers via e-mail.

All participants are required to register before May 15, 2023. The conference fee is € 20,-

In order to register for the conference only, please transfer the conference fee of € 20,- (reference: “1522237016756 CDE2023”) to the bank account below and send an e-mail to the organizers including your name and institutional affiliation.

Part of the program is an optional theater visit to the puppet theater Theater Waidspeicher in Erfurt on Saturday 10, 2023 for the opening performance of Hans Christian Andersen’s The Steadfast Tin Soldier. Click here for the English translation of Andersen’s text.

If you are interested in attending this opening performance of the play, please send us an email. You can pay for the ticket at the conference venue. Tickets are € 11.

(Unfortunately, due to changes in the program of the Deutsches Nationaltheater Weimar, the previously planned theater trip to Weimar had to be canceled.)

Bank account

Empfänger: Universität Erfurt
Konto: 300 4444 299
BLZ: 820 500 00 (Landesbank Hessen-Thüringen Erfurt)
Reference/Zahlungsgrund: “1522237016756 CDE 2023”

IBAN: DE16 8205 0000 3004 4442 99



symbol directions

By plane

For international guests arriving by plane: Major airports such as Frankfurt Airport (FRA) or Berlin Airport (BER) are approx. 2.5 hours away from Erfurt by train, Munich Airport (MUC) is a 3.5 hours train ride away.


By train & public transport

Choose “Erfurt Hbf” (Hauptbahnhof, main station) as your destination. 

You can check timetables and book a ticket on the website of the Deutsche Bahn AG (

The walking distance from the train station to the monastery is about 20 minutes. You can also take the tram lines 1 (direction “Europaplatz”) or 5 (direction “Zoopark”), getting off at “Augustinerkloster” (3 stops). Alternatively, you can take a taxi cab.


By car

Should you arrive by car, enter this address into your navigation system:

(Evangelisches Augustinerkloster zu Erfurt)

Augustinerstraße 10, 99084 Erfurt 

Please note that there are only few parking spaces available close to the monastery as it is located in the historical town of Erfurt. Guests may turn to the nearby parking garages ANGER 1, DOMPLATZ, and THÜRINGENHAUS.





Dr. habil. Johanna Hartmann (Organizer)

Martin-Luther-Universität Halle-Wittenberg

Phone: +49 345 55-23528



Prof. Dr. Ilka Saal (Organizer)

Universität Erfurt

Phone: +49 361 737-4241