Past event

Sacred Drama (Day 1) Art, Devotion and Performance in the Age of Religious Reform (c.1500-c.1700)

This interdisciplinary conference will bring together scholars from nine countries, from fields including history, art history, architectural history, theatre history, music, theology/religious studies, and literature, with two main objectives:

  • The first is to consider an inclusive definition of ‘sacred drama' that refers not only to religious theatre, as traditionally understood, but includes rituals and various forms of devotional practice, as well as engagement with sacred images, objects and spaces. What are the elements of this drama, and how does it function on various levels, such as affective, cognitive, corporeal, and phenomenological?
  • Secondly, what happens to religious theatre as we enter the early modern period? We will seek to address the question of the medieval inheritance versus change or transformation, as well as differences between regions, in a period of cultural change, religious reform and confessionalisation. What are the particular challenges presented by the religious debates and upheaval in Europe beginning in the early sixteenth century? Does the suppression of mystery plays across Europe in this period bring about an end to religious theatre, as traditionally understood? How do local practices compare with official policy?

This is a two-day conference, with sessions running as follows:

Conference programme:

1pm to 1.30pm: Welcome and opening remarks

1.30pm to 3pm: Theatricality and Representation
Chair: Andrew Horn (University of St Andrews)

Ralph Dekoninck, Université catholique de Louvain: 'Sacer horror. The pathos of martyrdom on the Jesuit theatrical and pictorial stage at the turn of the sixteenth and seventeenth centuries'

Kamil Kopania, Aleksander Zelwerowicz National Academy of Dramatic Art, Warsaw: 'What does religious puppetry mean in the early modern period?'

Laura Stefanescu, University of Sheffield: 'Golden wings and peacock feathers: fifteenth-century Florentine angels in theatre and art'

3pm to 3.30 Coffee and tea

3.30pm to 5pm: Dramatic Transformations
Chair: Carol Richardson (University of Edinburgh)

Steffen Zierholz, Eberhard Karls Universität Tübingen: 'Performing prayer. A Jesuit aesthetics of liminality'

Michael Carlson, University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill: 'Travestimento spirituale in the circle of Cardinal Federico Borromeo: re--reading Guarini's Il pastor fido as sacred drama'

Laura Moretti, University of St Andrews: 'Uses of space and temporary installations in the church of San Lazzaro dei Mendicanti in Venice during the sixteenth and seventeenth centuries'

5pm to 6pm: Reception, Old Union Diner

Find out more and reserve a place via Eventbrite.

Join the event on MS Teams.