International Conference "Theatre Between Tradition and Contemporaneity"
 Theatre - Dance - Music - Visual & Multimedia Art - Arts Administration - Performing Arts Training - Theatre Design & Technology

Adapting the Supernatural for the 21st Century
Interactive talk and discussion by Robert Richmond - Department Chair and Artistic Director Department of Theatre and Dance University of South Carolina, and Gabrielle Peterson - Adjunct Instructor Department of Theatre and Dance University of South Carolina. 

Robert Richmond is originally from Hastings, England and studied at the Royal Scottish Academy of Music and Drama. He is a Professor in Theatre at the University of South Carolina, Chair of the Department of Theatre & Dance, and Artistic Director of the Theatre South Carolina. Additionally, he serves as an Associate Artist for the Folger Theatre in Washington, DC. Most recently his credits at the Folger Theatre include: Macbeth ,Timon of Athens, Antony and Cleopatra, Julius Caesar, Twelfth Night, Henry V, Othello, Henry VIII, Julius Caesar, and Richard III. His work is known for its ability to reinvigorate theatre with imagination, innovation, and relevance. His mission is to create theatre that will sustain and transform the twenty-first century, revitalize audiences, and reward them for their patronage.

Gabrielle Peterson is currently an Adjunct Instructor at the University of South Carolina Department of Theatre and Dance where she teaches in performance, while 
also working towards completion of a PhD in International Relations at the University of Cambridge. She previously completed an MSc in International
 and European Politics from the University of Edinburgh and completed her BA in Theatre and International Studies at the University 
of South Carolina with an focus on performance, directing, and advanced synthesis of physical training methodologies (Suzuki/Ohta/Hunt-Pearson) with a cognate in Dramatic Literature concentrating on Shakespearian analysis. She was awarded a Magellan Research Grant that led to the creation and direction of her original play, Mirrored Time, based on Scottish folklore. She began her interest in Scotland when she debuted at the Edinburgh Fringe Festival and later performed with the Edinburgh University Savoy Opera Company. Gabrielle continued to perform in numerous productions for well over ten years with Theatre South Carolina and abroad, while managing several local theatre educational programs, and remains a member of the South Carolina Shakespeare Company and Full Circle Productions Theatre Company.


Our proposal for an interactive talk and discussion, "Adapting the Supernatural for the 21st Century," focuses on processes of adapting traditional uses of the supernatural, folklore and ritual for contemporary theatre audiences. In a world that has embraced science and logic and that has become desensitized to shock and awe, it can be a challenge to make supernatural elements of classical works relevant or meaningful in modern productions, especially for western audiences. We are interested in exploring how to approach these topics as theatre practitioners and academics by examining contemporary adaptations of classical works to determine how to best connect these elements to audiences with the same impact that they might have had in their original setting. We also discuss how traditional folklore can be used to inspire and influence new work. In doing so, we hope to reinvigorate the discussion on the relevance of the role of the supernatural in art and reexamine how the role of the supernatural in modern theatre is linked to the role of theatre in contemporary society. 

First, Professor Robert Richmond, Department Chair of the University of South Carolina Department of Theatre and Dance and Associate Artist of the Folger Shakespeare Theatre in Washington, DC, will discuss his process for creating modern adaptations of Shakespeare and other Elizabethan Era productions, focusing on supernatural elements. As a professional director and academic with experience directing over 100 professional productions, most of them classical, he brings a lifetime of experience to the topic. In this discussion, he will focus on the traditional role of the supernatural in productions and the meaning behind their inclusion in the original works. He then will address how the supernatural is presented in the modern era, and why folklore and myth remain timeless. Finally, he will use his extensive experience to discuss his approach to bringing these themes and scenes that are hundreds of years old from the page to the stage in 2018. Next, Adjunct Instructor at the University of South Carolina and theatre practitioner Gabrielle Peterson will address her practical research on creating new work primarily based on folkloric legends. Through fieldwork researching Scottish folklore and the subsequent writing and directing of a play based on folkloric legends, she will address her experience creating contemporary work that both connects with a modern audience while remaining true to the traditions, folklore and ritual of the original tales. After the talk, the floor will be open for questions and discussion.


Organized by IUGTE in collaboration with "ArtUniverse" and New International Performing Arts Institute