General information




The Structural Approach to Art

 (Otakar Zich and the Prague Linguistic Circle Re-Considered)

8th–10th June 2018

Department of Theatre Studies

Faculty of Arts, Masaryk University Brno, Czech Republic

This International Symposium The BRNO THEATRALIA CONFERENCE 2018, hosted by the Department of Theatre Studies, Masaryk University (Brno, Czech Republic), is dedicated to theatre theory and the continuing legacy of the founding figure of theatre structuralism, Otakar Zich, and of the Prague Linguistic Circle.

Czech music aesthetician, musicologist, theatre and literary theorist, composer and critic Otakar Zich (1879–1934) is considered to be a founding figure of modern theatre theory, and a great number of theorists have related their work to him and his concepts. As part of a 3-year research project on Otakar Zich (Czech Grant Agency, 2016–2018), our research team are working on an English critical edition of Zich’s seminal work The Aesthetics of Dramatic Art (1931), as well as on the exploration of its contexts, reception and its critical heritage. Internationally, in the fields of theatre theory and musicology, only limited attention has been given to Zich and his influential work. Such is the starting point of the dialogue we seek to open at the conference.

Since Otakar Zich was a personality of various interests and capacities, we propose to structure the conference at the intersection of three distinctive, though interconnected fields: theatre theory (and history), history and theory of music, and general aesthetics.

We welcome presentations covering a range of topics, such as:

  • terminological issues in contemporary theatre theory
  • current issues of structuralism and/or semiotics of theatre
  • theatre theory in relation to performance analysis
  • the reception of Prague School theatre theory
  • post-structuralist and “post” post-structuralist developments of theatre theory


  • drama as literature and as performance
  • opera as music and stage performance
  • modern stage direction (of drama, opera etc.)
  • the lasting relevance of Wagner’s concept of the Gesamtkunstwerk


  • individual theorists, their lives and works (e.g. Jiří Veltruský as a semiotician and person; Otakar Zich – a crossover of theory of art and practice; Michael L. Quinn – the reception of the Prague School in English-speaking academia)

Further suggestions contributing to the dialogue are welcome and will be considered.

Scholars from various fields as well as theatre practitioners, translators, and theatre critics are warmly invited to join and participate in the event either as speakers or as audience members.

A concert featuring selected parts of Zich’s mature operatic work Vina / The Guilt (1915), an oeuvre unperformed for almost 90 years, will be produced and performed in co-production of the Ensemble Opera Diversa and the National Theatre in Brno, bespoke on the occasion of the conference.

This conference is the second of a series of conferences connected to the journal THEATRALIA and explores further issues addressed at two previous Prague Semiotics Stage Revisited conferences (2011 and 2013). 

Keynote speakers

Prof. Veronika Ambros (University of Toronto)

Prof. Yana Merzoon (Universisity of Ottawa)

Dr Brian Locke (Western Illinois University)

Selected proceedings from the conference will be published in a special issue of THEATRALIA (vol. 2020/1; the paper submission deadline is April 30, 2019).

Paper proposals should include: 

  • paper title
  • abstract of 250–300 words
  • name(s) of the author/s
  • contact address
  • telephone number
  • email address
  • institutional affiliation
  • short biographical note (a maximum 300-word CV) 

Please send the proposed paper title, abstract, and biographical note and other relevant information to the conference organizers (both the addresses below) 

no later than February 15th, 2018.

Conference Organisers:

  1. Dr David Drozd, Head of Project and of the Department (Masaryk University):
  2. Klára Škrobánková (Masaryk University):

Conference fee for speakers: 800 CZK

On Behalf of the Project Organising Committee:

David Drozd (Masaryk University)

Tomáš Kačer (Masaryk University)

Pavel Drábek (University of Hull)

Šárka Havlíčková Kysová (Masaryk University, Brno)

Veronika Ambros (University of Toronto)

You are running an old browser version which is not fully supported information system anymore. Some applications might not display correctly, some functions might not work as expected or might not work at all.