Acting on Television symposium- Friday 8th April 2016

Registration is now open! Please follow the link to register for the symposium:

Please note that registration closes on the 1st April!


We are pleased to announce that Phil Davis will be joining us at the symposium. Phil Davis, who has been described by The Guardian as 'the unsung hero of British character acting', is an award-winning, highly esteemed actor whose extensive career spans theatre (NT, RSC among others), film (with a long association with Mike Leigh) and television. His recent work for television includes Being Human (BBC), Bleak House (BBC), Poldark (BBC), Sherlock (BBC), Silk (BBC) and Whitechapel (ITV). We look forward to discussing with him his work, acting for television and overall experience as a professional working actor.

He will join confirmed Keynote speaker Prof. Jonathan Bignell, distinguished researcher in Television Studies.

The deadline for proposal submission is 30th October. See the Call for papers for further details.


Call for Papers

Acting on Television - Analytical Methods and Approaches:

An International One-Day Symposium organized as part of the tenth anniversary celebrations for

Critical Studies in Television

Friday 8 April 2016, University of Reading

Scholarship on television and acting is a burgeoning field, both in the Anglophone world and internationally. This is important, not only because acting is central to the appeal of TV drama in all its forms, but also because the methodological strengths of television studies as a discipline can help meaningful engagement with acting. Television studies' diverse and inter-disciplinary approaches have, for example, moved the field beyond the long-standing focus on stars, and towards considering the labour and creative agency of 'regular' working actors.

This symposium aims to take stock of past and present achievements, and to look ahead to the remaining challenges for critical reflection on television and acting. We welcome proposals for papers, panels and flash panels on all aspects of television and acting, including:

  • Acting as creative agency and aesthetic achievement
  • Acting as labour and industrial product
  • Acting and the vexed issue of precise critical vocabulary
  • Acting and the contexts of training, rehearsal and process
  • Acting and risk and/or failure
  • Acting and cultures of production and/or reception
  • Acting and the significance of (developments in) technology and/or genre
  • Acting and history/historiography
  • Acting and professional working relationships and collaborative networks
  • Acting and scholarly methodology and/or disciplinary traditions
  • Acting and the politics of representation, on- and off-screen
  • Acting and the social and cultural background of actors
  • Acting across the boundaries of nation and/or medium

Individual case studies are welcome, especially those that seek to engage with wider questions and issues. We particularly welcome contributions that compare UK television acting with that of other TV cultures, and/or engage with non-Anglophone traditions of drama and acting.

Confirmed Keynote Speaker

Professor Jonathan Bignell, University of Reading

Fraser Ayres, Actor


Proposal Submissions

Please submit a title and max. 300-word abstract along with institutional affiliation and max. 150-word bio, or a panel proposal (minimum 3 speakers, 300 word panel rationale plus 300 words per paper abstract) to: by the 30th October 2015.

Selected papers will be considered for publication at a special issue of Critical Studies in Television.

Symposium Team


Dr Simone Knox, University of Reading

Professor Stephen Lacey, University of South Wales


Dr Tonia Kazakopoulou, University of Reading

Follow us on twitter: @ActingonTV

Acting on Television - Programme

09:00 - 09:45 [Registration - Coffee, Foyer]

09:45 - 10:00 - Welcome, Bulmershe Theatre

Simone Knox (University of Reading), Stephen Lacey (University of South Wales)

10:00 - 11:15 - Keynote address and Q&A, Bulmershe Theatre

'Performing Television History', Jonathan Bignell (University of Reading)

11:15 - 11:30 [Coffee Break, Foyer]

11:30 - 13:00

Panel 1: Training Actors for Television: Historical Contexts and Contemporary Developments - Bulmershe Theatre

'Too Little, Too Late? Early Television Actor Training in British Drama Academies', Richard Hewett (University of Salford)

'Training, Preparation and Rehearsal: How Do Television Actors Develop Their Craft?', Tom Cantrell (University of York)

'Agents in the Field: Examining Strategies of Actor Agency in Contemporary Television Drama Production', Christopher Hogg (Sheffield Hallam University)

Panel 2: Acting on TV: Value and Evaluation - Bob Kayley Theatre

'Setting the scene: valuing television as a medium for performance', Lucy Fife Donaldson (University of St Andrews) and James Walters (University of Birmingham)

'Non-professional acting in Reality-TV as "over-the-norm-acting"', Anna Luise Kiss (Film University Babelsberg Konrad Wolf)

'When Henry met Tony: The Hollow Crown, Imperialist Performances, and Quality Television', Dan Leberg (University of Amsterdam)

'The Invisible Labour of Television's Acting Doubles', Zoë Shacklock (University of Warwick)

13:00 - 14:15 [Lunch, Foyer]

14:15 - 15:45

Panel 3: Acting Processes and the Actor's Perspective - Bob Kayley Theatre

'Off Script and Outside the Greenroom', Inga Burrows (University of South Wales) and Jeremy Cockram 'custodian of Sion White' (Pobol y Cwm)

'The Hermeneutics of Casting and Acting in the Israeli Drama Series BeTipul/In Treatment', Anat Sella Inbar (Sapir College and The Hebrew University of Jerusalem)

'Acting and performance control - the actor's experience of live television drama', Joanna MacDonnell (University of Brighton)

'Long life Characters and Acting in TV Serial Narratives', Héctor J. Pérez (Universitat Politècnica de València)

Panel 4: Genre and Form - Bulmershe Theatre

'The Intertextuality and Politics of Acting in Northern England TV Drama', Peter Atkinson (University of Central Lancashire)

'Glance, gesture and inference in Hunters Walk (ITV/ATV 1973-76): Acting for multi-camera popular drama in the 1970s', Billy Smart (Royal Holloway College)

'The one with the break-up: The performance of emotional realism in Friends', Lydia Buckingham (King's College London)

'Cliffhangers and Monstrous Threats: Performing the Protagonist's Jeopardy in Doctor Who', Gregor Cameron (Aberystwyth University)

15:45 - 16:00 [Coffee Break, Foyer]

16:00 - 17:15 - Keynote address and Q&A, Bulmershe Theatre

Phil Davis (Actor)

17:15 - 17:30 - Closing Proceedings, Bulmershe Theatre

Simone Knox (University of Reading), Stephen Lacey (University of South Wales)

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