FOOT 2021: Bordered States

When and Where

Thursday, February 25, 2021 3:30 pm to Saturday, February 27, 2021 8:30 pm


The Forum of Original Theatre / Theory / Thought is the annual graduate conference held by the Centre for Drama, Theatre and Performance Studies at the University of Toronto. This year's conference will take place online from February 25 to 27, 2021. Registration is now open.

The Forum of Original Theatre/Theory/Thought (formerly the Festival of Original Theatre) began as a student-led initiative to showcase original dramatic works in a festival format. Over the last decade, FOOT has evolved from these festival beginnings into a diverse conference which places in conversation, academic papers, panels, workshops, and performances.  

In launching the 29th iteration of the event, the organizers rebranded the former ‘festival’ to encompass the rich variety of its current creative offerings and have redefined the conference as a forum – a place to gather, share, and discuss ideas. By adding Theory/Thought to its title, the interdisciplinary nature of both the conference, and the work of the Centre for Drama, Theatre and Performance Studies are acknowledged. The goal of FOOT remains the same: to provide graduate students and the performing arts community an academic outlet to showcase, critique, review, perform, discuss, and analyze the changing world of drama, theatre, dance, and performance. 

This year's conference theme is Bordered States. 

Borders create. They create nation, culture, and community. They can bring people together and force others apart. As we prepare to host this conference in a time marked by physical distancing, isolation, and quarantines, we find ourselves acutely aware of the many borders that surround us. With designated waiting areas and circles to ensure physical distancing, even the simple acts of grocery shopping, or visiting a public park, now present as a choreography of borders.

Beyond the individual level, the global politics of 2020 are also preoccupied with the tensions of bordered existence. From the recent surge in regionalism and protectionism, to restrictions on domestic and international travel in response to the COVID-19 crisis, to worldwide calls for racial justice by the Black Lives Matter movement, and protests against pipelines that threaten to encroach on unceded Indigenous territory — across the world, borders are simultaneously being performed, interrogated, reinforced, and transgressed.

FOOT 2021: Bordered States seeks to engage with this bordered existence through the lens of performance. How are borders performed? How are bordered identities expressed? How have borders been explored in creative ways through art, theatre, music, media, and dance? We are particularly interested in the multiple meanings that the theme presents. We take ‘bordered states’ to mean:

a bordered State – that is, a nation, country, province, or territory 

the state of being bordered – that is, the state of living in, on, or in-between borders of culture, identity, technology, or place 

Our hope is to spark meaningful dialogue about the nature of borders and to allow space for presenters to consider their work in the context of these bordered states. We look forward to all the conversations that will take place at our very first online-only, socially distanced FOOT conference! 

The conference will run concurrently in two zoom rooms. 

Start and end times are: 
Feb 25 – 3:30 to 8:30 pm
Feb 26 – 1:00 to 8:00 pm
Feb 27 – 10:00 am to 8:30 pm

Registration for FOOT 2021 is now open. You can also view the conference program. For more details visit