Special Issue "Religion and Theatrical Drama"

A special issue of Religions (ISSN 2077-1444).

Deadline for manuscript submissions: 15 September 2019

Special Issue Editors

Guest Editor
Prof. Dr. Larry D. Bouchard

Department of Religious Studies, University of Virginia, Charlottesville, VA 22904-4126, USA
Website | E-Mail
Interests: religion and literature/arts; theatrical drama; narrative fiction; modern theology and philosophy of religion; religious ethics; critical theory; hermeneutics; phenomenological aesthetics; theory and method in the study of religion
Guest Editor
Mr. Charles A. Gillespie

Department of Religious Studies, University of Virginia, Charlottesville, VA 22904-4126, USA
Website | E-Mail
Interests: theology; critical theory; hermeneutics; aesthetics; theatre and performance; religion and literature; religion and the arts; theory and method in the study of religion

Special Issue Information

Dear Colleagues,

This Special Issue of Religions proposes to reinvestigate and reinvigorate dialogue between studies of religion and theatrical drama. Dramatic terms—performativity, character, role, improvisation—have become ubiquitous in comparative and critical approaches to the study of religion. Thus, theatrical drama continues to stage theological themes, sacred stories, divine revelations and conundrums, and religious and moral dilemmas. The issue will take particular interest in the ways theatrical drama interacts dialectically with religions. Religious phenomena share family resemblences with theatrical drama as an artistic genre that entails the co-presence of live actors and live audience in events characterized by their people, actions, scripts, and practices. Theatrical drama illuminates religious questions regarding social construction and givenness, hermeneutics and practical wisdom, integrity and impersonation, repetition and difference, distortions and disclosures. At the same time, religious themes in plays encourage public discussion about God and the gods, trustworthy and dangerous traditions, identity and ethics, and the interpretations of the stories communities choose to celebrate or refuse to tell.

Religion and drama are inherently contested areas for research. We invite interpretive papers working at intersections between “religious” matters in theatrical drama (widely concieved to include literary-dramatic classics and new plays, music-dramas, political theatre, pageantry, devised performances, and more) and studies of religious thought, history, and practice. Inspired by drama’s metatheatrical reflexivity (that is, when plays and performances become aware of themselves as works of theatre), we invite reconsiderations of what may be seen as theatrical theologies and dramaturgical methods for the study of religion. Provoked by drama’s tragic conflicts and comic disruptions, we invite considerations of text and performance, story and spectacle, from varied approaches and across expected disciplinary lines. Theatrical drama generates exciting ways of engaging religion-related questions and of being engaged by them—ways that do not need to reduce to either sides of secular/religious, theory/praxis, and drama-as-literature/theatre-as-performance binaries.

Prof. Dr. Larry D. Bouchard
Mr. Charles A. Gillespie
Guest Editors

Manuscript Submission Information

Manuscripts should be submitted online at www.mdpi.com by registering and logging in to this website. Once you are registered, click here to go to the submission form. Manuscripts can be submitted until the deadline. All papers will be peer-reviewed. Accepted papers will be published continuously in the journal (as soon as accepted) and will be listed together on the special issue website. Research articles, review articles as well as short communications are invited. For planned papers, a title and short abstract (about 100 words) can be sent to the Editorial Office for announcement on this website.

Submitted manuscripts should not have been published previously, nor be under consideration for publication elsewhere (except conference proceedings papers). All manuscripts are thoroughly refereed through a double-blind peer-review process. A guide for authors and other relevant information for submission of manuscripts is available on the Instructions for Authors page. Religions is an international peer-reviewed open access monthly journal published by MDPI.

Please visit the Instructions for Authors page before submitting a manuscript. The Article Processing Charges (APCs) of 550 CHF (Swiss Francs) per published paper are partially funded by institutions through Knowledge Unlatched for a limited number of papers per year. Please contact the editorial office before submission to check whether KU waivers, or discounts are still available. Submitted papers should be well formatted and use good English. Authors may use MDPI's English editing service prior to publication or during author revisions.


  • religion and literature
  • narrative
  • performance
  • theatricality
  • spectacle
  • authenticity
  • character
  • dramaturgy
  • freedom
  • genre
  • representation (mimesis)

Published Papers

This special issue is now open for submission.
Religions EISSN 2077-1444 Published by MDPI AG, Basel, Switzerland RSS E-Mail Table of Contents Alert Logo copyright Steve Bridenbaugh/UUA
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