The S Word:
Stanislavsky's Last Words...

11th – 13th November 2022
An international symposium presented by DAMU
and The Stanislavsky Research Centre.

About conference

The International Symposium The S Word: Stanislavsky's Last Words… The Event results from an international research collaboration between Theatre Faculty of the Academy of Performing Arts in Prague (DAMU), The S Word and The Stanislavsky Research Centre (University of Leeds/University of Malta).

Stanislavsky's heroic struggle to complete his life's mission in the last four years of his life ran in two parallel lines which can be considered complementary. His practical research developed in the form of Active Analysis/Method of physical actions and his documenting the System, recollecting and reworking his older texts and experiences. This laid the ground for a potential dichotomy and uncertainty in respect of the transmission of live practice and methodology.

This symposium will focus on the problems of the transmission of Stanislavsky's final research in its artistic, socio-political and broadly historical context and follow its contemporary re-discovery and renewal, explored through the sharing of both theoretical and practical research.

The symposium will bring together a number of distinguished international guest speakers. The event will feature Keynote addresses by Professor Maria Shevtsova (Goldsmiths University of London), author of Re-Discovering Stanislavsky and Professor Sharon Marie Carnicke (University of Southern California) whose books include Stanislavsky in Focus. Professor Bella Merlin (University of California Riverside), author of The Complete Stanislavsky Toolkit will present a guest workshop, and Professor Rhonda Blair author of The Actor, Image and Action (Southern Methodist University) will chair a special guest panel event.

The Stanislavsky Research Centre and its associated activities wishes to acknowledge its unequivocal support for Ukrainian arts workers, performers, teachers and researchers and for those Russian practitioners and academics who have bravely and openly condemned the actions of the government of the Russian Federation in their unprovoked attack upon the people of Ukraine.

The S Word: Stanislavsky's Last Words will include a special session devoted to Ukrainian Theatre and the work of Ukrainian practitioners and academics in our field.

This symposium is the third event developed in the collaboration between DAMU and The S Word, the first was Merging Methodologies (2017), and the second was Bertolt Brecht: Contradictions as a Method (2019).


DAMU is an university-level art school, providing professional education in all branches of theatre: acting, directing, dramaturgy, scenography, theory and criticism, theatre management, authorial creativity and drama in education in the fields of regular and alternative theatre, performance studies and puppetry. Theatre faculty is open to all fruitful domestic and international ideas, which brings and reflects especially through conferences or symposiums. DAMU in cooperation with The Academy of Sciences organized A Performance Philosophy Conference (2018), the 3rd biennial conference of the international network founded in 2012. Other recent symposiums include Teaching to Transgress (2017), focused on teaching devised theatre, and Chaos and Method (2018), dealt with the eclecticism in contemporary performance. DAMU had often hosted lectures and workshops by renowned international scholars and theatre practitioners including Thomas Ostermeier, Anatolij Smeljanski, Laurence Senelick and others. The symposium is the outcome of research project coordinated by The Institute for research of authorial acting.

The S Word Events – a brief history

The S Word: Stanislavski and Contemporary Theatre is a unique international research project, created and convened by Bella Merlin and Paul Fryer, which explores the legacy of Konstantin Stanislavski in a contemporary context.

The project was launched in March 2016 with an international symposium, The S Word: Stanislavski and the Future of Acting, hosted by Rose Bruford College of Theatre and Performance, Sidcup, U.K.. The event attracted more than 100 delegates from all over the world, and 46 presenters gave papers and practical workshops. Material from that event was published in the May 2017 edition of Stanislavski Studies (

The opening night of the 2016 symposium included a main keynote address given by Professor Jonathan Pitches (University of Leeds), and Dr. Stefan Aquilina (University of Malta), and the annual Stanislavski Centre/Routledge lecture, delivered by Professor Sharon Marie Carnicke (University of Southern California).

A one-day follow up event, The S Word: Translating the Art/The Art of Translation, presented in collaboration with The University of Westminster, was hosted by Pushkin House in Central London in July 2016.

The second symposium, The S Word: Merging Methodologies, was presented in partnership with DAMU Theatre Academy in Prague in March 2017. The event featured keynote addresses by the Stanislavski Centre's Hon. Patron, Professor Anatoly Smeliansky (Moscow Art Theatre School/Harvard University) and Professor Jan Burian (General Director of the Czech National Theatre), and a wide variety of presentations and workshops from scholars and practitioners from the UK, USA, Canada, Czech Republic, Russia, France, Poland, Australia and Brazil.

A third event, The S Word: A Practical Acting Laboratory, followed at the University of California Riverside in April 2018. Featuring the work of master-teachers Sharon Marie Carnicke, Tina Packer and Kimberly Guerrero; participants took part in extensive workshop sessions supported by debate and critical enquiry.

The S Word: Stanislavski in Context was presented at The University of Malta, in April, 2019, with a Keynote presentation by Professor Laurence Senelick, and Bertold Brecht: Contradictions as a Method at DAMU Prague in November 2019.

Since 2020, The S Word has presented a series of online webinars under the collective title, Stanislavsky And... which explore Stanislavsky's teaching and legacy in the context of contemporary issues and concerns. The topics have included Race, Pedagogy, Gender, Intimacy and Emotion/Language. These webinars will form the basis of a new book series to be published by Routledge, starting in 2023.

One of the principal objectives of The S Word is to make available the best of contemporary scholarship around Stanislavsky's work and legacy, both in the form of academic papers and practical workshops/master-classes, via our website and publication in the journal Stanislavski Studies. A major resource for all scholars and theatre-enthusiasts who wish to extend their knowledge of Stanislavsky and those who followed him.

The S Word is a collaborative international research project: partners currently include London South Bank University, University of California Riverside, DAMU Prague, The University of Malta, Teatro Escola Macunaima, Sao Paulo, The University of Leeds (UK), Western Australian Academy of Performing Arts, Perth, and The National and Kapodistrian University of Athens, Greece.

Welcome to The S Word.

Stanislavsky and the Contemporary Theatre