If academia makes you think of bearded profs or long, candlelit hours in dusty libraries then it might surprise you to discover a collection of researchers, scholars and performers from across the world who are interested in professional wrestling. After a couple of conferences and some new publications (including – plug, plug – my own co-edited Performance and Professional Wrestling with Broderick Chow and Eero Laine) a bunch of us decided it was time to host our own show to explore the relationship between academia and wrestling even further. So in November 2017, as part of the countrywide Being Human Arts and Humanities Festival, Wrestling Resurgence was born at Attenborough Arts Centre, Leicester. We hosted a three-match card (Jetta v Millie Mackenzie, The Henchmen v Never Say Die, and Mark Haskins v Dave Mastiff), and finished with a Q&A with the wrestlers that discussed varied topics from past travels up the road to Marcel Marceau.
So, what are we up to? Well, we are a bunch of folks with a passion for exploring the history and conventions of pro-wrestling. We are all fans first and foremost but are also interested in the way we might approach pro-wrestling through our different subjects. From my own perspective, working in theatre and performance, I’m fascinated in things like scripts, character development, improvisation and audiences. Others think about the history of British pro-wrestling right back to the nineteenth century, or feminism and wrestling, or how contemporary media has transformed the way online audiences consume wrestling products. It’s a pretty diverse field.
Want to know more? Well, from a BritWres perspective you might want to check out the recent work of Ben Litherland, Broderick Chow, Carrie Dunn, Dan Ward, Tom Philips and Tom Alcott. Take a look at the Wrestling Resurgence Instagram or Twitter accounts and give us a follow. 2017 was a pretty epic year for BritWres; it was fairly awesome for us too. Here’s to a 2018 full of grunts, grapples and…perfectly organized footnotes.