Iconic Royal Opera House Mumbai Reopens (with a little help from LMU theatre historians)

Royal Opera House: view from the road

Royal Opera House: view from the road (Photo: Christopher Balme)

Tonight, on 20 October 2016, the historic Royal Opera House (ROH) in Mumbai will reopen after extensive restoration.  Under the direction of award-winning conservation architect Abha Narain Lambah the opera house has been restored to its original state when it first opened in 1912. The building has been owned by the Gondal family since the early 1950s and their commitment to its conservation has made this task possible. The LMU Global Theatre Histories project contributed to the restoration effort by providing the conservation team with rare written and visual material describing the interior of the building. Theatre historian Christopher Balme is researching the career of the theatrical impresario Maurice E. Bandmann (1872-1922) who built the ROH together with a Parsi coal merchant J.F. Karaka. While researching a term paper for a MA seminar, a student research assistant David Berger located an extremely rare publication in the Bavarian State Library, J.J. Sheppard (ed.), Territorials in India:  A Souvenir of Their Historic Arrival for Military Duty in the „Land of the Rupee“. From the Royal Opera House, Bombay. Prepared in Accordance with the Instructions of the Proprietor, J. F. Karaka. (1916). This publication (World Cat lists only two extant copies), funded by the proprietor of the ROH, contains a detailed description with photographs of the interior. In a recent interview Lambah acknowledged this help.The restoration itself has been a huge job as she stated on the eve of the opening: „“More than 54,000 days of manpower, skilled craftsmanship, stone sculptors, stain glass conservators, art restorators and technical engineers have gone into recreating this piece of history. About 100 years ago the Opera House was India’s most stunning cultural venue. We hope with this restoration it would open its doors once again to some of the finest live performances in music, dance, theatre, fashion and opera.” The opening tonight is a historic event and has attracted a great deal of media attention. Balme was interviewed recently for one of India’s leading online cultural publications, scroll.in,  to gain more information about Bandmann and his largely forgotten role in India’s theatre history.

View of the stage be

View of the stage before restoration (Photo: Christopher Balme)

Developing Theatre after 1945 – Lecture by Christopher Balme @ Uni Heidelberg


Tglobalgeschichte_vortragsreihe-uni-heidelberghe Department of History at Heidelberg University has invited Christopher Balme to speak about his new ERC project Developing Theatre as part of the department’s lecture series on Global History.

The lecture entitled Developing Theatre: Building Expert Networks for Theatre in Emerging Countries after 1945 will take place on Thursday, 19 January, 2017, 6pm. (Historisches Seminar, Grabengasse 3-5, Hörsaal, Heidelberg).

The new ERC project started recently at LMU Munich. For the next 5 years, an international team of researchers will be working on strategies and politics of developing theatre after the World War II. More on this new avenue of writing Global Theatre Histories will be published shortly!

Translocating Theatre Histories Symposium (19-21 August, 2016)

From 19 to 21 of August, the Global Theatre Histories project celebrates 5 years of successful work and inspiring collaboration with international partners as well as the kick-off of a new Center for Global Theatre Histories with a symposium on Translocating Theatre Histories.

Speakers and respondents are: Khalid Amine, Christopher Balme, Rustom Bharucha, Leo Cabranes-Grant, Catherine Cole, Tracy Davis, Marija Djokic, Anirban Ghosh, Nic Leonhardt, Marlis Schweitzer, Laurence Senelick,Rashna Nicholson, Berenika Szymanski-Düll, Gero Tögl, Maria Helena Werneck, meLê yamomo, Catherine Yeh

Conference venue: IBZ Munich, Amalienstrasse 38, 80799 Munich

Please contact Gero Tögl (gero.toegl@lrz.uni-muenchen.de) or Nic Leonhardt (n.leonhardt@lrz.uni-muenchen.de) for registration before 15 August.


Fresh from the Press: our GTH Booklet


GTH Booklet front pageOn the occasion of the final year of the Global Theatre Histories research project we compiled a little Booklet that we cordially invite you to browse.

Please do not hesitate to contact us if you would like to receive a hard copy of the booklet.

If you are attending the annual conference of the International Federation for Theatre Research in Stockolm this year, look out for a hard copy!

The research project comes to an end, yet we continue with a Center for Global Theatre Histories. More info coming soon.

The Journal of Global Theatre History (GTHJ) has published its first issue!

With a focus issue on Theatrical Trade Routes this new, peer-reviewed, open access online journal presents recent research in theatre history devoted to exploring the historical dimensions of theatre and performance from a global, transnational and transcultural perspective. The journal has grown out of a research project conducted at Ludwig-Maximilians-University Munich (LMU) entitled Global Theatre Histories: Modernization, public spheres and transnational theatrical networks 1860-1960 (GTH). Sponsored by the German Research Society (DFG) within its Reinhart Koselleck programme for high risk research this six-year project explored the emergence of theatre as a global phenomenon against the background of imperial expansion and modernization in the late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries. The Journal is issued by the recently established Center for Global Theater History, based at LMU’s Theatre studies department.
The journal for Global Theatre History is published twice a year and welcomes submissions that present original research on theatre, opera, dance, and popular entertainment against the backdrop of globalization studies, transnational and transcultural processes of exchange. We encourage submissions of material covering all historical periods areas, periods, or epochs of all genres of the performing arts, but place special emphasis on the eighteenth, nineteenth, and twentieth centuries.
The journal and more information on submissions, the review process, and future issues can be found at:

Ludwig-Maximilians-University Munich
Center for Global Theatre History
Theatre Studies
Georgenstraße 11
80799 Munich

The Editorial Team
Christopher Balme and Nic Leonhardt
Editorial Office
Gero Toegl
Gwendolin Lehnerer
Editorial Board
Derek Miller (Harvard), Helen Gilbert (Royal Holloway London)
Stanca Scholz-Cionca (Trier/Munich), Kati Röttger (Amsterdam)
Marlis Schweitzer (York University, Toronto)
Roland Wenzlhuemer (Heidelberg), Gordon Winder (Munich)

Terror and Performance – A Workshop

a short report by Rashna Nicholson
DFG Research Training Group: „Globalization and Literature. Representations, Transformations, Interventions“, LMU Munich, and associate of the GTH project

On 12 May 2015, Rustom Bharucha, Professor at the School of Arts & bharucha_webAesthetics, Jawaharlal Nehru University, New Delhi and acclaimed writer of Theatre and the World: Performance and the Politics of Culture,[1] conducted a workshop in Munich based on his most recent work, Terror and Performance.[2] Beginning with his impetus for the writing of his book (one of these being a production of Jean Genet’s The Maids in Manila in 2001), he went on to delineate the starting point of the work: the desire to free ‘terror’ from the language of ‘terrorism’. In this extrapolation of ‘terror’ from ‘terrorism’ he stated the methodological limits of such a view, the chief one being that of literary ‘sprawling’. Nevertheless such a point of view bolstered the ethical rationale in the process of the writing of the text. The second term that need tackling then was that of ‘Performance’ one that he stated was ‘less conditioned by the ‘artistic’ orchestration of a corporeal, ‘live’, rehearsed, time-and-space bound event, framed within the cultural norms of civic institutions like state theatres, than by a much wider understanding (..) inextricably linked to social interactions, behaviours, strategies, deceptions, manipulations, and negotiations of terror in the public sphere.’[3] Through the reclaiming of Judith Butler’s ‘performativity’ within the realm of theatrical praxis, Prof. Bharucha asked for a rethinking of performance as a set of tools to analyze terror. He explained his use of the latter through his clarifications on the ‘queering’ of Muslims as ‘terrorist’ through personal example and through the concept of performativity animating political discourse in the Truth and Reconciliation process in Rwanda and South Africa. Finally as a conclusion he turned to Gandhi’s activist performances in order to question the potency of non-violence in an age of terror. The discussion that took place after the presentation revolved primarily around methodological questions pertaining to the extrapolation of ‘terror’ from ‘terrorism’ and on the constitutive elements of performance. Visual aspects and the assumption of an audience common to both terrorism and performance were highlighted as also the ethics that need be deployed in the writing of terror or terrorism as performance.

[1] Rustom Bharucha, Theatre and the World: Performance and the Politics of Culture, London: Routledge, 1993.

[2] Rustom Bharucha, Terror and Performance, London: Routledge, 2014.

[3] Ibid., pp. 19-20.

Negotiating the Entertainment Business: Theatrical Brokers around 1900

Brokers Detail

Special focus issue of the Popular Entertainment Studies Journal, Vol 6, No 2 (2015)

Guest Editor: Nic Leonhardt (Munich)

“Between the artist who seeks for an engagement and the manager always on the look out for an extraordinary ‛novelty,’”, write Hughes Le Roux and Jules Garnier in Acrobats and Mountebanks (1890), “a third person necessarily intervenes, the middle-man, who arises everywhere between buyer and seller. And, in fact, at the present time all the principal cities of the world have their agents for performing artists of every kind. These personages are very important, and make large profits.”

Profits, Copyright, Royalties, Networking… From a transnational historical perspective, neither theatre as an art form nor theatre as a business can work without the patronage of professional mediators. When French actress Sarah Bernhardt (1844-1923) toured Europe, South and North America in the late-19th and early 20th centuries, she could not do so without professional agents and managers. They were responsible for arranging her contracts, negotiating her royalties, taking care of the travel logistics, (ship, train, accommodation, customs), arranging her itinerary, the transport of her costumes, and the press work. Despite their enormous influence , the practices, connections and circuits of artistic brokers in the period under consideration have been, in the main, under-researched.

The current issue of the Popular Entertainment Studies journal gathers a selection of papers from the international symposium “Cultural Brokers. Nomenclature, Knowledge and Negotiations of (Performance) Agents, Managers and Impresarios (1850-1930)”, which took place in October 2014. This conference, organized by Nic Leonhardt, and generously funded by the Center for Advanced Studies of the Ludwig Maximilian University of Munich and the German Research Foundation, brought together scholars from different disciplinary backgrounds such as English and American Studies, History, Theatre Studies, and History of Law, in order to exclusively and intensively discuss the profession of brokerage in the larger theatrical world in the period under discussion. The focus was therefore on the profession of theatrical brokers, agents, and impresarios who functioned as crucial cultural mediators in the fields of the performing arts and media in Europe, the United States, Asia, Australia, and Africa between 1880 and 1930.

Table of Contents

Nic Leonhardt: Editorial

Christopher Balme: Managing Theatre and Cinema in Colonial India: Maurice E. Bandmann, J.F. Madan and the War Films’ Controversy

meLê yamomo: Brokering Sonic Modernities: migrant Manila musicians in the Asia Pacific, 1881-1948

Tracy C. Davis: International Advocacy for Fire Prevention: Calculating Risk and Brokering Best Practices in Theatres

Louis Pahlow: Industrialised Music Brokers as Competing Market Players: The Administration of Music Rights in Germany (ca. 1870-1930)


New paper by Nic Leonhardt: „Re-routing the World Tour of the Boosra Mahin Siamese Theatre Troupe (1900)“

published in Theatre Research International, Volume 40 / Issue 02 / July 2015, pp 140-155


„Bangkok, Singapore, Paris, Vienna, Berlin, St Petersburg – some thirty performers of the Boosra Mahin Siamese Theatrical Troupe toured the world in 1900. Daily newspapers enthusiastically reported on the unprecedented shows of the performers ‘from the land of the white elephant’. After they disappeared from the map of theatre history, in 2010 Thai choreographer Pichet Klunchun ‘revives’ the troupe in his performance Nijinsky Siam. He follows their October 1900 St Petersburg show – the very performance attended by choreographer Mikhail Fokine and costume designer Léon Bakst, who later worked closely with Vaslav Nijinsky. In 1910, Nijinsky’s La danse siamoise/Siamese Dance premiered at the Marinsky Theatre, St Petersburg. This article follows the routes of the Boosra Mahin Troupe on the basis of selected primary sources and from a global-historical perspective. In tracing the Boosra Mahin Troupe and their tours, the article not only maps their manifold routings and reroutings, but also advocates for the need for a global theatre historiography that puts past cultural entanglements and connected performance histories centre stage.“


Prof. Laurence Senelick (Tufts University, USA) im Juni zu Gast am Institut für Theaterwissenschaft und dem Center for Advanced Studies (CAS) der LMU


Der renommierte amerikanische Theaterwissenschaftler Laurence Senelick wird vom 15. bis 30. 6. 2015 auf gemeinsame Einladung des DFG-Reinhart Koselleck-Projekts Global Theatre Histories der Theaterwissenschaft München und des CAS als Fellow zum Thema „Jacques Offenbach and Modern Culture“ forschen. Im Rahmen seines Aufenthalts findet auch ein Vortrag zum Thema


am 16. 6. 2015 um 19 Uhr s. t. am Institut für Theaterwissenschaft statt.

Laurence Senelick ist Fletcher Professor of Drama and Oratory at Tufts University, Fellow der American Academy of Art and Sciences, Distinguished Scholar der American Society for Theatre Research und Träger der St George medal of the Russian Ministry of Culture for contributions to Russian art and culture. Zu seinen zahlreichen Buchveröffentlichungen zählen Gordon Craig’s Moscow Hamlet, The Chekhov Theatre: A Century of the Plays in Performance, Gender in Performance, The Changing Room: Sex, Drag and Theatre, Stanislavsky: A Life in Letters, und Soviet Theatre: A Documentary History. Prof. Senelick veröffentlichte Übersetzungen mehrerer Klassiker der europäischen Dramatik (unter anderem Gogol, Tschechow, Strindberg, Schiller und Euripides) und arbeitete als Schauspieler und Regisseur an zahlreichen amerikanischen Theatern.

Weitere Informationen zu Prof. Senelick: http://dramadance.tufts.edu/people/senelick.htm

MOOC on Theatre & Globalization @ LMU, Feb 16th. Instructor: Christopher Balme

gth moocThis Massive Open Online Course (MOOC) will discuss how theatre, a European cultural practice, spread rapidly around the world in the late 19th and early 20th centuries. The modules will engage with both theoretical and historical perspectives on what is a relatively new area of theatrical research. How did plays, operas and ballets quite literally go global? What do we know about the itineraries of actors, singers, and dancers, what about the cosmopolitan audiences? What can we learn about agents and managers who facilitated the movement of theatre around the world?

Against the backdrop of recent research in the context of global and transnational history, based on case studies of the Global Theatre Histories research group, and enriched by numerous interviews with international experts, course instructor Christopher Balme and his team have developed a fascinating online course that will introduce students into theatre as a global phenomenon and familiarize them with global (historical) perspectives on theatre research.


more MOOCs at LMU

Theater & Globalisierung – Vortrag IBZ München, 3. Feb 2015


Theater ist von jeher eine mobile Angelegenheit – und sucht sich doch in Architektur und Konventionen lokale Verankerung. In seinem Vortrag wird Prof. Dr. Christopher Balme, Leiter des DFG-Projektes Global Theatre Histories Ergebnisse des Projektes vorstellen und die Parameter von Theater im Kontext von Globalisierung seit der Mitte des 19. Jahrhunderts beleuchten. Wie ist Globalisierung in dieser Zeit zu verstehen, und wie reagiert und bringt sich Theater in Zeiten kultureller Mobilität ein? Welche Stile, Konzepte wandern transnational? Was lässt sich über theatrale Handelsrouten sagen, die gleichsam ein Netz bilden, auf dessen SeilenTheaterpraktiker jonglieren? Werden „Einflüsse“ 1:1 adaptiert oder lassen sich kreative, subversive Praktiken der lokalspezifischen Adaptionen vermerken?

Diese und andere Fragen an einen historischen Zusammenhang von Theater und Globalisierung wird dieser Vortrag auch im Hinblick auf die gegenwärtige Positionierung von Theater in einer vernetzten Welt diskutieren.

Prof. Dr. Christopher Balme: Theater & Globalisierung

Dienstag, 3. Februar 2015, 18:30 Uhr, IBZ München

Vortrag CB Theater u Globalisierung 3 Feb IBZ

Gero Toegl: The Bayreuth Enterprise 1845-1914

Gero portrait

We warmly congratulate our fellow colleague Gero Toegl on the successful defense of his PhD thesis „The Bayreuth Enterprise 1845-1914“ on 15 January, 2015.(supervisor: Prof. Dr. Christopher Balme)

In his thesis, Gero (who joined the GTH project in 2010), investigates the world-famous Bayreuth Theatre Festival as a key institution in the history of late 19th century opera and theatre since its foundation in 1876. Following recent scholarship on global history, transnational theory and institutional historicism, Gero demonstrates that Wagner’s network relied on processes of international circulation, the construction of a specific transnational public sphere, and a web of worldwide operating institutions, and that it negotiated personal ties as well as economic, ideological, and artistic capital.


Impressions of our 1st ‘Hackfest’ – Feeding and Testing Our New Database

(left to right: Mehmet Özbek, Gero Tögl, Gwendolin Lehnerer, Tobi Englmeier, Lisa-Frederike Seidler, Nic Leonhardt, Christopher Balme; photo: Christine Kneifel, twm) Hackathon 16 Januar 2015

(left to right: Mehmet Özbek, Gero Tögl, Gwendolin Lehnerer, Tobi Englmeier, Lisa-Frederike Seidler, Nic Leonhardt, Christopher Balme; photo: Christine Kneifel, twm)

On Friday, 16 January, core members of the research projects Global Theatre Histories (PI: Christopher Balme) and Theatrescapes (PI: Nic Leonhardt) gathered for a joint hackathon. The goal of this ‘hack day’ was to employ, test, and also challenge the “Theatrescapes Research Tool”, developed by computational linguist Tobi Englmeier, and to enter data (textual, visual, georeferential) on theatres established worldwide since 1850 – both purpose built and non-purpose built –– into the Theatrescapes database. The tool will go online shortly and is designed to work as a research tool for mapping theatres of the world since the mid-19th century.

What is and how can you write Global Theatre Histories? – a Feature

EinsichtenOut now: „Die Welt – ein Theater“ – a feature by journalist Maximilian Burkhart about the work of Christopher Balme (PI) and Nic Leonhardt (Associate Director) and the GTH team.

Theatre Encompasses the Globe_English

Global Theatre Histories_Einsichten 1_2014


Brückenbauerin zwischen Kulturen und Disziplinen: Japanologin Stanca Scholz-Cionca Visiting Fellow am CAS!

Stanca Portrait bearbeitet

Auf Einladung der Theaterwissenschaft München, des Global Theatre Histories-Projektes (Prof. Ch. Balme) (www.gth.theaterwissenschaft.uni-muenchen.de) und des Zentrums für Japanstudien der LMU http://www.japan.uni-muenchen.de ist die in Cluj geborene Japanologin und Theaterwissenschaftlerin Stanca Scholz-Cionca im Juni und Juli als Visiting Fellow am Center for Advanced Studies (CAS) der LMU zu Gast. (www.cas.uni-muenchen.de)

Kabuki Theatre, Interior, 1765

Stanca Scholz-Cionca studierte zunächst Anglistik und Romanistik in Bukarest, später dann Japanologie, Sinologie und Theaterwissenschaft in München. Sie wurde 1989 mit einer Arbeit über Aspekte des mittelalterlichen Synkretismus im Bild des Tenman Tenjin im Nô an der LMU promoviert und habilitierte sich 1996 mit einer Arbeit über die Entstehung und Morphologie des klassischen Kyôgen im 17. Jahrhundert ebenda. Nach wissenschaftlicher Mitarbeit am Institut für Japanologie in München vertrat sie zunächst eine Professur für Japanologie an der FU Berlin (1996-1999), bevor sie als Professorin in Oslo (1999-2000) und schließlich Trier (2000-2012) tätig war.

Stanca Scholz-Cionca ist eine international renommierte Wissenschaftlerin auf den Gebieten der Japanologie und kulturvergleichenden Theaterwissenschaft und hat sich insbesondere mit ihren Arbeiten zu Nô-Theater, Kabuki, zeitgenössischem japanischen Theater, Kleinbühnen und Avantgarde und in jüngster Zeit im Bereich „Interweaving Theatrical Cultures“ einen Namen in der Fachwelt gemacht. Ihre Expertise in der Verbindung von Japanologie, Theaterwissenschaft und inter- beziehungsweise transkulturellen Studien in historischer wie zeitgenössischer Perspektivierung ist im deutschsprachigen Raum ohne Vergleich.

Die disziplinären und perspektivischen Brücken, die Frau Scholz-Cioncas akademisches Wirken prägen, wird sie auch während ihres Münchner Aufenthaltes schlagen. Neben Kolloquien mit Doktoranden und Studierenden wird sie unter anderem am 20. Juni auf der Konferenz Theatrescapes. Global Media & Translocal Publics  (www.theatrescapes.theaterwissenschaft.uni-muenchen.de/conference) über „New Patterns of Interaction: Tokyo Theatrescapes and the Foreign Press after 1900“  referieren und am 2.  Juli in der Ringvorlesung der TWM über „Theaterregie in Japan: Kontexte, Ansätze, Konzepte“ sprechen.

Wir freuen uns sehr auf den Austausch mit Stanca und danken dem CAS herzlich für die Unterstützung!