Since 1957, the year of founding of the International Federation for Theatre Research (IFTR), theatre scholars and IFTR members from all parts of the world (in fact from 44 different countries!) meet for their annual conference.
Both the conference theme and the location vary from year to year. The IFTR 2017 conference has a focus on Unstable Geographies: Multiple Theatricalities, and will be hosted by the University of São Paulo, Brazil.
After five truly fruitful and successful years and due to its ongoing disciplinary relevance, we reframed the DFG funded research project Global Theatre Histories as a Centre for Global Theatre History.
If you have any questions regarding the Centre’s agenda, possible fellowships, seminars, talks, etc, please do not hesitate to contact Nic Leonhardt, director of the GTH Centre, via n.leonhardt [at] lmu.de
Ernst Oppler. Pavlova as bacchante. Drawing. (Public Domain)
The Centre for Global Theatre History cordially invites to a public talk by London based reader and researcher Kate Elswit ( (Royal Central School of Speech and Drama, University of London) on Tracing Dynamic Spatial histories and Networks of Movement on the Move on Wednesday, 14 June, 12-1:30pm @ Institute for Theatre Studies, Georgenstrasse 11, Room #109.
„The talk is based on a series of collaborations between Kate Elswit and Harmony Bench regarding the ways in which digital research methods can work in tandem with more traditional scholarly methods to manage the scale and complexity of data in accounts of what we call “movement on the move,” which we explore through the phenomenon of dance touring alongside other modes of circulation and transmission. In the first part of the talk, I draw on the project’s early research into South American tours by Anna Pavlova’s company during World War One and American Ballet Caravan during World War Two. Here focus is on the database and the map as tools that expand our capacity to trace “dynamic spatial histories of movement.” In the second part of the talk, I turn to a new collaborative work in progress that focuses on the archives of African American choreographer and anthropologist Katherine Dunham. This new work broadens the scope of transmission to explore geographical and cultural mobilities in tandem, ultimately revealing the scale of personal, professional, and political networks surrounding a single artist, and proposing what such histories of circulation can offer to dance history.“
Kate Elswit is Reader in Theatre and Performance at the Royal Central School of Speech and Drama, University of London and author of Watching Weimar Dance and Theatre & Dance. She has won three major awards for scholarly publications and her research has been supported by many sources, including a Marshall Scholarship, a postdoctoral fellowship in the Andrew W. Mellon Fellowship of Scholars in the Humanities at Stanford University, the 2013 Lilian Karina Research Grant in Dance and Politics, and most recently a Batelle Engineering, Technology, and Human Affairs (BETHA) Endowment Grant with Harmony Bench. She also works as a choreographer, curator, and dramaturg.
From 26-28 May, 2017, GTH Centre director and associate director of the ERC project „Developing Theatre“, Nic Leonhardt, participated in the international conference „How to Change the World“ at Shanghai University. Organized by Iris Borowy, director of the new Center for the History of Global Development at University of Shanghai, this conference gathered mainly historians from different parts of the world for discussing case studies, methodologies, and political agendas of initiatives and notions of ‚development“ in different sectors such as medical aid, health, education, tourism, media, and political propaganda throughout the 20th century. Nic illuminated the outline and work packages of the project Developing Theatre. Building Expert Networks for Theatre in Emerging Countries after 1945.
Eine historische Perspektive auf postmigrantisches Theater.
We happily announce and cordially invite to the public talk on Post-Migrant Theatre by Azadeh Sharifi, associate of the Centre for Global Theatre History,
Dr. Sharifi’s talk (in German) will take place on Wednesday, 17 May, 12am (sharp)-1:30pm at Georgenstraße 11, 80799 Munich, room 109. The event is jointly organized by the Department of Theatre Studies LMU and the Centre for Global Theatre History.
Nic Leonhardt, director of the Centre for Global Theatre History, and the new Academy of Digital Humanities in Theatre Research @ GTH Centre, was invited by the research program CREATE of the University of Amsterdam to give a talk on Digital Humanities in Theatre History in the context of the program’s „CREATE Salon„, on 14 March, 2017.
Developing Theatre: Building Expert Networks for Theatre in Emerging Countries after 1945 reads the title of our new ERC funded research project under the umbrella of the Centre for Global Theatre History.
On Wednesday, 18 January, 2017, 12 (s.t.)-2pm the project’s leaders and researchers will introduce to the agenda of Developing Theatre at the Institute of Theatre Studies, Georgenstrasse 11, 80799 Munich, room #109.
This new research project, sponsored by the European Research Council, proposes a fundamental re-examination of the historiography of theatre in emerging countries after 1945. It investigates the institutional factors that led to the emergence of professional theatre in the post-war period throughout the decolonizing world. The particular focus will be on the massive involvement of internationally coordinated ‚development‘ and ‚modernization‘ programs both East and West. The project will introduce the concepts of epistemic community, expert networks and techno-politics to theatre historical research as a means to historicize theatre within transnational and transcultural paradigms and examine its imbrication in globalization processes.
With contributions by Christopher Balme (PI), Nic Leonhardt (Associate Director & Senior Researcher), Gautam Chakrabarti (PostDoc), Rebecca Sturm (PhD candidate).
The peer-reviewed online Journal of Global Theatre History has recently published its 2nd issue with special focus on Theatrescapes. Global Media and Local Publics. Explore this new issue and learn about the Denishawns in Asia, Sarah Bernhardt in Brazil, a female Jockey from the Rio de la Plata region, and German actor Daniel Bandmann performing Shakespeare globally.
The Centre for Global Theatre History cordially invites you to this guest lecture by Helen Gilbert, professor for theatre studies and currently a Alexander von Humboldt fellow at the Rachel Carson Centre, Munich.
Her talk aims to set up a dialogue between philosophical debates informing the concept of the anthropocene (loosely defined as the age of unprecedented human disturbance of the earth’s ecosystems) and recent indigenous performances concerned with the effects of climate change, not just on indigenous lands and lifeways, but also in global terms.
Helen Gilbert is Professor of Theatre at Royal Holloway, University of London, and author of several influential books, notably Performance and Cosmopolitics: Cross-Cultural Transactions in Australasia (2007) and Postcolonial Drama: Theory, Practice, Politics (1996). From 2009–14, she led the transnational ERC-funded project on indigenous performance across the Americas, the Pacific, Australia and South Africa. She has curated experimental performance work in universities and museums and brought performance-based insights to scientific research, notably in Wild Man From Borneo: A Cultural History of the Orangutan (2014). Recent books: In the Balance: Indigeneity, Performance, Globalization (2017) and Recasting Commodity and Spectacle in the Indigenous Americas (2014).
„Cultural historians have not sufficiently analyzed how theatre directors and performers coordinated artistic endeavors in the years before Soviet and Western-Allied powers set parameters for cultural life in postwar Berlin. The re-emergent culture after 1945 arose from an artistic collaboration between German-language artists and military officers from four zones of foreign occupation. Evidence suggests that before a German defeat was inevitable, Soviet leaders and exiled artists planned a future cultural policy for Germany and Austria. Officers in the occupied zones recognized the political power of culture and subsidized theatre. Artists knew that the theatre could be a useful conduit to bring recent history to the public. What does this suggest about the theatre repertoire in Vienna, another city, defeated and managed by four world powers? This lecture will explore the interplay of forces that defined the cultural heritage of the occupation in the early postwar years, while tapping into historiographical, national narratives of Germany and Austria.“
Nic’s talk Geteilte Geschichte(n): Exploring theatre histories as shared and divided deals with Shalini Randeria’s and Andreas Eckert’s understanding of history as ‚geteilt‘, i.e. divided and shared, and discusses whether we could speak of third understanding of history, that of „common“ or „commons“. She will also talk about the work of the GTH Centre as well as the Theatrescapes database.
In addition, conference delegates will have the chance to learn more about the GTH Center and its projects at a ‚Community Café‘ to take place during the symposium.
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 before restoration (Photo: Christopher Balme)
The 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!