Über Nic Leonhardt

Theatre and Media Scholar, Associate Director "Global Theatre Histories"

PhD position, „Developing Theatre“ (ERC project, LMU Munich)

Call for applications
PhD Student Position

The Department for Theatre Studies at LMU Munich is seeking to fill a Doctoral Position within the European Research Council project „Developing Theatre: Building Expert Networks for Theatre in Emerging Countries after 1945

Topic: Theatre for Development: Historical and Theoretical Perspectives

Within the wider research project we are seeking to fill a research position leading to a doctorate. The candidate must have a strong interest in historical research/archival work because the larger project is historical in orientation. Experience of Theatre for Development projects would be useful but not essential.

Commencement: 1 September 2018 or soon after

Qualifications: The successful candidate will have an excellent academic track record. We expect a strong interest in the intersections between theatre/performance and development issues and a very high level of motivation to engage in theoretical and historiographical reflection.

– Excellent MA with thesis in theatre studies, history or anthropology

– Excellent (oral and written) communication skills in English; basic German language skills are beneficial but not required

– willingness to contribute to the work of the research group by attending meetings and other activities

Disabled candidates are preferentially considered in case of equal qualification. Applications from women are encouraged.

Salary: 65% of a full time position according to the TV-L 13 public service salary scales.

Tenure: The contract will be initially for two years with a further one year extension subject to a performance review.

For more information please contact

Prof. Christopher Balme (balme@lmu.de) or PD Dr. Nic Leonhardt (n.leonhardt@lmu.de).

Please send your applications with full CV including list of publications, letter of motivation, and references in one pdf document by March 31, 2018 to
E-Mail: n.leonhardt@lmu.de

Doug Reside, PhD, Visiting Fellow at the Centre for Global Theatre History

We are very pleased to announce that Doug Reside, PhD, curator of the Billy Rose Collection at the Library of the Performing Arts, New York, will join the Centre for Global Theatre History, LMU Munich, as a visiting fellow in January 2018.

In close collaboration with the Centre’s Academy of Digital Humanities in Theatre Research, he will give a talk, teach a seminar for students of theatre studies, DH, media culture and dramaturgy of the LMU Munich and the Theatre Academy August Everding, and will be holding workshops for the research team of the ERC project Developing Theatre.

His talk How do you Catch A Cloud and Pin it Down: Preserving Digital Creativity on Wednesday, 17 January, 12-1:30pm, is open to the public and will be taking place at the Institute for Theatre Studies, Georgenstrasse 11, 80799 Munich, room #109.

Short biography Doug Reside

Philanthropy, Development and the Arts – Check Out Our Conference Website

The first conference of our ERC project Developing Theatre will be focusing on „Philanthropy, Development and the Arts: Histories and Theories“ and is taking place from 23-25 July, 2018, at Carl Friedrich von Siemens Foundation in Munich.

20 speakers from 13 different countries were selected for interdisciplinarily interrogating the interrelationship between philanthropic foundations and NGOs, the notion of „development“, and the visual and performing arts throughout the 20th and 21st centuries.

We set up a website/blog for the conference. All updates and info can be retrieved there.

Conference attendance is free of charge, yet registration is required.

For further info please contact the organizers,

PD Dr. Nic Leonhardt (n.leonhardt@lmu.de) & Prof. Dr. Christopher Balme (balme@lmu.de)


CfP IFTR Working Group Digital Humanities in Theatre Research, 9-13 July, 2018, Belgrade, Serbia

The Working Group Digital Humanities in Theatre Research of the International Federation for Theatre Research (IFTR) will be meeting at the next annual IFTR conference at the University of Arts in Belgrade, Serbia, 9-13 July, 2018. The call for papers can be downloaded here.

We are soliciting papers and project presentations that represent the full range of experience theatre scholars and practitioners have with Digital Humanities.

We are especially interested in topics that:

  • Introduce important digital humanities projects in theatre and performance studies.
  • Examine the theoretical implications of Digital Humanities for our research into theatre and performance
  • Explore new methodologies in theatre research based on digital technologies
  • Focus on digital theatre history and historiography
  • Discuss best practices for digital humanities projects in theatre and performance
  • Elaborate on innovations in academic curricula in theatre and performance studies inspired by the Digital Humanities
  • Investigate the challenges of crowdsourcing or the use of “citizen scholars” in Digital Humanities research.

Working groups are not required to address the theme of an IFTR conference but papers which enter into conversation with the theme are most welcome. The theme of the 2018 conference will be Theatre and Migration. Theatre, Nation and Identity: between Migration and Stasis.

Abstracts are due by Monday, 15 January, 2018 and are to be submitted through the Cambridge Core website https://www.cambridge.org/core/membership/iftr where you can also find information on IFTR membership and a link to the conference website with full details of the conference.

If you have any questions, please do not hesitate to contact the WG convenors,

Nic Leonhardt (LMU Munich, Director, Centre of Global Theatre History & Academy for DH in Theatre; ERC project Developing Theatre, LMU)  n.leonhardt@lmu.de & nic.leonhardt@gmx.de

Franklin J. Hildy (University of Maryland): hildy@umd.edu

see you in Belgrade ! 

Talk @ Symposium “European Performing Arts Dataverse” , CREATE Amsterdam, 9-10 Nov, 2017

From 9-10 November, the CREATE research programme, University of Amsterdam, holds a workshop on “European Performing Arts Dataverse (EPAD)”, jointly with the Flemish Scientific Research Community “Cultures of Spectacle”.

The workshop seeks to “to assess the feasibility of creating an international framework and data model that would allow for harmonisation of different European datasets on performing arts, in order to facilitate research on transnational and cross-sectoral connections and comparisons”.

Nic Leonhardt, co-Director of the Centre for Global Theatre History and the Centre’s Academy of Digital Humanities in Theatre Research, will give a talk on “DH in Theatre History, and the Challenges of ‘(Trans-)Cultural Interoperability’” , and shall introduce into the digital infrastructure of the ERC project Developing Theatre.

Click here for the programme. Attendees welcomes, registration is mandatory.

Hashtags: #EPAD #CREATE #nicleonhardt #DHinTheatre #TheatreHistory

CfP: „Philanthropy, Development, and the Arts“, International Conference, 23-25 July, 2018

From 23-25 July, 2018, our ERC funded project Developing Theatre will be hosting its first international conference with a special focus on Philanthropy, Development and the Arts: Histories and Theories. At the conference, we seek to interrogate the impact of philanthropy on the field of arts – visual arts, theatre, music, dance, opera, drama education, etc. –  between the 19th and 21st centuries. The conference aims at discussing the work, impact, successes and failures of private and corporate philanthropy and NGOs, including semi-statist organizations such as the Goethe Institut, or the British Council, from the perspectives of history, cultural history, political sciences, art and theatre history.

We are looking for paper proposals addressing the following aspects:

  • Shifting discourses of philanthropy in respect to arts and cultural funding
  • Philanthropic and NGO initiatives in the arts in countries such as Africa, India, Chile, etc.
  • From colonialism to philanthropy: the de/re-colonization of cultural aid
  • Philanthropy vs./ the state: how non-governmental can non-governmental organizations be?
  • Case studies on the private funding of arts and artists with a special focus on development
  • Case studies on field officers, representatives and ‘arts experts’ in charge of philanthropic foundations and NGOs
  • Soft power: arts philanthropy and cultural diplomacy
  • Other related topics will also be considered.

The complete call for papers can be downloaded  here.

Deadline for paper proposals: 30 November, 2017.

The conference will take place from Monday, 23 to Wednesday, 25 July, 2018 at Carl Friedrich von Siemens Stiftung, Munich.

A preliminary programme will be available by spring 2018.

For any inquiries, please do not hesitate to contact PD Dr Nic Leonhardt, Associate Director of the Developing Theatre Project: n.leonhardt@lmu.de.




new series: A Cultural History of Theatre (ed. C. B. Balme & T. C. Davis), Bloomsbury

Edited by Tracy C. Davis and Christopher B. Balme, this new Cultural History of Theatre series offers an insightful survey from ancient times (500 BCE) to the present. The set of six volumes covers a span of 2,500 years, tracing the complexity of the interactions between theatre and culture.
Each volume discusses the same themes in its chapters, namely Institutional Frameworks,  Social Functions, Sexuality and Gender, The Environment of Theatre, Circulation, Interpretations, Communities of Production, Repertoire and Genres, Technologies of Performance, and Knowledge Transmission: Media and Memory.

Volume 1: A Cultural History of Theatre in Antiquity (Edited by Martin Revermann)
Volume 2: A Cultural History of Theatre in the Middle Ages (Edited by Jody Enders)
Volume 3: A Cultural History of Theatre in the Early Modern Age (Edited by Robert Henke)
Volume 4: A Cultural History of Theatre in the Age of Enlightenment (Edited by Mechele Leon)
Volume 5: A Cultural History of Theatre in the Age of Empire (Edited by Peter Marx)
Volume 6: A Cultural History of Theatre in the Modern Age (Edited by Kim Solga)

Five GTH Centre members contributed to volume 5, A Cultural History of theatre in the Age of Empire: Jim Davis, Nic Leonhardt, Derek Miller, Stanca Scholz-Cionca, and Laurence Senelick.

Indian Theatre Artists and the Cold War. ERC Workshop at IIC, New Delhi, 29-30 Sept 2017

The first workshop of the ERC project Developing Theatre is taking place in New Delhi. Organized by Gautam Chakrabarti, PostDoc of the research group, this workshop brings together theatre, art and media scholars and practitioners from India and Europe at the beautiful India International Centre, New Delhi (29-30 September, 2017).

Post-independence India was one of the key sites where the “cultural Cold War” was fought–more often than not– with as much gusto and ruthlessness as its ideological and military counterparts. Theatre was one of the core areas in which this cultural conflict was played out between the 1950s and 1980s, with almost all the major players, both individual and collective or institutional, in contemporary Indian theatre having gone through the ’rite de tomorrow passage’ of ideological training. Academic exploration of these political contestations and problematisations of cultural practices, especially in the Indian context, have opened up larger horizons of possible enquiry. This workshop seeks to bring practitioners, scholars and witnesses of this fascinating history into dialogue with one another.

Participants: V. Akshara (NINASAM, Heggudu) – Christopher Balme (LMU Munich; PI ERC-Project „Developing Theatre“) – Trina N. Banerjee (Centre for Studies in Social Sciences, Calcutta) – Gautam Chakrabarti (LMU Munich, ERC-Project „Developing Theatre“ – Dwaipayan Chowdhury (Jawaharlal Nehru University, Delhi) – Anirban Ghosh (Jadavpur University, Calcutta) – Rakshanda Jalil (Writer, Critic and Literary Historian, Delhi) – Minakshi Kaushik (Jawaharlal Nehru University, Delhi) – Malashri Lal (Convener, English Advisory Board, Sahitya Akademi, Delhi) – Nic Leonhardt (LMU Munich, Associate Director, ERC-Project „Developing Theatre“) – Raghunandana Sathamarshana (Poet, Playwright and Stage-Director, Bengaluru) – Tripurari Sharma (National School of Drama, Delhi) – Vani Tripathi-Tikoo (Member, Central Board of Film Certification, Delhi) –Atul Tiwari (Theatre-, Media- and Film-Practitioner, Independent Scholar, Mumbai)

The workshop is internal. The programme can be downloaded here.

New Publication Out: The Bayreuth Enterprise (1848-1914) by Gero Tögl

Gero Tögl, former PhD student of the Global Theatre Histories research project and associate of the GTH Centre, has just published his PhD thesis The Bayreuth Enterprise, 1848-1914.

In this monograph, Gero reassesses the early history of the Bayreuth Festival between 1848 and 1914 from the perspective of a transnational social project dedicated to the ‚regeneration‘ of modern societies and istitutional reform.  Based on recent debates in globalization theory, ethnography, and anthropology, the book focuses on the interplay of seemingly contradictory aspects such as financing and anti-capitalist ideology, nationalism and the cosmopolitan reach of Wagner’s ideas, artistic monopolization and global marketing.

Gero Tögl: The Bayreuth Enterprise (1848-1914). Würzburg: Königshausen & Neumann 2017. (ISBN  978-3-8260-6011-3) 

New Article Out Now: Theatrical Institutions in Motion (C. Balme)

The first peer-reviewed publication of the new ERC project „Developing Theatre: Building Expert Networks for Theatre in Emerging Countries after 1945” just came out in the Journal of Dramatic Theory and Criticism (vol. 31, 2, 2017).

In his paper “Theatrical Institutions in Motion: Developing Theatre in the Postcolonial Era” the project’s principal investigator Christopher Balme examines the complex transnational processes that led to an institutionalization of theatre in emerging nations after 1945.

Christopher Balme: „Theatrical Institutions in Motion: Developing Theatre in the Postcolonial Era“, Journal of Dramatic Theory and Criticism, vol. 31, no. 2, 2017, pp. 125–140.

Article available on Project MUSE.


IFTR 2017 in São Paulo – Annual Conference

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.

Five associates and researchers of the Centre for Global Theatre Histories and the ERC project Developing Theatre will be attending #IFTR2017 and present papers on their current topics of research:

Christopher Balme: Theatrical modernism for the world: Theatrical Epistemic Communities 1920-1960.

Gautam Chakrabarti: The Red Bear has Awoken!: Soviet Engagement with Indian Theatre Artists in the Cold War.

Nic Leonhardt: “… Enlarging the Boundaries of Human Knowledge“– by Means of Theatre: Multiple Theatricalities and the Philanthropic Agenda of Stabilizing Cultural Geographies after 1945.

Rashna Darius NicholsonWhat’s in a name? The role of language in the invention of colonial and postcolonial South Asian theatre history

Azadeh SharifiDis/Continuity of Post-migrant theatre in Germany theatre history.


Facelift of GTH: new Centre, Logo, Website

Same agenda – new concept.

Same web address – new face.

New centre  – new logo.  


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.

Our new website went online recently. Check it out!

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

We would like to thank Maryam Khosrovani for the logo !


Guest Lecture by Kate Elswit: „Tracing Dynamic Spatial Histories and Networks of Movement on the Move“

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.

„How to change the World“ – Conference in Shanghai, 26-28 May, 2017

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. 

Public Talk on ‚Post-Migrant‘ Theatre


Was war vor dem Post?

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.

Azadeh Sharifi abstract & biographical note