Global Theatre Histories

This blog is part of the research project “Global Theatre Histories”, funded by the German Research Foundation (DFG) ( The project investigates the emergence of theatre as a global phenomenon against the background of imperial expansion and modernization in the late 19th and 20th centuries. It brings together two previously separate scholarly debates: ‘global or world history’ and recent discussions on the emergence of a ‘transnational public sphere’. It aims to provide a major corrective to existing theatre historiographical principles and research agendas by linking theatrical modernism (as an artistic practice) and modernization in its political, economic and institutional manifestations. The temporal coordinates of the project parallel the acceleration of colonialism and imperialism leading ultimately to political decolonization in the early 1960s and finally the end of the East-West division in 1990. The main focus lies on hitherto under-researched phenomena: theatrical trade routes facilitating the movement of theatre artists and productions; the creation of new public spheres in situations of cross-cultural contact in multiethnic metropolitan centres and the dynamics of theatrical modernization in non-Western countries.