Theatre in Illiberal Regimes after 1989 – Workshop, 7-8 September, 2023

The war in the Ukraine has accentuated the globalising propensities of states such as Russia, China and Iran. In the past year, we have seen Cold War alliances and networks resurface and soft-power strategies employed to receive support in international fora. There is a strong sense that alternative, illiberal, global interconnections are being (re)forged.

Recent scholarship on the Cold War emphasises the spatial and conceptual diversity of illiberal interconnections in the realm of cultural diplomacy under the term of ‘alternative globalisations’. However, patterns of the late-Cold War have carried over into the post-1989 period, as Western-guided globalisation has hardly been ‘the only game in town’ in recent decades. This phenomenon raises the question of how to approach theatre history and non-Western-centric interconnectedness after 1989. The workshop will address this central question by proposing the post-Cold War as a period in which new polarities have emerged. These novel alignments and their impact on theatre and the performing arts have yet to be comprehensively studied.

Globalisation has pushed many illiberal states to venture into market economics, sometimes radically changing the landscape of subsidised cultural production and its international distribution. The new synthesis of market and command economies has affected national theatre communities, engendering new partnerships between states and artists as well as new modes of resistance. While independent and private theatre initiatives may persist alongside state-led engagement with the international theatre community, governmental involvement remains crucial in illiberal regimes. It shapes the careers of local practitioners and influences choices about performance production, international tours and participation in festivals.

During a two day workshop entitled “Theatre, Globalisation and Illiberal Regimes after 1989”, international scholars will debate and map various cases from the illiberal spectrum – from one-party states to theocracies and various forms of authoritarianism (competitive or one-person rule) to elaborate commonalities of illiberal engagement with globalisation via theatre. The workshop’s aim is to conceptually frame the role of theatre in illiberal regimes’ international relations as a global, post-Cold War phenomenon. The workshop is curated by theatre historian Viviana Iacob, currently fellow at the Käte Hamburger Research Centre “global dis:connect” (Munich).

The programme can be downloaded here.

Attendance is possible upon request via theatreglobalization@gmail.com .

Fresh from the Press: C. Balme (ed.) “Performing the Cold War in the Postcolonial World”

Bennewitz in India, Three Penny Opera, 1970.

I am delighted to announce the publication of  Performing the Cold War in the Postcolonial World, edited by Christopher B. Balme, former PI of the ERC project Developing Theatre at LMU Munich.

This volume, published with Routledge, London, explores how the Cultural Cold War played out in Africa and Asia in the context of decolonization. Both the United States and the Soviet Union as well as East European states undertook significant efforts to influence cultural life in the newly independent, postcolonial world.

The different forms of influence are the subject of this book. The contributions are grouped around four topic headings. “Networks and Institutions” looks at the various ways Western-style theatre became institutionalized in the decolonial world, especially Africa. “Cultural Diplomacy” focuses on the activities of the Soviet Union in India in the late 1950s and 1960s in the very different arenas of book publishing and the circus. “Artists and Agency” explores how West African filmmakers (Ousmane Sembène and Abderrahmane Sissako) and European authors (Brecht and Ibsen) were harnessed for different kinds of Cold War strategies. Finally, “Cultures of Things” investigates how everyday objects such as books and iconic theatre buildings became suffused with affect, nostalgia, and ideology.

The book came out just now and will be of interest for students and researchers of the Cold War, postcolonial studies, theatre, film, and literature. Research and publication for this book as well the workshop preceding this publication were funded by the European Research Council Project “Developing Theatre”

Chapters 1, 4, 8, and 11 of this book is freely available as a downloadable Open Access PDF at https://www.taylorfrancis.com under a Creative Commons [Attribution-Non Commercial-No Derivatives (CC-BY-NC-ND)] 4.0 license.

 

 

Festivalisation in focus – Gideon Morison successfully defended his PhD thesis on postcolonial Pan-African festivals (1977-2019)

We are pleased to announce that Gideon Morison, PhD student of the ERC project Developing Theatre, successfully defended his thesis this week.

In his doctoral dissertation, From Renaissance to Festivalisation. Festival Networks and Institutional Legacies of Selected Pan-African Cultural Productions, 1977-2019Nigerian-born Gideon Morison examined Pan-African postcolonial festivals as venues and crystallizations of various cultural projects initiated roughly since the mid-20th century to promote the “cultural renaissance of Africa” worldwide. 

There are three festivals in particular to which Gideon I. Morison gives in-depth consideration in his work: the First World Festival of Negro-Arts (Dakar, 1966), the Pan-African Cultural Festival, Algiers (1969), and the Second World Black and African Festival of Arts and Culture (FESTAC) in Lagos, 1977. Framed in specific themes and with clear objectives, these events aimed, as Gideon Morison argues, “to reclaim or decolonize the trajectory of intellectual discourses on black/African identity and heritage while also building institutions for promoting postcolonial visions for cultural, political and socio-economic development and progress not only in the continent but across black communities in the diaspora”.

The project has been supervised by Christopher B. Balme and Nic Leonhardt. We congratulate Gideon on his successful graduation and wish him all the best for his future endeavors!

 

ERC Project “Developing Theatre” – PhD theses successfully defended

We are very pleased to announce that Rebecca Sturm and Abdul Karim Hakib, both PhD students in the ERC project Developing Theatre. Building Expert Networks for Theatre in Emerging Countries After 1945, successfully defended their dissertations this week. Rebecca Sturm wrote about Theatre Experts for the Third World. East Germany’s ITI and the Globalization of Theatre in the Cold War. Karim Hakib‘s dissertation is on Theatre for Development. Historical and Institutional Perspectives.

Their work is the result of years of intensive international research in the context of the ERC project. Both dissertations break new ground in theatre studies, and so we can’t wait to see them published.

Very warm congratulations!

 

 

13 August 1961: And the Wall is built after all – Latest episode of the Theatrescapes Podcast illuminates the Berlin Wall and its impact on German theatre 60 years ago

Foto: Bundesregierung/Wolf
Workers building the Berlin Wall. August 1961. (photo: Landesarchiv Berlin 0076393/Horst Siegmann)

Exactly sixty years ago, on 13 August 1961, the Berlin Wall was erected. It was not just any architectural structure, but was specifically intended to seal off the German Democratic Republic (GDR) from the western part of the city of Berlin and the surrounding areas. The Wall was 167.8 km long –a stone wall of ideological and political significance for the people on both sides of the Wall. Sixty years have passed since the Wall was built; it lasted 28 years. And although it fell in 1989, it has not lost its symbolic weight to this day.

In the latest episode of the Theatrescapes podcast, theatre scholar Nic Leonhardt talks to the young theatre historian Rebecca Sturm about the consequences of the building of the Wall for theatre in Berlin and in West and East Germany in the period after 1961.

Theatre Historian Rebecca Sturm (photo: private)
Theatre Historian Rebecca Sturm (photo: private)

Rebecca Sturm studied theatre studies at the LMU Munich and has been a research assistant in the ERC project Developing Theatre. Building Expert Networks for Theatre in Emerging Countries after 1945 (GA No. 694559) since 2016. Her PhD project examines the role of the International Theatre Institute (ITI) during the Cold War. Founded in 1948 under the umbrella of UNESCO), the ITI’s aim from the beginning was to create a worldwide network of theatre professionals and to promote cultural exchange and mutual understanding. In her project, Rebecca Sturm particularly focuses on the two parts of Germany, East and West, which both became member states of the ITI in the 1950s.

The Theatrescapes Podcast is produced by the Centre for Global Theatre Research and the ERC project Developing Theatre (GA No. 694559) at LMU Munich. 

The Podcast episodes  are available on iTunes and Spotify

Please follow our updates here on this blog, on Facebook and Twitter (@GTHCMuc).

Special thanks go to our colleague Aydin Alinejadsomeh who conjures everything around the technology.

We would also like to thank the Legon Palwine Band from Accra, Ghana, for letting us use their great music for the podcast!

“Cold War University” – special issue of the open access online Journal of Global Theatre History fresh from the digital press


We are delighted to announce that we just published a new issue of our online Journal of Global Theatre History: The recent edition is dedicated on the topic of “Cold War University” and comes with 80 pages full of great content. The edition is the outcome of an international workshop on “Cold War University: Humanities and Arts Education as a (Battle)field of Diplomatic Influence and Decolonial Practice”, organized in fall 2020 by the ERC project Developing Theatre (GA No. 694559) under the auspices of Judith Rottenburg and Lisa Skwirblies

The issue addresses epistemological questions from historical, geopolitical, and institutional perspectives by investigating the reciprocal influence of Cold War politics and the conceptualization of universities. The contributors elaborate on the role Cold War politics played in the development of the university and arts education – in particular theatre education – as we understand them today; and, conversely, the role that the university and arts education – again, in particular theatre education – played in Cold War politics and the politics of decolonization that formed part of it.

Contributors: 

Nic Leonhardt: Editorial

Judith Rottenburg & Lisa Skwirblies (guest editors):” Cold War University. Humanities and Arts Education as a (Battle)field of Diplomatic Influence and Decolonial Practice”

Christopher Balme: “Arts and the University: Institutional logics in the developing world and beyond”

Gideon I. Morison: “Undercurrents of Anglo-American Collaboration: Funding, Training and Cold War Influences on the Theatre Studies Curriculum of Selected Nigerian Universities” 

Hasibe Kalkan: “On the Role of the Rockefeller Foundation in Establishing Theatre Education Programmes and Transnational Theatrical Spaces in Turkey during the Cold War” 

Lisa Skwirblies: “Performing the Politics of Non-Alignment in Cold War Germany”

Viviana Iacob: “The University of the Theatre of Nations: Explorations into Cold War Exchanges” 

The journal is fully open access.

We wish our readers an insightful and inspiring read.

_________________________

The Journal of Global Theatre History is published twice a year. We continuously accept paper proposals on the global history of theatre as well as papers addressing the globalization of theatre. Questions regarding the Journal can be sent to the editors, Nic Leonhardt & Christopher Balme (Nic.Leonhardt@lrz.uni-muenchen.de). 

”We have a double pandemic here” – A conversation with Clara de Andrade & Gustavo Guenzburger from Brazil – A new episode of the Theatrescapes Podcast

Theatrescapes Podcast Logo

Theatrescapes Podcast LogoWe are happy to announce that we just launched a new episode of our Theatrescapes Podcast ! This time, Theatrescapes host Nic Leonhardt speaks with Clara de Andrade and Gustavo Guenzburger from Rio, Brazil, about the challenges COVID-19 as well the political situation in Brazil have brought to both their artistic and academic work since then. 

Clara de Andrade and Gustavo Guenzburger are theatre makers and theatre researchers from Rio, Brazil. The Centre for Global Theatre History has a long-standing relationship with the couple and UNIRIO. In early 2020, Clara and Gustavo were Visiting Fellows of the Centre and of the European Research Council (ERC) funded project “Developing Theatre”  at the Institute of Theatre Studies at Ludwig Maximilian University in Munich. When they were about to return in March, the pandemic broke out …

Clara de Andrade is a Brazilian actor, singer, teacher and researcher in Theatre Arts. Her main field of research is the transnational networks of the Theatre of the Oppressed and Theatre for Development. She has been working and researching at institutions such as UNIRIO, Sorbonne Nouvelle (Paris 3) and was Visiting Fellow at the Centre for Global Theatre Histories & Developing Theatre Project at LMU Munich.

Gustavo Guenzburger is a Brazilian artist, activist, teacher and researcher in Theatre Arts. His main field of interest are transnationality and modes of production in theatre. He has been teaching and researching at institutions such as UNIRIO, UERJ, Sorbonne Nouvelle (Paris 3) and was Visiting Fellow at the Centre for Global Theatre Histories & Developing Theatre Project at LMU Munich.

The Theatrescapes Podcast is produced by the Centre for Global Theatre Research and the ERC project Developing Theatre (GA No. 694559) Pat LMU Munich. 

The Podcast episodes  are available here, on iTunes, Google Podcast and Spotify

Please follow our updates here on this blog, on Facebook and Twitter.

_____________________________

Special thanks go to our colleague Aydin Alinejadsomeh who conjures everything around the technology.

We would also like to thank the Legon Palwine Band from Accra, Ghana, for letting us use their great music for the podcast!

 

New article out: C. Balme & N. Leonhardt on “The Rockefeller Connection”

“The Rockefeller Connection: Visualizing theatrical networks in the Cultural Cold War“, in Comparatio, Vol. 12, 2, 2020, p. 127-144.

In this co-authored article, Christopher Balme and Nic Leonhardt (both ERC project Developing Theatre at LMU Munich) examine how the Rockefeller Foundation funded theatrical initiatives in developing countries: the Philippines and Nigeria. Using visualization software, in this case the open source application Gephi, the authors demonstrate how personal and institutional networks underpinned the cultural, specifically, theatrical development strategy of the foundation. The paper discusses the principles underpinning historical network analysis and analyzes two case studies, Severino Montano’s Arena Theatre in Manila, and the establishment of a School of Drama at the University of Ibadan, Nigeria.

  • This article has received funding from the European Research Council (ERC) under the European Union’s Horizon 2020 research and innovation programme (grant agreement No. 694559 – DevelopingTheatre) 
and is available in the open access format.

 

Conference Theater for Development (TfD): Historical and Institutional Perspectives – Program and Map

Pretoria, South Africa, 16-20 March, 2020

International Conference, organized by ERC project Developing Theatre: Building Expert Networks for Theatre in Emerging Countries after 1945 & Department of Drama & Film Studies, Tshwane University of Technology in Pretoria, South Africa.

The final programme of the conference Theater for Development (TfD): Historical and Institutional Perspectives is now online and can be accessed here: Conference_Pretoria March 2020_final programm

A map of the conference venue is online and can be accessed here: Map_Art Campus_Tshwane University of Technology

 

Assoc. Prof. Dr. Hasibe Kalkan visited the Centre for GTH in January 2020

Hasibe Kalkan studied German Literature in Ankara, and Theatre in Istanbul. She works as an assoc. professor at the Theatre Department of Istanbul University and from time to time as a dramaturg at the State Theater in Istanbul. She also writes theatre reviews for various theatre magazins, like TEB Oyun or Mimesis.

Over the past decade, she has been conducting research on interculturalism in theatre, documentary theatre, Turkish theatre in Germany and the foundation of theatre studies in Turkey. She has published books on documentary theatre and theatre semiotics, articles about Turkish theatre in Germany, intercultural theatre and contemporary Turkish theatre. She is a member of IATC (International Association of Theatre Critics) and GIG (Gesellschaft für Interkulturelle Germanistik).

We are very pleased that Assoc. Prof. Dr. Hasibe Kalkan accepted the invitation of Prof. Christopher Balme at the Centre for Global Theatre History to join us in January 2020.

For more information please contact:                                                                            Name: Hasibe Kalkan                                                                                                        E-Mail: hasibe.kalkan@istanbul.edu.tr

 

Clara de Andrade (PhD) and Gustavo Guenzburger (PhD) at the Centre for GTH

Clara de Andrade is an actress, singer, teacher and researcher of theatre.

She is a visiting fellow at the Centre for GTH from January till March 2020 at the invitation of Prof. Dr. Christopher Balme.

Her research fields are Brazilian theatre, Theatre of the Oppressed, Augusto Boal, exile & political memory, transnational networks and theatre historiography.

She holds a PhD and a Master’s degree in Performing Arts, both from the Federal University of the State of Rio de Janeiro, UNIRIO, with a scholarship from Brazilian agency CAPES. In 2014 she was granted a split-site program award at the Sorbonne Nouvelle University, Paris III, as part of her doctoral research. She is the author of the book “O exílio de Augusto Boal: reflexões sobre um teatro sem fronteiras” and also co-editor of the book “Augusto Boal: arte, pedagogia e política”. She has given workshops on the theatre of Augusto Boal in international festivals and in postgraduate programs in Rio de Janeiro.

Currently she is a Collaborative Lecturer in theatre at the University of Santa Úrsula and at CAL Faculty of Performing Arts. Active in the Rio de Janeiro scene for about 20 years, recently she co-created and acted in the play “Crônicas de Nuestra América”, a stage adaptation of the stories written by Boal during exile.

For more information please contact:                                                                            Name: Clara de Andrade                                                                                                    E-Mail: clara.and@gmail.com

 

 

Gustavo Guenzburger is an artist, activist, researcher and teacher of theatre and literature.

He is a visiting fellow at the Centre for GTH from January till March 2020 at the invitation of Prof. Dr. Christopher Balme.

His research specializations include Brazilian theatre, theatre historiography & aesthetics, theatre politics, sociology of theatre, cultural policies and literary theory.

He holds a Master’s degree in Literary Theory and a PhD in Comparative Literature, both from the State University of Rio de Janeiro (UERJ). In 2014 he held a split-site program award at the Sorbonne Nouvelle University (Paris III) as part of his doctoral research.

From 2015 to 2019, he worked at the Federal State University of Rio de Janeiro (UNIRIO), where he taught and developed postdoctoral research on “Theater, aesthetics and fostering policies”, since 2016 with a FAPERJ scholarship. He has been working for more than 30 years as an actor, singer and producer, and he has also directed many shows such as “Crônicas de Nuestra América”, by Augusto Boal.

For more information please contact:                                                                            Name: Gustavo Guenzburger                                                                                            E-Mail: gustavo.gruta@gmail.com

GTH Journal, Vol 3, 2, 2019 out now – Special Issue on Philanthropy and Developing Theatre

The fall issue 2019 of the Journal of Global Theatre History is now available online. It is dedicated to the theme Developing Theatre and Philanthropy and gathers contributions from Christopher Balme, Jan Creutzenberg and Nic Leonhardt. All three articles address case studies of promoting theatre practice and education through the Rockefeller Foundation in the 1950s and 1960s. Christopher Balme writes about expert networks, philanthropy and theatre studies in Nigeria, 1959–1969; Jan Creutzenberg illuminates the support of Yu Chi-jin and the Seoul Drama Center in Seoul, Korea. Nic Leonhardt‘s article, “The Rockefeller Roundabout of Funding” focuses on the promotion of Filipino theatre maker and playwright Severino Montano by the Rockefeller Foundation. 
The GTH Journal is an open access journal published by the Centre of Global Theatre Histories with Nic Leonhardt and Christopher Balme as its editors in chief.

Keynote «Mediating Cultural Meanders: Dance, Narration, Music» Gannat, France, 25-28 July, 2019

Nic Leonhardt, Director of the Centre of GTH, has been invited as a keynote speaker of the conference Indigenous Languages, Traditional Music and Dance within an Intercultural Performance/ Langues autochtones, musiques et danses traditionelles au sein de performances interculturelles in Gannat (Auvergne, France). The conference, organized by Vikrant Kishore (Australia) and Etienne Rougier (France) takes place along with the Festival des Cultures du Monde, which is a part of UNESCO‘s intangible cultural heritage. Gannat is famous for the festival that takes place every summer since 1974. The conference will be the first of its time.

Nic Leonhardt’s tal “Mediating Cultural Meanders: Dance, Narration, Music” will discuss the circulation of intangible cultural phenomena using the examples of Thai choreographer Pichet Klunchun and his performance “Nijinsky Siam” as well as the figure and stories of Mullah/Hodja Nasreddin.

A warm welcome to our new Visiting Fellow at CAS and at the Centre for GTH, Prof. Patrick Ebewo, Ph.D.

Patrick Ebewo is Professor at the Faculty of Art Sciences at Tshwane University of Technology in South Africa.

He is Visiting Fellow at CAS and at the Centre for Global Theatre History in June and July 2019 at the invitation of Prof. Dr. Christopher Balme.

His research focuses on African theatre, the theatre of industrial society, theatre in developmental contexts and popular theatre.

The University of Ibadan in Nigeria conferred a PhD on him in 1988, after completing a master’s degree at the University of Michigan, Ann Arbor, USA. He has been attending and presenting papers at international conferences, seminars and workshops since 1984. He has been a supervisor and examiner of master’s and doctoral students and has served as external examiner for the University of Pretoria, the University of Natal, Pietermaritzburg, the University of Ghana, Legon, University of Swaziland and the National University of Lesotho. He was the convener of the first international conference hosted by the Faculty of the Arts in 2011, which culminated in the publication of a book entitled, Africa and Beyond: Arts and Sustainable Development, UK: Cambridge Scholars Publishing (2013).


His first research interests were in the areas of history, theory and criticism but he has gradually moved to a more utilitarian aspect of applied theatre for community empowerment and economic development in the creative arts industry. He has received grants from local and international organisations as well as government departments that assisted him to attend national and international theatre projects and conferences. He has been privileged to attend two staff development fellowships at the Usmanu Dan Fodiyo University in Sokoto, Nigeria.


Prof Ebewo is an active member of the editorial advisory boards of the South African Theatre Journal, the West African Theatre Journal, University of IIorin, LWATI: A Journal of Contemporary Research, and, at TUT, NEXUS Journal. He is an active member of the International Federation for Theatre Research (IFTR) and the African Theatre Association (AfTA).

Prof Ebewo’s field of expertise and research specialisation is dramatic arts and theatre, with the focus on:

  • African drama and theatre
  • Cultural studies
  • Dramatic Literature and Criticism
  • Theatre for development/Industrial Theatre
  • Popular theatre​​

For more information, please contact:Name: Prof Patrick J Ebewo Email:EbewoP@tut.ac.za

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