Looking for Maurice E. Bandmann in Gibraltar

The final stage of my archival research on the theatre manager and impresario Maurice E. Bandmann (1872-1922)  returns to the beginning and to the end. Bandman, now with one ‘n’, died in Gibraltar on 9 March 1922 at the Colonial Hospital. He had contracted enteric (typhus) in Egypt and fell ill shortly after arriving in Gibraltar at the beginning of February for the opening of the newly renovated New Empire Theatre.

Gibraltar was also the beginning: here he began his first Mediterranean tour in September 1897, a short stop on the way to Malta his main destination and then on to Alexandria and Cairo. Gibraltar however became traditionally the first port of call on the many tours of his companies along the Bandmann Circuit. In Gibraltar Bandmann also acquired one of his most trusted managers, Stephan Lopez (1877-1953), who came from a Gibraltese family and worked his way up from stage carpenter to company manager. The website kept by Stephen’s granddaughter, Vanessa Lopez, remains the best source of information on the Bandmann Circuit (http://www.joydiv.org/familygoingback/bandmann.htm).

My research began on a Sunday afternoon, 23rd of April 2017. I made use of my extended stay in London to catch a flight to Gibraltar, of which there are several. I knew from correspondence with the Gibraltar Archives that Bandmann was buried in the North Front Cemetery in plot B. The cemetery backs onto the airport so you have to walk across the runway to reach it: in fact you have two walk (or drive) across the runway to reach Gibraltar full stop. The main road and walkway, imperially entitled Winston Churchill Avenue, is blocked off when aircraft land and take off.

Winston Churchill Avenue

The cemetery is quite extensive and well known because it hosts graves looked after by the Commonwealth War Graves Commission. Plot B is subdivided into B1 and B2 and covers an extensive area, much of which is overgrown with grass, weeds and flowers including poppies. While the recently deceased boasted large gravestones and even burial vaults, and the war graves gleamed cleanly in the bright sunlight, as though the soldiers and sailors had only been buried yesterday, those interred much earlier were in a dismal state. Quite apart from the long grass and weeds, many gravestones had been polished clean, presumably by the corrosive salt air, which has rendered the inscriptions illegible. As I could be fairly sure that nobody had tended the grave for 90 years, it was clear that I could never find it just by searching amongst the gravestones. I would have to come back and hope that the administration of the cemetery had better records (it didn’t). It was also possible that the grave had been turned over, the remains disinterred to make way for more recent arrivals.

North Front Cemetery, Gibraltar

I left the cemetery and made my way into town to look for my hotel which I knew was located in Cannon Lane. I wandered past fortifications built into the rock and literally walked through a tunnel under the Rock. I wandered along main street and looked at the mixture of Spanish-style colonial buildings, decorated with the signs of heavy tourism. I found the hotel of the same name is the address, tucked into a little courtyard. It had seen better days and the rooms had all the flair of the 1950s. The room key was a real old-fashioned bit key and not a digital signal.

Entering Gibraltar

The next day begin shortly after 9 AM and a hearty English breakfast. I walked up to the Garrison Library which I knew had a full set of the Gibraltar Chronicle newspaper. The library is located in an old colonial style building. It consists of two reading rooms lined with old volumes in glass cases. In the middle is a large table at which the readers sit. Apart from myself the letter consisted of two middle-aged ladies who spoke to each other alternating between English and Spanish, which as I quickly discovered is the common form of communication here. Conversations often begin in English, switch to Spanish, and then revert again to English according to conventions which remained obscure to me.

Garrison Library, Gibraltar

I began with March 1922: the month of his death, I quickly discovered the newspaper report. He died on March 9 and was buried the next day. The quick burial was possibly due to the disease, which was highly infectious.

Since the newspaper documented arrivals and departures I found a reference to Bandmann arriving in the first week of February at the Bristol Hotel , a colonial-style building which still exists (GC 6.2.1922). Also mentioned was a Miss Nancy Lewis (named in his will as Annie Lewinstein), Bandmann’s secretary to whom he bequeathed a quarter of his estate. She seems to have been in his constant companion in his final years. Present at the funeral were his niece, named as Miss Bandman McLaren, which could only have been the daughter of his sister Lily, who was also a travelling actress. Either she must have been accompanying him or had travelled to Gibraltar on learning that he fallen seriously ill. Others present were William Freear, the manager of the New Empire and Nancy’s brother, Charles Lewis (Charles Lewinstein who was named in his will as a trustee). The latter had hurried to Gibraltar on 17 February 1922 and arrived before he died.[1]Also present at the funeral was the US vice-consul, Bandmann’s solicitor in Gibraltar, A.C. Montegriffo, and J.R. Crook, the government engineer with whom he had negotiated the renovation of the theatre.

Death notice, Gibraltar Chronicle

My next stop was the Gibraltar National archives, located in a former convent and accessible through a metal gate supervised by a very friendly lady Guard. The archive itself occupies one side of a courtyard. It is described on an oral history website as ‘a discreet building, set back in the quietly dignified courtyard of the Governor’s Palace exuding the elegance of a bygone era of colonialism.  The offices are heavy with the alluring smell of old wood and papers, and dust motes float like miniature ballet dancers in the rays that tumble through the windows.  A researcher could happily wallow here for hours, nosing around records that unfold the history of Gibraltar little by little.’


Gibraltar Government Archives

While I can confirm the charm but not the ‘dust motes’ I easily registered in one room and was led into another by a friendly young archivist. The second room was full of government papers. I spied two boxes with the labels Empire Theatre. The one dated 1903 to 1918, the other was entitled Empire Theatre, Public Visitors and Brothels. And in this one I struck gold. It contained government files concerning the theatre from 1919 until its eventual sale and demolition in the 1930s. The most detailed files concerned however negotiations between Bandmann and the colonial authorities, beginning in 1921 and culminating in the re-opening of the Empire as a cinema just a few days before his death. This file comprises the most detailed documentary evidence of Bandmann as a theatre developer, primarily in this case for cinema because evidently the conversion of the dilapidated Empire Theatre into a fully functional theatre for live performances entailed a considerable investment, especially with regard to fire safety. From there I went around the corner to in the office of births and deaths and ordered a copy of Bandmann’s death certificate.

As all three places are located within 200 yards of one another, this was by far the most efficient use of research time in the past six years. The main result of this research was the detailed documentation of Bandmann’s leasing and renovation of the Empire Theatre which I discuss in more detail in the next section.

[1] Charles Lewinstein, born 1897, manager,  aged 25 departed London on 17. Feb 1922 on the  Kaiser I Hind bound for Gibraltar. 
Peninsular & Oriental Steam Navigation Co.
5989.30. Passenger Lists leaving UK 1890-1960 Transcription. Findmypast.co.uk.


GTH Journal: Vol.1, no. 2 out now. Focus on “Theatrescapes”


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.

Contributors are Monize Oliveira Moura on “Sarah Bernhardt in Brazil (1886 and 1893)”, Catherine Vance Yeh on Experimenting with Dance Drama: Peking Opera Modernity, Kabuki Theater Reform and the Denishawn’s Tour of the Far East”, Johanna Dupré on “‘Die erste Jockey-Reiterin der Welt, aus Süd-Amerika’: Rosita de la Plata, Global Imaginaries and the Media”, and Lisa J. Warrington on “Herr Daniel Bandmann and Shakespeare vs the World”. With an introductory comment by Nic Leonhardt.

We would like to thank all authors for sharing their research and ideas and allowing us to publish their stimulating papers.

The topic of the next issue of the journal (May 2017) will be Translocating Theatre History. Papers are due on 15 March, 2017.

GTH @ European Theatre Perspectives Symposium in Wroclaw, Poland

barbara-conference-venueNic Leonhardt is attending the symposium Europen Theatre Perspectives. Exploring Channels for Cross-Cultural Engagement in Performance from 7-9 November, 2016 in Wroclaw, Poland,

The event is jointly organized by Culture Hub (London, UK) and the Grotowski Institute (Wroclaw, Poland) and framed by the Theatre Olympics and European Capital of Culture Wroclaw 2016 programmes.

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.

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)

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)

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

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.

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