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.
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.
„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.“
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!
a short report by Rashna Nicholson DFG Research Training Group: „Globalization and Literature. Representations, Transformations, Interventions“, LMU Munich, and associate of the GTH project
On 12 May 2015, Rustom Bharucha, Professor at the School of Arts & Aesthetics, Jawaharlal Nehru University, New Delhi and acclaimed writer of Theatre and the World: Performance and the Politics of Culture, conducted a workshop in Munich based on his most recent work, Terror and Performance. Beginning with his impetus for the writing of his book (one of these being a production of Jean Genet’s The Maids in Manila in 2001), he went on to delineate the starting point of the work: the desire to free ‘terror’ from the language of ‘terrorism’. In this extrapolation of ‘terror’ from ‘terrorism’ he stated the methodological limits of such a view, the chief one being that of literary ‘sprawling’. Nevertheless such a point of view bolstered the ethical rationale in the process of the writing of the text. The second term that need tackling then was that of ‘Performance’ one that he stated was ‘less conditioned by the ‘artistic’ orchestration of a corporeal, ‘live’, rehearsed, time-and-space bound event, framed within the cultural norms of civic institutions like state theatres, than by a much wider understanding (..) inextricably linked to social interactions, behaviours, strategies, deceptions, manipulations, and negotiations of terror in the public sphere.’ Through the reclaiming of Judith Butler’s ‘performativity’ within the realm of theatrical praxis, Prof. Bharucha asked for a rethinking of performance as a set of tools to analyze terror. He explained his use of the latter through his clarifications on the ‘queering’ of Muslims as ‘terrorist’ through personal example and through the concept of performativity animating political discourse in the Truth and Reconciliation process in Rwanda and South Africa. Finally as a conclusion he turned to Gandhi’s activist performances in order to question the potency of non-violence in an age of terror. The discussion that took place after the presentation revolved primarily around methodological questions pertaining to the extrapolation of ‘terror’ from ‘terrorism’ and on the constitutive elements of performance. Visual aspects and the assumption of an audience common to both terrorism and performance were highlighted as also the ethics that need be deployed in the writing of terror or terrorism as performance.
 Rustom Bharucha, Theatre and the World: Performance and the Politics of Culture, London: Routledge, 1993.
 Rustom Bharucha, Terror and Performance, London: Routledge, 2014.