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.
We are pleased to announce the publication of the most recent volume in the series Transnational Theatre Histories (www.palgrave.com/it/series/14397) which explores the complex geopolitical and cultural imbrications of a globalising theatre culture against the backdrop of the Cold War.
The book examines how the Cold War had a far-reaching impact on theatre by presenting a range of current scholarship on the topic from scholars from a dozen countries. They represent in turn a variety of perspectives, methodologies and theatrical genres, including not only Bertolt Brecht, Jerzy Grotowski and Peter Brook, but also Polish folk-dancing, documentary theatre and opera production. The contributions demonstrate that there was much more at stake and a much larger investment of ideological and economic capital than a simple dichotomy between East versus West or socialism versus capitalism might suggest. Culture, and theatrical culture in particular with its high degree of representational power, was recognized as an important medium in the ideological struggles that characterize this epoch. Most importantly, the volume explores how theatre can be reconceptualized in terms of transnational or even global processes which, it will be argued, were an integral part of Cold War rivalries.
Table of contents (18 chapters)
Balme, Christopher B. (et al.)
A Cold War Battleground: Catfish Row versus the Nevsky Prospekt
Canning, Charlotte M.
Spirituals, Serfs, and Soviets: Paul Robeson and International Race Policy in the Soviet Union at the Start of the Cold War
The Politics of an International Reputation: The Berliner Ensemble as a GDR Theatre on Tour
‘A tour to the West could bring a lot of trouble…’—The Mazowsze State Folk Song and Dance Ensemble during the First Period of the Cold War
Song and Dance Ensembles in Central European Militaries: The Spread, Transformation and Retreat of a Soviet Model
Theatre, Propaganda and the Cold War: Peter Brook’s Midsummer Night’s Dream in Eastern Europe (1972)
MI5 Surveillance of British Cold War Theatre
Creating an International Community during the Cold War
The Cultural Cold War on the Home Front: The Political Role of Theatres in Communist Kraków and Leipzig
Years of Compromise and Political Servility—Kantor and Grotowski during the Cold War
Michalak, Karolina Prykowska
‘A Memorable French-Romanian Evening’: Nationalism and the Cold War at the Theatre of Nations Festival
An Eastern Bloc Cultural Figure? Brecht’s Reception by Young Left-wingers in Greece in the 1970s
Acting on the Cold War: Imperialist Strategies, Stanislavsky, and Brecht in German Actor Training after 1945
Checkpoint Music Drama
Whose Side Are You On? Cold War Trajectories in Eritrean Drama Practice, 1970s to Early 1990s
‘How close is Angola to us?’ Peter Weiss’s Play Song of the Lusitanian Bogeyman in the Shadow of the Cold War
Manila and the World Dance Space: Nationalism and Globalization in Cold War Philippines and South East Asia
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.
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
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.
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.