„Iste – Ille. Here and There“. Keynote by Nic Leonhardt on Global Theatre Histories (Stockholm, 22-24 Nov, 2018)

Nic Leonhardt, Director of the Centre for Global Theatre Histories, has been invited as a keynote speaker to the symposium “From Local to Global: Interrogating Performance Histories”. The symposium is organized by the Department of Culture and Aesthetics, University of Stockholm, Department of Culture and Aesthetics, and will take place at the Royal Swedish Academy of Letters, History and Antiquities.

In her talk, entitled Iste-Ille. Here and There. What and Where is Europe in a Global History of Theatre?, she will introduce into ways and methodological challenges of writing the history/ histories of the performing arts from a transnational and global perspective.

New Publication Out: Sounding Modernities: Theatre and Music in Manila and the Asia Pacific, 1869-1946 von meLê Yamomo


meLê Yamomo, former PhD student of the Global Theatre Histories research project and Assistant Professor of Theatre, Performance, and Sound Studies at the University of Amsterdam, has just published his PhD thesis Sounding Modernities: Theatre and Music in Manila and the Asia Pacific, 1869-1946.

His project examines the intersection between sound and modernity in dramatic and musical performance in Manila and the Asia-Pacific between 1869 and 1948. During this period, tolerant political regimes resulted in the globalization of capitalist relations and the improvement of transcontinental travel and worldwide communication. This allowed modern modes of theatre and music consumption to instigate the uniformization of cultural products and processes, while simultaneously fragmenting societies into distinct identities, institutions, and nascent nation-states.

His project examines the intersection between sound and modernity in dramatic and musical performance in Manila and the Asia-Pacific between 1869 and 1948. During this period, tolerant political regimes resulted in the globalization of capitalist relations and the improvement of transcontinental travel and worldwide communication. This allowed modern modes of theatre and music consumption to instigate the uniformization of cultural products and processes, while simultaneously fragmenting societies into distinct identities, institutions, and nascent nation-states.

Taking the performing bodies of migrant musicians as the locus of sound, this book argues that the global movement of acoustic modernities was replicated and diversified through its multiple subjectivities within empire, nation, and individual agencies. It traces the arrival of European travelling music and theatre companies in Asia which re-casted listening into an act of modern cultural consumption and follows the migration of Manila musicians as they engaged in the modernization project of the neighboring Asian cities.

meLê Yamomo: Sounding Modernities: Theatre and Music in Manila and the Asia Pacific, 1869-1946. Palgrave-Macmillan (2018).

new series: A Cultural History of Theatre (ed. C. B. Balme & T. C. Davis), Bloomsbury

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.

Guest Lecture by Kate Elswit: „Tracing Dynamic Spatial Histories and Networks of Movement on the Move“

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.