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.
This Massive Open Online Course (MOOC) will discuss how theatre, a European cultural practice, spread rapidly around the world in the late 19th and early 20th centuries. The modules will engage with both theoretical and historical perspectives on what is a relatively new area of theatrical research. How did plays, operas and ballets quite literally go global? What do we know about the itineraries of actors, singers, and dancers, what about the cosmopolitan audiences? What can we learn about agents and managers who facilitated the movement of theatre around the world?
Against the backdrop of recent research in the context of global and transnational history, based on case studies of the Global Theatre Histories research group, and enriched by numerous interviews with international experts, course instructor Christopher Balme and his team have developed a fascinating online course that will introduce students into theatre as a global phenomenon and familiarize them with global (historical) perspectives on theatre research.
more MOOCs at LMU
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.