Digital Humanities · Global Theatre History · Publication · Theatre History · Transnational History

“Global Clicks Through Theatrescapes”. Public Talk @ CREATE Salon Amsterdam

 

 

 

The research program CREATE of the University of Amsterdam kindly invited me to give a talk on Digital Humanities in Theatre History in the context of the program’s “CREATE Salon“, on 14 March, 2017.

My talk on Global Clicks through Theatrescapes. Digital Humanities meet Theatrical Pasts was followed by a presentation of Frans Blom, Rob van der Zalm, and Jan Vos on “Amsterdam City Theatre Repertoire and ONSTAGE, 1638-2016”, and a project presentation of “MEPAD: Mapping European Performing Arts Databases” by Julia Noordegraaf, Claartje Rasterhoff, and Vincent Baptist.

The field of Digital Humanities in Theatre and Performance Research has taken on greater significance in the past few years, which is great! There is more to come, and it seems crucial to join forces and invest in future cooperations between institutions, researchers, and theatre collections.

 

Global Theatre History · Publication · Theatre History · Transnational History

Negotiating the Entertainment Business: Theatrical Brokers around 1900

Special focus issue of the Popular Entertainment Studies Journal, Vol 6, No 2 (2015)

Guest Editor: Nic Leonhardt (Munich)

Brokers Detail“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)”, that I organised in October 2014. This conference, 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)

pageHeaderLogoImage_en_US

I would like to thank Victor Emeljanow and Gillian Arrighi for their wonderful support in editing this issue.

Global Theatre History · Publication · Theatre History · Transnational History

New Paper out: “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.”

Paper

Global Theatre History · Theatre Archives · Theatre History

Theatre Archives, Museums and Collections

woman-peering-at-dusty-old-museum-displayTheatre is History: it flakes away in the very moment of its production. The show ends, the curtain falls, the stage remains empty… There is hardly any other cultural form as volatile and intangible as theatrical performance. Immediacy and ephemerality characterize theatre, and it is this intangibility that makes it both difficult and challenging to archive, preserve and perpetuate theatre (history).

When they began to establish museums open to everyone in the 19th century, theatre, too, became an object of collections and archives. Thanks to numerous theatre collections in almost all places of the globe, theatre researchers interested in theatre history are able to explore (snippets of) the theatrical past by studying the ‘leftovers’ or tangible traces of theatrical performances such as scripts, text books, reviews, sketches, playbills, paintings, photographs, videos, etc. of both theatre’s production and reception.

I compiled two lists that might serve as useful overviews: Theatre Archives & Collections in Germany and  Theatre Museums in Europe.

The compilations are preliminary and subject to continuous expansion. Suggestions for modification are highly appreciated.