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Working Paper “The Workshop. On the Genesis of a Global Form”

Montano Workshop Situation
Philippine playwright, director and theatre pedagogue Severino Montano gives instructions to his students at the Arena Theatre, Philippine Normal College, in a workshop, ca. 1955. My current research is tracking Montano’s career paths between the 1930s and 1960s.

There is hardly any context of learning and further education, in which the format of the workshop would not be common. Whether in the private sector, in the arts, in the academia or in theatre: workshops are popular as a format and form of learning in limited time and space. From an intensive preoccupation with the history of workshops in the field of theatre and theatre education, the idea arose to investigate the question of when and how workshops are initiated and to begin to gain a foothold in the training of theatre practitioners. This essay on The Workshop. On the Genesis of a Global Form was written by Christopher Balme and myself. It is also the first issue of a new series of Working Papers produced by our ERC-funded project group Developing Theatre. The project’s blog,, will provide information about the series and other working papers in the future.




Conferences / Symposia · Forschung · Global Theatre History · Literatur, Lyrik · Media History · Performance Studies · Theater international · Theatergeschichte · Theaterwissenschaft · Theatre History

Keynote «Mediating Cultural Meanders: Dance, Narration, Music», Gannat, France, 25-28 July, 2019

association des festival culturesI feel honoured for having been invited as a keynote speaker of the conference Indigenous Languages, Traditional Music and Dance within an Intercultural Performance/ Langues autochtones, musiques et danses traditionelles au sein de performances interculturelles in Gannat (Auvergne, France). The conference, organized by Vikrant Kishore (Australia) and Etienne Rougier (France) takes place along with the Festival des Cultures du Monde, which is a part of UNESCO‘s intangible cultural heritage. Gannat is famous for the festival that takes place every summer since 1974.

The conference will be the first of its time. My talk Mediating Cultural Meanders: Dance, Narration, Music” will discuss the circulation of intangible cultural phenomena using the examples of Thai choreographer Pichet Klunchun and his performance “Nijinsky Siam” as well as the figure and stories of Mullah/Hodja Nasreddin.


Conferences / Symposia · Developing Theatre · Forschung · Global Theatre History · Theater international · Theatre Archives · Theatre History · Transnational History

IFTR 2019 in Shanghai – Talk on Severino Montano and his Arena Theatre in Manila

Arena Theatre Report CoverAt this year’s annual conference of the International Federation for Theatre Research (IFTR) at the Shanghai Theatre Academy in Shanghai, China, I will be sharing a panel on the Rockefeller Foundation’s philanthropic initiatives in the field of theatre after 1950 together with Christopher Balme (LMU Munich), and Jan Creutzenberg (Seoul).

In my talk “Far-Flung | Centre-Staged: Severino Montano’s Arena and the ‘National Theatre’ in Manila in the 1950s and 1960”, I will elaborate on Montano’s establishment of an Arena Theatre in Manila and rural areas in the Philippines in the 1950s and 1960s, sponsored by the Rockefeller Foundation. Severino Montano (1915–1980) was an influential playwright and director. Born in Manila, he received his education in drama and economy primarily in Great Britain and the United States. After 12 years of studying and working abroad, he returned to Manila in order to build up the Arena Theatre and establish drama education in the Philippines.

Conferences / Symposia · Erinnerung · European Theatre · Forschung · Mode und Kostüm · Performance Studies · Tanz · Theater international · Theatergeschichte · Theaterwissenschaft · Theatre Archives

SIBMAS Meeting in Warschau – Konferenz 2.-5. Juni 2020

Seejungfer Warschau.jpg
Seejungfer. Symbolgestalt der Stadt Warschau am Ufer der Weichsel. 1939 von Ludwika Nitschowa gefertigt.

SIBMAS – das ist die Société Internationale des Bibliothèques et Musées des Arts du Spectacle, eine Gesellschaft, die es seit nurmehr 65 Jahren gibt. Ihre Mitglieder stammen aus 35 unterschiedlichen Ländern. Sie alle teilen  das professionelle Engagement und die Leidenschaft für die darstellenden Künste, Theater, Oper, Tanz, Musical, Puppenspiel, Kostüm, Maske, Bühnenbild, Performance und so weiter. Alle zwei Jahre richtet SIBMAS große Konferenzen aus. Im vergangenen Jahr fand die Tagung in Paris statt; im kommenden Jahr, 2020, werden sich die Mitglieder in Warschau treffen. Das Thema der Konferenz 2020 ist Performing the Future. Institutions and politics of memory.

Seit der Pariser Konferenz bin ich Mitglied des Executive Committee von SIBMAS, seit November 2018 Acting President. Anfang Juni traf sich das ExCom zu seinem jährlichen Meeting in Warschau; auch, um die Veranstaltungsorte für die kommende Konferenz zu besichtigen, die vom Instytut Teatralny organisiert wird. Das Institut liegt inmitten des wunderschönen Lazienki-Parks, einer schier nicht enden wollenden Grünanlage mit Orangerie, dem Königlichem Theater aus dem 18. Jahrhundert, Kunstmuseen, Botanischem Garten, kleinen Schlössern, einem ‘antiken’ Freilichttheater, Gewässern, Skulpturen etc. Die Konferenz wird überwiegend in der Biblioteka Uniwersytecka stattfinden, einem cleveren Bau im Stadtteil Powiśle, direkt an der Weichsel, der 1999 eingeweiht wurde, und dessen Dach komplett bepflanzt ist. Ein weiterer Partner der SIBMAS 2020-Konferenz ist das Museum der Geschichte der polnischen Juden, das erst 2003 eröffnet wurde.

Die Konferenz wird vom 2. –5. Juni 2020 stattfinden.

Der Call for Papers geht im Herbst online.

Conferences / Symposia · Developing Theatre · Global Theatre History · Performance Studies · Theater international · Theatergeschichte · Theaterwissenschaft · Theatre History

Theatre for Development: Historical & Institutional Perspectives– Conference in Pretoria, March 2020 – CfP

tfd karim hakibä

From 16-20 March 2020, our ERC funded project Developing Theatre: Building Expert Networks for Theatre in Emerging Countries after 1945 at LMU Munich will be organizing an international conference in collaboration with Tshwane University of Technology in Pretoria, South Africa on the topic Theatre for Development (TfD): Historical and Institutional Perspectives. 
The thrust of the conference will be to contextualize the emergence of TfD, especially in the first decades in Africa. From its early beginnings in the 1970s under different nomenclatures and practices –such as “popular theatre”, or “community theatre” – TfD quickly transformed itself into a coherent organizational field capable of attracting significant governmental and NGO funding. It also affected a change in the teaching and practice of theatre studies in many African countries. The argument could be made that the success of TfD in the Global South has contributed significantly to the emergence of Applied Theatre as a sub discipline in many Global North countries.

This conference seeks to explore the genealogy, the varied contexts of its development, theories and institutional perspectives. Key issues the conference will interrogate include the varied manifestations of the genre and its influence across cultures and continents; funding (Governmental and NGOs), networks of individuals and institutions that propelled its rapid growth and acceptance within academic and non-academic contexts.

We welcome contributions which engage with and provoke dialogue about the historiography of the Theatre for Development paradigm. Topics might include, but are not limited to the following:

• Historiography and Archiving of Theatre for Development
• Periodization and diffusion
• Seminal figures and initiators
• The dialectics of Africa’s development and Theatre for Development
• Integrating (new) media into TfD
• The politics of funding (governmental and NGOs) and influence on TfD
• Theories, Training and TfD Practitioners
• Theatre for Development within and outside the academia
• Networks, institutions and organizations
• Critical reflections within the field
• Brecht, Freire, Boal and the emergence of TfD

Deadline for paper proposals (abstract & short biographical note) is 30 May, 2019.

If you have any question or would like to submit a proposal, please contact my colleague Karim Hakib, (Doctoral Researcher ERC Project „Developing Theatre“) 

tfd karim hakibä

Global Arts · Global Theatre History · Performance Studies · Publication · Theater international · Theatergeschichte · Theaterwissenschaft · Theatre History · Transnational History

Online Journal of Global Theatre History – Latest Issue Focuses on Brazil, Japan, and The Levant


Klick on the image leads you to the latest issue

Brazil, Japan, Syria: The latest issue of the Journal of Global Theatre History takes its readers to different corners of the world, their theatre cultures and transnational exchanges about eras and genres. The chapters explore central facets of global theatre history and theatre in a global context: the influence of Western aesthetics and aspects of “modernization” and their local adaptation in Japan at the beginning of the 20th century; the transfer and critical negotiation of theatre and theatre education in various post-war Levant cities; and the neoliberal tendencies and interweaving of theatre aesthetics and global economy in cultural sponsorship of Brazilian theatre in the recent past.

The Journal of Global Theatre History is an open access publication edited by Nic Leonhardt and Christopher Balme, Centre for Global Theatre Histories at Ludwig Maximilians University Munich.

Contributors to the latest issue: Ayumi Fujioka, Ziad Adwan, Gustavo Guenzburger.



Global Theatre History · News · Performance Studies · Theater international · Theatergeschichte · Theaterwissenschaft · Theatre History · Transatlantic Cultural Exchange · Transnational History

New chapter out on Global Theatre History (in Middell (Ed.): Routledge Handbook of Transregional Studies)

9781138718364-1The Routledge Handbook of Transregional Studies was published just in time for the end of the year. In a chapter of this handbook edited by German historian Matthias Middell, I describe the approaches and methodological challenges of Global Theatre History.

I would like to take this opportunity to thank Forrest Kilimnik (Leipzig Centre for Area Studies), who was responsible for the careful and patient editing of the contributions to this comprehensive volume.

Nic Leonhardt: “Global Theatre History”, in Matthias Middell (Ed.): The Routledge Handbook of Transregional Studies. London: Routledge 2018, Part VIII: (Trans)cultural studies, Chapter 52.