Fotografie · Media History · Photography · Popular Culture · Publication · Theatre History

“Entrer dans l’image par le regard” – New Article Out

Etudes Theatrales L'Oeil et le TheatreEdited by Florence Baillet, this special issue of Études Théâtrales focuses on “L’œil et le théâtre. La question du regard au tournant des XIXe et XXe siècles sur les scènes européennes”. The volume was preceded by an international symposium on the same theme, organized by Florence Baillet (Sorbonne nouvelle, CEREG),  Arnaud Rykner (Sorbonne nouvelle, IRET), and Mireille Losco (ENSATT) at Université Sorbonne Nouvelle Paris 3, in April 2015.

My chapter “Entrer dans l’image par le regard: stéréscopie et théâtre” deals with the history of 3D images in theatre and popular culture in the 19th and 20th century.

(Nic Leonhardt: “Entrer dans l’image par le regard: stéréoscopie et théâtre”, in: L’oeil et le théâtre. Études Théâtrales, 65/ 2016, p. 41-51.)

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.


Conferences / Symposia · Digital Humanities · Theatre Archives · Theatre History

Cfp: Working Group DH in Theatre Research, IFTR conference 2017, São Paulo, Brazil



The Annual Conference of the International Federation for Theatre Research (IFTR) in 2017 will take place at the Universidade de São Paulo, Brazil from 10-14 July, 2017. The theme is Unstable Geographies, Multiple Theatricalities.

Our Working Group Digital Humanities in Theatre Research will be meeting in Brazil and we invite existing and new group members to submit their proposals

At the 2017 meeting, the sessions of the DH Working Group will be divided into three sections:

  • Project/ Paper discussions
  • Methodology discussions
  • Practice discussions

We are soliciting papers that will represent the full range of experience IFTR/FIRT members have with Digital Humanities in Theatre and Performance Research. We are seeking papers and project presentations that

  • explore the theoretical implications of Digital Humanities for our research into theatre and performance
  • explicate problems relating to the pedagogy and technology of DH projects (and perhaps propose solutions to them)
  • discuss projects and case studies that provide new methodologies for theatre research
  • Working groups are not required to address the theme of an IFTR conference, but papers which enter into conversation with the theme are most welcome.

Papers and case studies examining how digital humanities projects can be used in teaching are welcome, but we are not looking for contributions that are only concerned with techniques for using technology in the classroom or distance learning courses at this time.

Papers (max. 3500 words) will be circulated prior to the meeting (ca. 4 weeks in advance). At the meeting, speakers will only briefly speak to their papers before opening up to a discussion with the group. Pre-circulated papers are due by 15 June, 2017.

Abstracts (up to 300 words) on either a proposed paper or the presentation of a data project will be accepted in English or in the language of the host country, but please remember that the group’s primary working language is English.

Abstracts are due by 31 January 2017, and notice of acceptance will be given in March/April.


To submit abstracts for papers to be presented in Working Groups for the 2017 Conference, you must upload your 300 word abstract through the link to the submission page on the Cambridge Journals Online website and specify which Working Group you are interested in applying for. If you are ready to send your abstract, please click here.

You will be taken to the Cambridge Journals Online website where you will be prompted to join IFTR or renew your membership.

Accepted abstracts will be published in the Congress’s Abstracts Book, so pay careful attention to form and content.


IFTR offers financial aid to scholars who would like to participate in the Annual Conference. The deadline for bursary applications is 22nd December, 2016. Info on the application process can be accessed here:

We look forward to receiving your proposals and hope to see you in Brazil!

Nic & Frank at the IFTR 2016 meeting in Stockholm (here queenly at Drottingholm). photo: Sandra Pietrini

Please feel free to contact us if you have any question.

Nic Leonhardt:

Franklin J. Hildy:

Allgemein · Media History · Photography · Publication · Theatre History

‘Durch Blicke im Bild’ – jetzt im Handel

Mein neues Buch, Durch Blicke im Bild. Stereoskopie im 19. und frühen 20. Jahrhundert ist fertig und ab sofort im Handel.


Aus dem Klappentext:

“Sog, Schwindel und Staunen bezeugen Betrachter stereoskopischer Bilder. Sie erfahren das zweidimensionale Bild als plastisches, changieren zwischen mentalen und physischen Räumen. Die Funktionsweise der Stereoskopie ist denkbar einfach und doch effektvoll: Beim Anschauen in einem Stereoskop verschmelzen zweidimensio­nale Doppel-Aufnahmen desselben Motivs zu einem dreidimensio­nal wirkenden Einzelbild. Entwickelt aus naturwissenschaftlichen Erkenntnissen über binokulares Raumsehen, wird die Stereoskopie ab der Mitte des 19. Jahrhunderts bis ins frühe 20. Jahrhundert weltweit zu einem populären Medium der Unterhaltung, Unterweisung und Dokumentation: Der plastische Effekt und die damit verbundene, von Zeitzeugen attestierte ‚Realitätstreue‘ machen Stereobilder und -serien geeignet für virtuelle Reisen, Bildende Kunst, naturwissenschaftliche Forschung, Sach- und Länderkunde, einen imaginären Theaterbesuch oder die (sehr private) Ansicht pornografischer Bilder.

Durch Blicke im Bild beleuchtet anhand zahlreicher Abbildungen aus der fokussierten Zeitspanne (1840–1930) die technischen, ökonomischen, populär- und visuellkulturellen Facetten und Anwendungsbereiche der Stereofotografie als ein Medium, das zeitgleich mit der Fotografie floriert und vor der Erfindung des Films durch Drei­dimensionalität und Serialität Bewegung im Bild suggeriert – bislang aber von der Medien- und Kulturgeschichtsschreibung ausgeklammert wurde. Die Studie ist damit eine wesentliche historiographische Ergänzung zur Forschung über zeitgenössische 3D-Filme.”

Durch Blicke im Bild. Stereoskopie im 19. und frühen 20. Jahrhundert. Berlin: Neofelis 2016.

Print: (Soft-over), ISBN: 978-3-95808-006-5 (20,00 €)

e-Book (pdf), ISBN: 978-3-95808-050-8 (20,00 €)

Bestellt beim Verlag oder unterstützt den Buchhändler vor Ort!  🙂

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)


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.”


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.