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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 · 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.