Theatrescapes. Global Media & Translocal Publics (1850-1950) - International Conference Theatre Studies, LMU Munich (19-21 June)

29 May, 2014




In the century between 1850 and 1950 theatre experienced an unprecedented expansion in all its dimensions. Performers, theatrical genres, new buildings, and, most importantly perhaps, new publics emerged which both responded to and enabled such flows. The notion of ‘theatrescapes’ proposed here responds to Arjun Appadurai’s famous formulation of various ‘scapes’ marking the emergence of globalized cultural flows after the end of the Cold War.

This conference asks whether we shouldn’t speak of globalization and global cultural flows a century earlier. As many historians now argue the massive migration of the nineteenth century, which still dwarfs current migration flows in sheer numbers, ushered in a fundamental reorganisation of existing geocultural certainties. The same period also sees the emergence of global media – press, photography, cinema, radio – which all interacted with rapidly expanding theatre infrastructures. The dislocation engendered by migration led to the creation of theatre publics who were increasingly geographically separated from their home cultures. The new theatrical public spheres that emerged in this period were therefore almost invariably ‘translocal’: while European spectators in Calcutta or Shanghai remained mentally aligned with their home countries, indigenous publics were still becoming accustomed to a new medium.

At the conference, speakers from Australia, Bangladesh, Brazil, France, Germany, Hungary, Japan, New Zealand, Poland, Portugal, UK, USA representing 10 disciplines shall discuss the intersection of media, migration and the creation of new translocal publics in the field of  theatre between 1850 and 1950.

organisation: Nic Leonhardt, LMU, Theatre Studies

date: 19-21 June, 2014

venue: IBZ Munich (

Sincere thanks to the Fritz Thyssen Foundation ( for the financial support!


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