• 2023


    New book out: C. Balme (ed.) “Performing the Cold War in the Postcolonial World”

    This volume explores how the Cultural Cold War played out in Africa and Asia in the context of decolonization. Both the United States and the Soviet Union as well as East European states undertook significant efforts to influence cultural life in the newly independent, postcolonial world.

    The different forms of influence are the subject of this book. The contributions are grouped around four topic headings. „Networks and Institutions“ looks at the various ways Western-style theatre became institutionalized in the decolonial world, especially Africa. „Cultural Diplomacy“ focuses on the activities of the Soviet Union in India in the late 1950s and 1960s in the very different arenas of book publishing and the circus. „Artists and Agency“ explores how West African filmmakers (Ousmane Sembène and Abderrahmane Sissako) and European authors (Brecht and Ibsen) were harnessed for different kinds of Cold War strategies. Finally, „Cultures of Things“ investigates how everyday objects such as books and iconic theatre buildings became suffused with affect, nostalgia, and ideology.

    This book will be of interest for students of the Cold War, postcolonial studies, theatre, film, and literature.

    Chapters 1, 4, 8, and 11 of this book is freely available as a downloadable Open Access PDF at https://www.taylorfrancis.com under a Creative Commons [Attribution-Non Commercial-No Derivatives (CC-BY-NC-ND)] 4.0 license.

  • June.2021

    Theatrescapes – GTH Centre Launches the first Podcast on the Histories of Global Theatre

    The Centre for Global Theatre comes up with a new format: in June, we launch our audio podcast: Theatrescapes !

    Theatrescapes takes up those topics that have engaged the Centre’s researchers and its international network since its beginning: Stories and case studies about theatre in a global context, mainly from a historical perspective, but also reaching into the present. The podcast is dedicated to conversations and book reviews about the global or transnational histories of the performing arts, of drama, dance, opera, circus, etc., from the early modern period to the 21stcentury. Guests and interview partners include scholars and artists, theatre and cultural practitioners from around the world. At Theatrescapes, the world is at the microphones for the world.

    The variety of topics at Theatrescapes is unique and requires curation. The podcast is therefore structured in series of 3-5 episodes each, dedicated to areas of focus.

    short intro episode in early June will be followed by the first series, Theatre (Research) in Times of Covid, that explores how the global pandemic situation has impacted theatre practice and research. In conversation with theatre scholar Nic Leonhardt, host of the Theatrescapes podcast, theatre practitioners and arts supporters, researchers and faculty members from South America, Asia and Europe describe challenges and opportunities of that special time period that is making history.

    We welcome listeners from around the world!

    If you have suggestions for topics and conversation partners, please do not hesitate to contact us!

    We would also like to thank the Legon Palwine Band from Accra, Ghana, for letting us use their great music for the podcast!

    Theatrescapes is available here, on iTunes and Spotify.



  • June.2021


    New article out: C. Balme & N. Leonhardt on „The Rockefeller Connection“

    „The Rockefeller Connection: Visualizing theatrical networks in the Cultural Cold War“, in Comparatio, Vol. 12, 2, 2020, p. 127-144.

    In this co-authored article, Christopher Balme and Nic Leonhardt (both ERC project Developing Theatre at LMU Munich) examine how the Rockefeller Foundation funded theatrical initiatives in developing countries: the Philippines and Nigeria. Using visualization software, in this case the open source application Gephi, the authors demonstrate how personal and institutional networks underpinned the cultural, specifically, theatrical development strategy of the foundation. The paper discusses the principles underpinning historical network analysis and analyzes two case studies, Severino Montano’s Arena Theatre in Manila, and the establishment of a School of Drama at the University of Ibadan, Nigeria.

    • This article has received funding from the European Research Council (ERC) under the European Union’s Horizon 2020 research and innovation programme (grant agreement No. 694559 – DevelopingTheatre)
  • 07.05. 2021


    07.05. 2021

  • 30.03.2021

  • Dec. 2020


    Our project members present their challenges during the pandemic in a video series.


    Dec. 2020

  • 13.11.2020

  • Oct. 2020


    Oct. 2020

  • 16th to 20th March 2018



    From the 16th to 20th March 2020, the 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.

  • 2019

    GTH Journal, Vol 3

    GTH Journal, Vol 3, 2, 2019 out now – Special Issue on Philanthropy and Developing TheatreMilestone content here

    The fall issue 2019 of the Journal of Global Theatre History is now available online. It is dedicated to the theme Developing Theatre and Philanthropy and gathers contributions from Christopher Balme, Jan Creutzenberg and Nic Leonhardt.

    for more information please click here.



  • 22.10-24.10.2019


    The "Cultural Cold War". Towards a Theorization of its Afro-Asian Contexts

    Conference organized by Prof. Dr. Christopher Balme (Ludwig-Maximilians-Universität München) und Dr. Gautam Chakrabarti (Freie Universität Berlin).

    Culture was one of the key areas in which the multifaceted geopolitical struggle was played out between the 1950s and 1980s. There is a need – 25-plus years after the end of the Cold War – to collect experiences of and responses to questions regarding the formation of expert networks, philanthropic and/or governmental interventions, and peopleto- people contacts in and across various Afro-Asian and Euro-American countries.

    Participants: Ewa Bérard (CNRS-ENS Paris), Milena Dragićević Šešić (University of Arts, Belgrade), Gesine Drews-Sylla (Prag/ Tübingen), Severyan Dyakonov (IHEID Genf), Viviana Iacob (Bukarest), Sophie Lange (HU Berlin), Christian Langer (FU Berlin), Gideon Ime Morison (LMU), Christopher J. Lee (Lafayette), Alexandre Loktionov (Cambridge), Vita Matiss (Riga Graduate School of Law), Danny Orbach (Hebrew University), Inderjeet Parmar (City, University of London), Monica Popescu (McGill University), Sudha Rajagopalan (Amsterdam), Giles P. Scott-Smith (Leiden), Carolien Stolte (Leiden), Rebecca Sturm (Munich), Tal Zalmanovich (Haifa).

  • 09.2019

    Working Papers Series

    The Working Paper Series “Developing Theatre” is part of the ERC Advanced Grant “Developing Theatre: Building Expert Networks for Theatre in Emerging Countries after 1945” (grant agreement No. 694559).

    The working papers enable a pointed examination of theoretical and historical questions affecting the dissemination of the performing arts in a global context after 1945. They thus serve both the exchange of theoretical ideas and the development of conceptual foundations of the project. The goal of the short contributions is to present, critically examine and further develop theoretical concepts. The Working Papers, then, should not be understood as conclusive theoretical contributions, but rather as an invitation to exchange conceptual positions.



  • 25.07.2019


    Keynote «Mediating Cultural Meanders: Dance, Narration, Music»

    Nic Leonhardt, Director of the Centre of GTH, has 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.

    Her 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.

    The conference Indigenous Languages, Traditional Music and Dance within an Intercultural Performance/ Langues autochtones, musiques et danses traditionelles au sein de performances interculturelles takes place from 25 to 28 of Juli 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.

  • 09.07.2019

    Lecture by Prof Balme

    Prof. Christopher Balme will give a talk on “ Instituting National Theatres in the Postcolony: Urban Heterotopias for New Nations“ at IFTR Conference in Shanghai Theatre Academy, Shanghai, China, 9. Juli 2019.

    The Talk will take place in room 209 at 16:00.



  • 09.05.2019

    Lecture by Nic Leonhardt

    Far-Flung | Centre-Staged: Severino Montano’s Arena and the ‘National Theatre’ in Manila in the 1950s and 1960

    In her talk “Far-Flung | Centre-Staged: Severino Montano’s Arena and the ‘National Theatre’ in Manila in the 1950s and 1960”,  Nic Leonhardt 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.

    The Talk will take place on 09.07.2019 in Shanghai Theatre Academy, Shanghai, China, 9. Juli 2019 at 16:00 in room 209.