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ERC Advanced Grant

Developing Theater in the Cold War

München, 04/26/2016

In his ERC project, Christopher Balme will trace the development of the theater in the former colonies that became independent after the Second World War, and how it was influenced by the politics of the Cold War.

Professor BalmeProfessor Christopher Balme is Director of the Institute of Theater Studies at LMU. His research interests center on aspects of the dramatic arts as a global - and globalized - phenomenon. For instance, he was the leader of “Global Theater Histories”, a 5-year project funded by the Deutsche Forschungsgemeinschaft, which focused on the impact of transnational theater networks and touring companies on local cultures during the century between 1860 and 1960.

His new ERC project, entitled “Developing Theatre: Building Expert Networks for Theatre in Emerging Countries after 1945”, will analyze the roles played by international development programs and specialist networks in fostering the growth of the theatrical arts in the post-colonial states that won their independence in Cold War era. “The decision to concentrate on the history of institutions in this project was inspired largely by insights and ideas drawn from contemporary accounts and from historical studies with a transnational viewpoint,” Balme says. The goal of the project is to pioneer an interdisciplinary approach to the historiography of the theater that can also make a contribution to contemporary discussions relating to arts policy and sustainability.

Christopher Balme was born in New Zealand in 1957. He obtained his PhD at the University of Otago in Dunedin, and completed his Habilitation at LMU in 1993. Since coming to Europe in 1985, he has worked at the universities of Würzburg, Munich and Mainz. Before taking up his present position as Professor of Theater Studies at LMU in 2006, he was Chairman of the Institute of Theater Studies at the University of Amsterdam.

For more information on Christopher Balme’s research, see: