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4th May, 2022

Professor Christopher Balme – Theatre after Covid: Scenarios


Event Details

4th May, 2022
18:00 - 19:30
Royal Central School of Speech and Drama
Eton Avenue

In early March 2020 the most severe crisis to affect the performing arts since the Second World War took hold. By the middle of March the world was in the grip of a unprecedented lockdowns to prevent the spread of the Corona virus Sars-Cov-2 and its associated illness Covid-19.

Most theatres and indeed cultural venues of any kind were closed throughout 2020 and were subjected to intermittent closure and restrictions well into autumn 2021. How can we as theatre scholars approach this once-in-a-century event? In this paper I will argue that we need to adjust our methodological temporality – an almost exclusive focus on the present – and explore the dimension of futurity because the long-term effects of the pandemic will only become visible in the future.

I will introduce a new research project, Theatre After Covid, that has been launched at Central in collaboration with a project in Germany to discuss concepts from crisis theory, outline their relevance to possible scenarios for the way theatres will adapt and react to the crisis.

Christopher Balme is a visiting Professor at Central and has been a Professor of Theatre Studies at the LMU Munich since 2006. He obtained his PhD at the University of Otago, New Zealand, and completed his postdoctoral thesis in 1993 at the University of Munich. He is editor of the magazine Forum Modernes Theater.

His major publications include: Decolonizing the Stage: Theatrical Syncretism and Post-Colonial Drama (1999); Introduction to Theater Studies (1999); The Theater of Others (ed.) (2001); Pacific Performances: Theatricality and CrossCultural Encounter in the South Seas (2007); Cambridge Introduction to Theater Studies (2008); The Theatrical Public Sphere (2014);The Globalization of Theater 1870-1930: The Theatrical Networks of Maurice E. Bandmann (2020).

He recently published: Theater Institutions in Crisis. European Perspectives (eds. Christopher Balme, Tony Fisher) (2020). He is spokesman for the DFG research group Crisis Structures in the Arts and Principal Investigator of the ERC Advanced Grant Developing Theatre: Building Expert Networks for Theater in Emerging Countries after 1945.

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