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Institute for Theatre Studies at the University of Leipzig
The work of the Institute of Theatre Studies at the University of Leipzig is based on an interdisciplinary approach that includes social sciences and cultural studies. Our research is not only concerned with art, but with the performative character of culture in general which is now widely acknowledged in all art research taking part in cultural studies. The performative turn has sharpened the sense of the theatrical strategies and implications of cultural behaviour. Cultural practice is always connected to techniques and forms of theatrical (self)representation, staging and performance.
Therefore, the focus of our research is not only theatre in the narrower sense, but the fundamental theatricality of cultural practices and artefacts in their variety. We are interested in all kinds of cultural performance in the "theatre of society" as well as in the arts. Consequently, the basic object of our research is what we call theatre/cultures. Starting with this premise, the main topics of research and education at our Institute are: (1) Cultural history of theatre, (2) Theatre/Aesthetics, (3) Intermediality - especially in view of the relation between theatre/performance and the other arts. With this profile, the researchers at our Institute take into account the historical, anthropological and intermedial conditions of past and present theatre/cultures.
The Institute's researchers have also worked on several projects in the field of research on Eastern Europe in the last years, including seminars (Martina Bako: Hungary: Artistic awakening in dance-theatre and performance), conferences (Gerda Baumbach: Tadeusz Kantor in Germany and Switzerland, in planning), and doctor's theses (Martina Bako: The provoked Oversight: The Art and Life of the Squat Theatre; Birgit Kuch: The contemporary theatrical structures in post-communist Georgia, especially the example of Tbilissi - working title). Last year we established a line of research called "Dramaturgies of Contemporary Cultures in Transfer between East and West", that is based on seminars (Günther Heeg: Dramaturgy in the East 1+2; Günther Heeg / Dr. Veronika Darian: East Art Mapping - East/West Perspectives on the Arts; Veronika Darian: In the Witness Box: Political Performance in Eastern Europe) as well as students' excursions and an international symposium ("Mind the Map! - History Is Not Given").
The interchange between theory and practice is of high importance for the work of the Institute of Theatre Studies. We regularly invite artistic guest lecturers that allow students to get an insight into theatre work. The Institute also cooperates with Leipzig's public cultural institutions, for example the main theatre (Schauspiel Leipzig), fringe theatres like Schaubühne Lindenfels and LOFFT and the international festivals "euroscene", "Westend" and "Experimentale/Heimat.Moderne".