Skip to ContentSkip to Navigation
Research The Groningen Research Institute for the Study of Culture (ICOG) Research Research centres Research Centre for Arts in Society

SPOT ON! - PETER BOENISCH (University of Aarhus): 'Between Privileged Praxis and Archipelagic Community: Researching Institutional Dramaturgies in a Transforming Theatre Landscape'

When:We 05-06-2024 18:00 - 19:30
Where:Room A2, Academy building

The theatre section of Arts in Society is delighted to announce the fourth SPOT ON lecture for the academic year. In this upcoming event, our guest speaker Peter Boenisch will explore the topic of contemporary global dramaturgies and the transformations of the democratic public sphere.


The publicly funded Western European theatre system faces fundamental challenges by what art scholar Nora Sternfeld describes as a new “post-representational” reality: Like other ‘high art’ institutions, theatres no longer represent and affirm cultural capital, civic Bildung and national prestige, thereby sustaining the democratic, liberal ‘public sphere’. They can no longer rely on their previous core audiences of middle-class, educated, White spectators, but must confront a globalised, mediatised, politically split plural public. Following previous efforts to diversify and internationalise institutionalised European theatre-making (exemplified by Gorki Theater Berlin and NT Gent), the post-pandemic situation of recent years has furthered the transformation of theatres from bulwarks of national cultural identity towards negotiators of common societal (inter-)relations. Building on main insights from our research project 'Reconfiguring Dramaturgy for a Global Culture' (2020-2023), my presentation will discuss both significant examples of attempts to reposition theatre institutions within this shifting socio-cultural fabric, such as the work of Schauspiel Dortmund (D) and Zinnema Brussels (BE), while also interrogating the dramaturgic methodology applied and refined through the project, and the resulting challenges and potentials for practice-informed research work within a no less transforming academic landscape.

About the speaker

Peter M. Boenisch, originally from Munich (Germany) and previously working in the UK, among others, at the Royal Central School of Speech and Drama, is Professor of Dramaturgy at Aarhus University. His research areas are Regietheater, dramaturgy, and the intersections of theatre and politics, as they become manifest in aspects such as spectatorship, the institutional conditions of theatre production, and transcultural performance in a globalised Europe. His books include Directing Scenes and Senses: The Thinking of Regie (2015), The Theatre of Thomas Ostermeier (co-authored with the German director, 2016), and, as editor, the volume Littlewood – Strehler – Planchon in the series The Great European Stage Directors (with Clare Finburgh Delijani, 2018/2024), the 30th anniversary edition of David Bradby and David Williams’s Directors’ Theatre (2019), and The Schaubühne Berlin under Thomas Ostermeier: Reinventing Realism (2020). At AU, he is co-director of the interdisciplinary research programme 'Cultural Transformations', and he is the current president of the European Association for the Study of Theatre and Performance (EASTAP).