Mezinárodní federace
pro divadelní výzkum

International Federation
for Theatre Research

Federation Internationale
pour la Recherche Théâtrale

Pozvánka na online konferenci: Redefining Theatre – Theatre and Society in Transition

Christopher Balme, Tony Fisher, Andrea Tompa, and Jana Wild are among the speakers at the  “Redefining Theatre: Theatre and Society in Transition“  online conference held at the Freie Universität Berlin via Webex on May 28–29, 2021. 

The COVID-19 pandemic has yet again shown us the strength of theatre’s interrelation with the society and just how easily theatre’s social relevance can shift at the time of a profound social change. In what ways can we reflect on theatre in both institutional and aesthetic terms in times of societal transition? What happens to theatre when the public spheres are being fundamentally reshaped? And what means do we possess to articulate the re-definition of theatre’s social function and relevance?

The “Redefining Theatre: Theatre and Society in Transition“ interactive online conference will focus on theatre in times of societal transition both in general terms and with a specific focus on the post-1989 transformations in Central and Eastern Europe. 


Friday,  May 28

13:30 – 13:40 Welcome

Panel I: Theatre and Social Crisis

Chaired by Radka Kunderová, Freie Universität Berlin

13:40 – 14:10 Christopher Balme, Ludwig-Maximilians-Universität München, Theatre, Corona and Crisis: Scenarios
14:10 – 14:25 Discussion
14:25 – 14:55 Andrea Tompa, Babes-Bolyai University Cluj-Napoca, From Social Change to Social Drama: or How the Present Expropriates the Past (The Case of Hungarian Theater after 1990 till the Present)
14:55 – 15:10 Discussion
15:10 – 15:30 Coffee break

Panel II: West-East Transitional Dynamics in Theatre

Chaired by Tony Fisher, Royal Central School of Speech and Drama London

15:30 – 16:00 Anneli Saro, University of Tartu, Turn to the West: Dynamics of Theatre in Transition
16:00 – 16:15 Discussion
16:15 – 16:45 Tanja Bogusz, Hamburg University
Two Cultures, One Institution
East-Western Entanglements at the Volksbühne Berlin after 1989
16:45 – 17:00 Discussion
17:00 – 17:15 Coffee break

Panel III: Redefining Institutions and Identities

Chaired by Janelle Reinelt, University of Warwick

17:15 – 17:45 Brandon Woolf, New York University, Considerations on the Berlin Theater Situation: 30 Years Later
17:45 – 18:00 Discussion
18:00 – 18:30 Jana Wild, Academy of Performing Arts Bratislava, Redefining Shakespeare
18:30 – 18:45 Discussion

Saturday, May 29

Panel I: Theatre and the Changing Public Sphere

Chaired by Jan Lazardzig, Freie Universität Berlin

10:00 – 10:30 Paweł Sztarbowski, Theatre Academy in Warsaw and Teatr Powszechny in Warsaw, Spectres of Communism
10:30 – 10:45 Discussion
10:45 – 11:15 Matthias Warstat, Freie Universität Berlin, Berlin 1989: Theatre and Street Protests
11:15 – 11:30 Discussion
11:30 – 11:45 Coffee break
11:45 – 12:15 Radka Kunderová, Freie Universität Berlin, Redefining the Political Theatre?: Czech Theatre in the early 1990s
12:15 – 12:30 Discussion
12:30 – 14:00 Lunch break

Panel II: Potentialities of (Political) Theatre

Chaired by Radka Kunderová, Freie Universität Berlin

14:00 – 14:30 Meike Wagner, Stockholm University
Performing Citizenship around 1800
Utopian Performatives of Early Bourgeois Theatre
14:30 – 14:45 Discussion
14:45 – 15:00 Coffee break
15:00 – 15:30 Tony Fisher, Royal Central School of Speech and Drama London, The Taxonomy of the Political Theatre
15:30 – 16:00 Discussion + closing remarks


The conference is free to attend but registration is required via emailing to

Registered attendees will be emailed details of how to join the conference before the event.

For further information about the conference, please see, and ”Theatre ReDefined” Facebook and Instagram profiles, or email us at

The conference is a part of the EU Marie Skłodowska-Curie research project “Redefining the Agency: Post-1989 Crisis of the Czech and Former East German Theatre” (abbreviated as ”Theatre ReDefined”) conducted by the Principal Investigator Dr. Radka Kunderová at the Institute for Theatre Studies at the Freie Universität Berlin.