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Historical Theatre Research: Text, Performance, and Production of Knowledge


Elke Huwiler and Jelle Koopmans 

Members of the research group

Prof. Dr. J. Bloemendal (Huygens Instituut)
Dr. F.R.E. Blom (UvA)
MA C. Daiber (UvA)
Dr. C.M.H.H. Dauven-van Knippenberg (UvA)
Dr. C. Dieleman (UvA)
Dr. P.G.F. Eversmann (UvA)
Dr. E. Huwiler (UvA)
MA S. Kooloos (UvA)
Dr. Jelle Koopmans (UvA)
Prof. Dr. J. Lazardzig (FU Berlin)
Dr. O. van Marion (Universiteit Leiden)
MA S. Muller (UvA)
Dr. B. van Oostveldt (Universiteit Gent)
Dr. M. Paijmans (UvA)
Dr. S. v.d. Poll (UvA)
Dr. J.M. Stelleman (UvA)
Dr. P.L. Westbroek (UvA)
Dr. R.G.C. v.d. Zalm (UvA)

Associated Members

Dr. M. Engelberts (UvA)
Dr. H.J. Helmers (UvA)
Dr. A. Jackob (UvA)
Dr. K.A. Johanson (UvA)
Dr. K. Lajosi (UvA)
Dr. K. Lavéant (UU)
Prof. Dr. H.A. v.d. Liet (UvA)
Prof. Dr. A. Quak (UvA)
Dr. Y. Rodríguez Pérez (UvA)
Prof. Dr. K.E. Röttger (UvA)
Prof. Dr. V. Tkaczyk (FU Berlin)

Web page

Description of the research program of the research group

The aim of the research group is to formulate new ways of approaching historical theatre and drama research, combining diverse research fields.

To place drama texts and reconstructed performances in a historical time and analyze social, religious, cultural, legal, gender-related or political discourses of the time, an interdisciplinary framework combined with the strength of disciplinary knowledge is needed. Bringing together different methodological expertises and geographical and linguistic specializations, this research group aims to strengthen such an interdisciplinary approach to historical theatre research.

The research carried out by the members of the group is already interdisciplinary in itself – combining Literary and Theatre Studies with fields like Law (Koopmans, Lavéant), Architecture (van Oostveldt, Eversmann), Politics (Helmers, Johanson), Gender Studies (Röttger, Huwiler), Methodology (Röttger), Opera (Jackob), and of course History and Sociology (all) –, and includes a very diverse range of research perspectives on the topic – like spectatorship / public opinion (Helmers, Bloemendal), machinery (Koopmans, Eversmann), national identity (Engelberts, Lajosi, van der Liet, van der Poll, Stelleman, Westbroek, van der Zalm), technology (van Oostveldt, Röttger), nostalgia (Johanson), adaptation (Johanson, Helmers), text/image relation (Jackob) or the sublime (van Oostveldt) –, also incorporating expertise on editing and translation of drama texts (Bloemendal, Dauven, Quak, Huwiler, Koopmans, Lavéant).

The goal of the research group is to facilitate and stimulate
a) an exchange of information about specific historical theatre texts and performance practices, and

b) a collaboration regarding questions of historiographical methodologies that combine text and performance and that shed light on processes of knowledge production through theatrical practices.

The group meets on a regularly basis: in addition to discussing theoretical texts of importance to the field, the individual researchers discuss their projects within the group, opening up possibilities of new angles and approaches. Several members of the group work on joined projects like edited volumes or drama text editions. Also, a national workshop is planned, as well as a joined international conference on the topic, followed by the publication of the conference proceedings. Moreover, the research group will propose an elective master course on the topic.


Societal relevance

Research on historical theatre provides society with a rich knowledge about its cultural heritage and sheds light on cultural practices of the past. The interdisciplinary approach, moreover, shows how cultural practices were closely intertwined with political, sociological, legal or religious questions. The description of these processes of knowledge production through theatrical practices helps us to understand the way in which culture functions within a complex system of interrelated discourses of a specific time – be it historical or contemporary.