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Performing Citizenship. Social and Political Agency in Non-Professional Theatre Practice in Germany, France, Britain, Sweden and Switzerland (1780-1850)

Objective

Amateur theatre played a significant role in the formation of a modern concept of citizenship that emerged during the Enlightenment and took shape during the American and French Revolutions. Around the social activities enacted and texts performed a broad-based movement developed between 1780 and 1850 that, arguably, had more impact than professional theatre which has previously been the almost exclusive focus of theatre studies. In the period, non-professional theatre offered huge educative possibilities for the acquisition of skills and competences deemed essential to becoming a ‘good citizen’. For the first time, a historiographical research project will study European amateur theatre’s impact on social change.

Five different case studies will bring distinct cultural and political contexts into the picture that determined ideas and practices of citizenship as well as theatre: 1) late-absolutist rule in Germany, 2) revolutionary shifts in France, 3) parliamentary rule in Great Britain, 4) reformed monarchy in Sweden, and 5) a contested republic in Switzerland. The study of amateur theatre in these regions will reveal the development of their citizen practices in regard to accessibility and agency, aesthetic education, institutionalisation and professionalization.

Merging performance theory, cultural theory and institutional theory this project will connect the historical formation of citizenship to discourses on performativity and the building of identity through embodied practices. It will also help to foreground the role of non-professional theatre in the shaping of society.

The key objectives of this project are:

[1] to contribute to a historiographic shift by focusing on the ‘doing’ and performativity of theatre practices
[2] to examine how concepts of citizenship emerged around theatre in Germany, France, Britain, Sweden and Switzerland
[3] to analyse how non-professional theatre embraced and further developed concepts that helped to establish a citizen

Call for proposal

ERC-2020-ADG
See other projects for this call

Funding Scheme

ERC-ADG - Advanced Grant

Host institution

STOCKHOLMS UNIVERSITET
Address
Universitetsvagen 10
10691 Stockholm
Sweden
Activity type
Higher or Secondary Education Establishments
EU contribution
€ 1 931 750

Beneficiaries (2)

STOCKHOLMS UNIVERSITET
Sweden
EU contribution
€ 1 931 750
Address
Universitetsvagen 10
10691 Stockholm
Activity type
Higher or Secondary Education Establishments
THE UNIVERSITY OF WARWICK
United Kingdom
EU contribution
€ 462 000
Address
Kirby Corner Road - University House
CV4 8UW Coventry
Activity type
Higher or Secondary Education Establishments