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Emotional Journeys

Itinerant Theatres, Audiences, and Adaptation in the Long 19th Century


19–20 November 2015

Conveners/Organizers: Max Planck Institute for Human Development; German Historical Institute London
Venue: German Historical Institute London


In the nineteenth century, theatre was one of the most popular and important means of entertainment. Popular theatre entertained by addressing the emotions of its audiences: comedies appealed to humour, melodramas to fear and compassion. Emotions being culturally constructed, what happened when a play was performed in a different cultural context? How were humour, melodrama, and other genres translated? And what were the local (perhaps vernacular) idioms that mediated the feelings that genres are (in theory) supposed to make legible to an audience? How did touring companies adapt their repertoires? And if they did not, what kinds of cultural work were they doing by expecting audiences to comprehend their plots, idioms, and, of course, genres? The workshop wants to address these questions by looking specifically at touring companies that crossed cultural borders, like, for example, European companies in Asia and South America, Parsee companies in India and Asian companies in Europe. It asks how these troupes were set up, which audiences they catered to and how these audiences perceived the performances. For more information see the pdf below.


Call for papers (PDF file)

Conference programme (PDF file)

Conference report (PDF file), published in: GHIL Bulletin 38 (2016), Vol 1