1989 and GDR theatre. The transformation of aesthetics and institution after the system change at Deutsches Theater in Berlin and the Theaterhaus Jena

Start - End 
2015 - 2019 (ongoing)
Department of Art, music and theatre sciences
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The research deals with the institutional and aesthetic processes of transformation of East German theatre from the collapse of socialism in 1989 to the turn of the millennium. 1989 posed a threat to the legitimation of institutions, (theatre) traditions as well as the self-conceptions of artists in both parts of Germany, but dominantly in the East. So the main focus lies on the institutional and aesthetic strategies of players in the East Germany, which made them to overcome the challenges of the system change.

The nucleus of the work is a comparison of two case studies that can be seen as examples of ‘successful’ or ‘resilient’ East German theatres, which are: Deutsches Theater in Berlin and Theaterhaus Jena. Furthermore the work examines interdependencies between aesthetics and institution by analysing stagings/performances that address the East-West-discourse and/or reference (in the form of metatheatre) to the changing conditions of theatrical production.




Hannah Speicher

Universität Trier

Franziska Schößler

Universität Trier