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Peter Boenisch

My main areas of research are the fields of theatre directing and dramaturgy, contemporary dance performance, and institutional contexts of theatre-making, with a particular focus on the German- and Dutch-speaking European countries. My monograph Directing Scenes & Senses: The Thinking of Regie (Manchester University Press 2015) maps out my understanding of theatre direction in the European Regie tradition as a dialectical process of mediation. For a number of years, I have followed, worked on and collaborated with German theatre director Thomas Ostermeier, the artistic director of Schaubühne Berlin, on research in the methodology of theatre direction. We co-authored the book The Theatre of Thomas Ostermeier (Routledge 2016), and continue our explorations of methodologies of contemporary Regie towards future projects and publications.

The US magazine Newsweek described me as a ‘leading European theatre scholar’ (4/12/2016). I have published around seventy essays and book chapters which reflect, in particular, my keen interest in the intersections of aesthetics and politics in contemporary theatre, discussing issues such as spectatorship, conditions of production, and transcultural theatre.

My 2002 book KörPERformance (in German, Munich: ePodium) analysed movement and corporeal representations in contemporary performance. I also co-edited the collections Theater Ohne Grenzen (Munich 2003), the Performance Research-issue ‘Bodiescapes’ (2003), and the CTR special issue ‘Border Crossings: Contemporary Flemish Theatre’ (2010).

Most recently, I co-edited, with Clare Finburgh (Goldsmiths) a volume for the book series Great European Stage Directors (series editor: Central’s Emeritus Professor Simon Shepherd), discussing the work of the post-war innovators of political theatre direction in Europe, Joan Littlewood, Giorgio Strehler, and Roger Planchon.

I am currently working on editing the thirtieth anniversary re-issue of David Bradby and David Williams’s seminal study Directors’ Theatre, and on a book collection on the twentieth anniversary of Thomas Ostermeier as artistic director of Schaubühne Berlin.

Originally from Southern Bavaria, I grew up to the south of Munich (Germany), where I studied theatre, English literature, and linguistics. I graduated from Ludwig-Maximilians-Universität with a Magister Artium (M.A.), and subsequently did my Dr.phil. (PhD) under supervision of Christopher Balme. Having worked as freelance journalist, theatre critic and dramaturg, and being involved in a fringe theatre space, I was Wissenschaftlicher Assistent (Assistant Professor) for dance and performance at the Institute for Theatre Studies at Ludwig-Maximilians-Universität München.

At the University of Kent, I was a co-founder and director of the European Theatre Research Network (ETRN), with Paul Allain and Patrice Pavis, before joining Central in 2018. I have also been a Fellow at the Berlin-based research college "Interweaving Performance Cultures".

With Rachel Fensham (University of Melbourne, Australia), I co-edit the book series New World Choreographies for Palgrave Macmillan, and I am an editorial associate of Contemporary Theatre Review. Furthermore, I am member of the Theatre and Performance Research Association (TaPRA), the International Federation of Theatre Research (IFTR), and the new European Association for the Study of Theatre and Performance (EASTAP), which launches in autumn 2018.

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