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West End and Friedrichstraße: Popular Musical Theatre in London and Berlin

Freie Universität Berlin and University of London Win Funding for a Joint Research Project

№ 210/2011 from Jun 29, 2011

The Friedrich Meinecke Institute of Freie Universität Berlin and Goldsmiths College of the University of London have won funding for a collaborative research project on popular musical theatre in London and Berlin between 1890 and 1939. The project is one of five selected by the German Research Foundation (DFG) and the Arts and Humanities Research Council from among 40 submitted proposals. Over a period of three years, the project will receive more than 300,000 euros.

Musical theatre for entertainment purposes was one of the most important areas of popular culture in the decades between 1890 and 1939. Currently often regarded as old-fashioned and conservative, the musical, comedy, operetta, and revue genres implemented the very latest technology and production methods of that time. They also took advantage of international distribution channels and portrayed on stage life in the modern world. Professors Paul Nolte and Len Platt along with research assistants Tobias Becker and David Linton will explore the relationships and exchanges between theatres in London and Berlin. In doing so, the researchers aim to examine the socio-cultural upheavals of the last century and also the cultural exchange between the two European cities.

Original sources from one of the most fascinating periods of European culture will be made accessible again for the first time since that period. Excerpts from the surviving play texts, some of them hand-written manuscripts, will be processed, annotated, and published on a website. The researchers are working with the British Library, the Victoria and Albert Museum in London, the Landesarchiv Berlin, the Theaterhistorische Sammlung at Freie Universität Berlin, and various private collections.

Further Information

Tobias Becker, Friedrich Meinecke Institute, Freie Universität Berlin
Tel.: +49 (0)30 / 838-56803, Email: tobias.becker@fu-berlin.de