Theater Without Borders is a research collaborative which has been working together since 2005 to advance our knowledge of the transnational and comparative impact of Early Modern Drama. We work collaboratively across disciplines and language barriers to create a fuller picture of how early modern theater–plays, playwrights, players, theatergrams, genres and theories–travelled and reshaped the theatrical culture of Europe into a complex transcultural form. We aim to develop theoretical, historical and theatrical frameworks to discuss the differing kinds of influences, intertextualities, intercultural dialogues and transcultural performance practices created by the international character of early modern drama, including in its incorporation of theatrical modes of the ancient world.
Our goal is to bring together different methodological expertises (e.g., theoretical, archival, interpretive, theatrical), geographical specializations, and linguistic familiarities to create a greater whole than is represented by our individual fields. We welcome participation from scholars in comparative literature as well as from scholars in specific language traditions, for we assume that true interdisciplinary work will emerge best from collaboration among scholars who are deeply rooted in national literary traditions. We are also concerned with early modern plays or performance traditions from other parts of the world, and we work as well on transnational appropriations and adaptions of early modern plays. All of us are interested in how plays and players cross borders, why and with what effects, whether aesthetic, dramatic, political or social.
As a research collaborative especially interested in performance practices, we also present work from theatre professionals, dramaturgs and scholars on the performance of early modern plays, including contemporary (20th-21st century) stagings of those plays; or on early modern performance of scripted or unscripted drama.
Topics that have been central to Theater Without Borders Collaborations:
- Novella-grams and Romance
- Aristocratic “Supranationality” (Transnational Dynastic Affiliations)
- Transnational Religious Affiliations
- Actors playing the “Foreign”
- Theories of Transnational Exchange
- Circum-Mediterranean Exchange, Cultural Geography
- Traveling Actors
- Migrations and Diasporas
- Translation and Cross-Cultural Appropriation
- Print Culture and Transnational Exchange
- European-Ottoman Exchange
- Sites of Cross-Cultural Conflict and Exchange (e.g., New World, Barbary Coast)
- Foreign Objects, Foreign “Value”
- Poverty and Class