Theater studies

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Theater studies is the scientific study of theatrical phenomena from antiquity to the present . Both authors and works as well as events ( theater performances ) are dealt with. Theater studies overlap with literature and media studies, among other things .


Theater studies as an independent university discipline is comparatively young. It only emerged from German studies at the beginning of the 20th century . Its first academic representatives were Max Herrmann , who had been in Berlin since 1900, and Artur Kutscher , who had lectured on theater studies in Munich since 1909. In 1923 the Institute for Theater Studies was founded at the Friedrich-Wilhelms-Universität in Berlin (today: Humboldt-Universität ) , with which the separation from German studies was completed institutionally.

With the obsessive negative attachment to German studies (according to the theater scholar and dramatist Jürgen Hofmann ), theater studies has to contend with content and method to this day, since theater as a cultural (and social) phenomenon differs substantially from mere drama (as just one component of theatrical Event, and in archaic or modern forms not even that) differs. Since the written drama is most easily accessible to scholarly access (analysis) - and that over the centuries - theater studies are still widely practiced today as literary studies ( drama analysis ). Even Lessing contrast, speaks of the theater performance rightly regarded as a transitory work of art , that is a work of art that already disappeared at the moment of its completion and is no longer manufactured. Theater studies, understood as a science that analyzes and interprets events - i.e. performances - is becoming more and more prominent today.

Theater studies can be roughly divided into theater history , theater / drama theory / dramaturgy / aesthetics and, if necessary, practical exercises. A sub-area is theater pedagogy or theater therapy , which is concerned with teaching theater methods , but also the use of theater in educational work and in society.

Today, theater studies is increasingly concerned with media such as film, television, radio and the Internet beyond theater.


The theater scholar can work as a director , dramaturge or artistic director at the theater or at comparable institutions - usually after completing a master's degree, diploma or a successful doctorate . Knowledge of theater studies is an advantage for a director or dramaturge, but it is not a prerequisite for these activities. As a humanities discipline, theater studies is actually a science (science therefore indicates falsifiability through an experiment and mathematical access) of theater (see also theater research ); it does not offer training for the later theater practitioner as a director, dramaturge or actor, even if practical exercises can definitely be part of the course.

See also


  • Hans Knudsen : Theater Studies. Becoming and evaluating a university discipline . Christian-Verlag, Berlin 1950.
  • Christopher Balme : Introduction to Theater Studies . Erich Schmidt: Berlin 2003, ISBN 3-503-04984-3
  • Katharina Keim, Peter M. Boenisch, Robert Braunmüller (eds.): Theater without borders . Herbert Utz Verlag, Munich 2003, ISBN 3-8316-0237-9 (48 contributions by international theater scholars: good overview of the state of research.)
  • Andreas Kotte : Theater Studies. An introduction . Böhlau, Cologne 2005, ISBN 3-8252-2665-4 .
  • Hans-Christian von Herrmann: The archive of the stage. An archeology of the theater and its science . Fink, Munich 2005, ISBN 3-7705-3980-X .
  • Renate Möhrmann: Theater Studies. An introduction. Reimer, Berlin 1991, ISBN 3-496-00998-5
  • Jörg v. Brincken et al. Andreas Englhart: Introduction to modern theater studies. WBG, Darmstadt 2008, ISBN 3-534-19099-8
  • Erika Fischer-Lichte : Theater Studies. An introduction to the basics of the subject . UTB, A. Francke: Stuttgart 2009, ISBN 3-8252-3103-8 .

Web links

Wikisource: Theater Studies Journals  - Sources and Full Texts
Wiktionary: Theater studies  - explanations of meanings, word origins, synonyms, translations