Mapping Global Theatre Histories

Welcome to the Mapping Global Theatre Histories webpage.* This project aims to examine theatre as a global phenomenon between the years of 1850 and 1950, looking at theatres, impresarios, and traveling troupes.

*This website is in a pre-alpha version with limited functionality. It currently provides an interactive map visualizing the global travel of impresario Maurice Bandmann in the first decades of the 20th century.

Who was Maurice Bandmann?

1921madras

Although he received little fame in his home countries of America and England, many newspapers across India and in other parts of the world published obituaries commemorating Maurice Bandman’s life following his death from heart failure in 1922. One obituary said of him, “[he] was not the first, but he was certainly the most successful and most discerning, of the entrepreneurs upon whom India has been dependent very largely for theatrical entertainments.”

A traveling impresario, Bandman led Western theatrical troupes to India, parts of South Asia, Africa, and South America in the early twentieth century. He left his mark by not only with the shows performed under his purview, but also in the many theatres he built, owned, and leased. In a time of empires and colonialism, the travels of Maurice Bandman show the diffusion of theatrical culture across national borders, and demonstrates the truly global nature of modern theatre in the early 20th century. Modern theatre and theatrical culture therefore also provides one lens through which the larger context of colonialism, modernity and the emergence of transnational public spheres can be viewed and understood.