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The research project “Redefining the Agency: Post-1989 Crisis of the Czech and Former East German Theatre” (abbreviated as “Theatre ReDefined”) explores the relationship between theatre and the society, analyzing developments in the former East Germany and Czechoslovakia in the wake of the 1989 political shifts.

Prior to and during the year 1989, theatre enjoyed an exceptionally influential position in the societies of both countries. The situation in the early 1990s, however, has frequently been labelled as a “crisis” of theatre. “Theatre ReDefined” re-evaluates existing scholarship and introduces new insights concerning the dynamic processes of the early 1990s, particularly the 1990–1995 period, a time of fundamental societal transformation. The developments in theatre are investigated at the institutional as well as aesthetic level, and especially close attention is paid to the theatre’s relationship to the state.

The research proceeds along the intersection of theatre studies, media studies and political history, discussing the notion of agency and exploring its potential for theatre scholarship. Thus it introduces an innovative historiographical and theoretical approach to examination of the relationship between theatre and the society.

“Theatre ReDefined” received approval and support within the European Commission’s Marie Skłodowska-Curie Actions Individual Fellowship Programme. The research is conducted by the Principal Investigator Dr. Radka Kunderová at the Institute for Theatre Studies at the Freie Universität Berlin under the supervision of Prof. Dr. Matthias Warstat.