The Institute of Theatre Studies in Bochum addresses the entire spectrum of scenic and performing arts: theatre, dance, musical theatre, performance, puppetry, audio drama, scenography, conceptual art, installation art, site-specific works of art and interactive art in the public space, as well as the manifold intersections between and dissolutions of boundaries amongst the different art forms. At our institute, we critically examine these manifestations in a reflective manner. We aim to produce analysis that reflects our contemporary positioning and open ups a dialogue between the academic and artistic worlds.
Theatre studies in Bochum has expanded upon the established areas of the field – the history, theory, aesthetics and analysis of performing arts – by enquiring into the situatedness and function of art in social, political and historical contexts. In order to carry out contemporary analysis of developments in art and society, investigating aesthetic forms (in the broadest sense of the term) is just as important as issues relating to the processes of economic and political control in cultural contexts. Based on our knowledge of the ongoing interdisciplinarity in the realm of performing arts since antiquity, we strive to develop theoretical structures and methodologies that consider the scenic and performing arts in their contextual relationships with media and society, making reference to ritualistic, religious, historical, psychoanalytical, political and philosophical factors.
Our institute is also involved in a process of continuous exchange with artists and theatre centres in our region (the Ruhr) and, more broadly, in the federal state of North Rhine-Westphalia. This exchange focuses on artistic research, raises questions about processes of social transformation and directly helps to shape the academic discourse surrounding artistic works. One special focus for us is helping to develop independent theatre work and supporting young professionals in the scenic arts. By promoting dialogue between our students and artists and artistic centres in the region, we facilitate a broad crossover between theory and practical experience in our field of study. In 2012, this approach was realised in concrete terms when we integrated an applied master’s degree in Scenic Research into our curriculum.